MADRID, March 17 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Real Madrid avoided the ‘coconuts’ -and serious candidates for the title -Bayern Munich and Manchester City- and will face English Chelsea in the quarterfinals of the 2022-2023 Champions League, with the particularity that the return The crossing will be at Stamford Bridge, according to the draw held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland).
The match between the meringues, who have just eliminated Liverpool with authority and forcefulness in the round of 16, and the ‘blues’ will be the first quarterfinal tie, on the side of the table where the other two toughest rivals and potential title candidates will be. City and Bayern, who will star in the second crossing. On the other side of the table, there will be a Milan-Naples and Inter Milan-Benfica, the duels between the applicants who, a priori, are less powerful.
The dangerous ‘blue’ team, with prominent names such as Enzo Fernández, Joao Félix or Kai Havertz, will be Real Madrid’s rival for the third consecutive season, the second in a row in the quarterfinal tie. Last season Carlo Ancelotti’s men completed a complete match in the first leg at the Londoners’ fiefdom, in which, in a tactical and effective recital, they endorsed the English 1-3 to return with some peace of mind to the Bernabéu.
But the crossover was complicated at the Bernabéu, when Chelsea went 0-3 and turned the tie around, installing panic in a white stadium that responded, as it did throughout the final phase, to boost its team. Ancelotti’s men reacted on time, with a beautiful goal from Rodrygo at the first touch after excellent assistance from Luka Modric with the outside. Karim Benzema, with a header, got the ticket to the semifinals for Real Madrid.
However, the ‘Bernabéu effect’, which was so necessary and key last year in the Champions League for white comebacks, will not be an ingredient in the current champion’s recipe to advance to the next round. And it is that, unlike in all the qualifying rounds of the last edition, the Chamartín stadium will host the first leg of the crossroads and not the final match of the qualifying round.
In other previous and recent confrontations, the ‘blues’ managed to eliminate Real Madrid in the semifinals of the continental competition, also playing the second leg at the Bridge, where they beat the whites (2-0), after drawing (1- 1) in the first leg in Madrid. The Londoners got rid of Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, after coming back from the German goal of the first stake, with a 2-0 home.
On the same side of the field, and at the crossroads with the best poster and the one that will generate the most expectation, Manchester City will face Bayern, the six-time champion of the competition. Pep Guardiola’s team has improved in performance compared to a somewhat hesitant start to the course. And much of that improvement lies in the goals of Erling Haaland, author of five goals in the 7-0 with which he brought down Leipzig in the round of 16.
Against the Bavarians, the ‘citizens’ will have a new attempt, the seventh for Guardiola at City, to raise an ‘Orejona’ that resists him, after Real Madrid removed him from the competition in the semifinals last year To remember. The Catalan coach will return to Munich, where he trained between 2013 and 2016, in what will be the first tie between the English and Germans.
Their last direct duels date from 2014, when they were paired in the same group, with a win for each team. Bayern, despite the loss of Robert Lewandowski, is once again on the list of candidates and, like City, is undefeated in this Champions League, and is the only one of the eight that can boast of having won all eight of their games, after have left out the French PSG.
The other side of the box is more ‘light’, with the less powerful applicants a priori. There will be a Milan-Naples between the current Italian champions, who kicked out Tottenham, and the one who is on his way to becoming so with an abysmal superiority over the second-ranked team in Serie A. Those of Spaletti, Eintracht’s ‘executioners’ in the round of 16 have fallen in love to Europe with their attractive and jovial football, with offensive power with Jvicha Kvaratskhelia, Victor Osimhen and Hirving Lozano to play their first quarterfinals.
While Inter Milan, three-time champion of the competition, a solid although not very definitive team that eliminated Porto, will face off against a spirited Benfica that seems already established in the upper class of Europe. Before leaving Belgian Bruges by the wayside, the Portuguese, in the quarterfinals for the second time in a row, already demonstrated their competitive level by overcoming the group stage against PSG and Juventus as first.
Real Madrid will receive Chelsea on Wednesday, April 12 at 9:00 p.m., while they will visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, April 18, also at 9:00 p.m.
CHAMPIONS QUARTER-FINAL PAIRINGS:
REAL MADRID – Chelsea. Going: April 12 (9:00 p.m.) / Return: 18 (9:00 p.m.).
Manchester City – Bayern. Going: April 11 (21.00) / Return: 19 (21.00).
Milan – Naples. Going: April 12 (9:00 p.m.) / Return: 18 (9:00 p.m.).
Inter Milan – Benfica. Going: April 11 (21.00) / Return: 19 (21.00).