The round of 16 gave us some thrilling fixtures, and now it’s time for the Champions League to return to our screens. Only eight teams remain, and in two weeks we will have our line-up for the semi-finals.
We have two La Liga vs Premier League ties, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid taking on Chelsea and Manchester City respectively. Benfica face Liverpool, while Villarreal have the tough task of coming up against Bayern Munich.
Here are the previous meetings between the sides.
Benfica vs Liverpool
Benfica and Liverpool boast a proud history in this competition. The former have lifted the European Cup twice and finished as runners up on five occasions, while the latter have won it six times.
This month, they will meet for the 11th and 12th times in their history. And the record between the two is fairly even, with Liverpool having six wins to Benfica’s four.
In two of the Reds’ six European triumphs, they defeated the Portuguese side along the way. Their first clash came in the quarter-finals of the 1977/78 European Cup, with Liverpool progressing 6-2 on aggregate. They would later defeat Club Brugge in the final thanks to Kenny Dalglish’s goal.
And there was more quarter-final joy for the English club six years later, as they once again defeated the Eagles on their way to European glory. It was a similarly comfortable affair, this time winning 5-1 on aggregate. Two months later, they beat Roma on penalties to claim the throne.
But it hasn’t all been Liverpool’s way in Europe. The last time the two met in the Champions League came in 2006, with Rafa Benitez’s side looking to defend the trophy.
Benfica prevented them from doing so with an impressive performance in the round of 16. Luisao’s goal separated them in the first leg, and stunning strikes by Simao and Fabrizio Miccoli at Anfield sent them through. They were eliminated by Barcelona in the next round, who went on to win the competition.
Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid
Manchester City are relative newcomers to the European stage. As a result, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that they have never faced Atletico Madrid before.
Pep Guardiola’s men go into the game as heavy favourites, and it’s not particularly difficult to see why. The Cityzens are top of the Premier League, and have lost just two from their last 29 outings, winning 24.
In contrast, Atletico Madrid are third in La Liga, 12 points behind local rivals Real Madrid. Although their form is also impressive, winning seven and drawing one from their last eight.
But Man City ought to be wary of Diego Simeone’s side, who have proven to be a tough nut to crack for any side. Los Rojiblancos have an exceptional record against English teams in recent years, progressing from eight of their last nine knockout ties with Premier League clubs. The only defeat in that run came against Chelsea last season.
Meanwhile, City have played six knockout ties against Spanish clubs, and only won two of them. The most recent of these came in 2020, when they eliminated Real Madrid in the round of 16.
Guardiola and Simeone have gone head-to-head three times in management. And, while Guardiola has won two of those, he lost the biggest clash. His Bayern Munich side were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals in 2016 thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s decisive away goal.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid
With 13 European titles, Real Madrid are by far the continent’s most successful club. One thing they haven’t managed to do, however, is beat Chelsea.
Los Blancos have had five attempts at getting the better of the Blues, but have managed just two draws and three defeats.
Their first meeting came in the 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup final. Chelsea legend Peter Osgood gave his side the lead in the second half, but a late equaliser by Ignacio Zoco took the tie to a replay.
Osgood was once again on the scoresheet in the replay, making it 2-0 following John Dempsey’s opener. Sebastian Fleitas pulled one back in the 75th minute, but this was not enough to prevent Chelsea from lifting the trophy.
They wouldn’t face each other again for another 27 years, this time in the UEFA Super Cup. The Premier League club emerged victorious again, with Gianfranco Zola’s 83rd-minute strike the only goal of the game.
Their most recent clash came last season in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Christian Pulisic gave the visitors the lead in the first leg, but Karim Benzema grabbed an equaliser from close range.
In the reverse fixture, Thomas Tuchel’s men booked their place in the final with goals either side of half time. Timo Werner nodded home from close range to put Chelsea ahead in the tie, and Mason Mount’s late finish secured their spot in the next round. They later beat Man City 1-0 in the final.
Villarreal vs Bayern Munich
Villarreal have enjoyed the role of giant-killers in the last two seasons, defeating Manchester United in the Europa League final and Juventus in the Champions League round of 16. The prospect they face this week is another level.
On Wednesday, they will play Bayern Munich for only the third time in their history. The first two came during the group stages of the 2011/12 Champions League season.
At the Estadio de la Ceramica – back when it was known as El Madrigal – the Bavarians took all three points with two first-half goals. Toni Kroos opened the scoring, and Rafinha bagged the second.
In the reverse fixture, it was another relatively comfortable affair for Bayern Munich. Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez netted to put the hosts two up, but Jonathan De Guzman’s volley pulled one back. They sealed the victory in the second half, with Ribery hitting his second of the game.
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