Champions League Quarter Final Draw
The Champions League is finally in it's later stages with eight teams remaining in Europe's most prestigious competition. We had a few brilliant games in the First Round - Liverpool beat Paris Saint-Germain with a rather bizarre aggregate score of 8-5, Barcelona managed to completely run over Juventus, and Tottenham Hotspur only just made it through after two very close games with Borussia Dortmund. This month, the Quarter Finals of the Champions League commence and we're in for more great football.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich
Leverkusen had a great season in the Bundesliga last year, finishing 2nd, and have replicated this in 2015/16. Bayer 04 advanced to the Quarter Final courtesy of two very interesting games against AFC Ajax, and the Germans barely edged the tie, winning 8-7 on aggregate. They will be relishing the opportunity to get one over their rivals, Bayern Munich, and certainly have the capability to do so. Defensive midfielder Lars Bender has seen a sharp increase in form this season, and up front, Leverkusen have one of the deadliest striking duos in Europe. Jonathan Calleri and Stefan Kießling share an impressive number of 45 goals and will play a vital part in their team's goalscoring chances.
Bayern were awarded an easy tie against Galatasaray in the First Round and unsurprisingly crushed their Turkish opponents. The giants dropped out of the Champions League in the Semi Final last season to a German rival, Borussia Dortmund, and will be looking to ensure history doesn't repeat itself against Leverkusen. 25-goal Robert Lewandowski is someone to look out for, but the likes of Xabi Alonso and Thomas Muller are no doubt also instrumental. And of course, the legendary Philipp Lahm has to be given a mention.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea
In another case of local rivalry, Tottenham will be going up against fellow Londoners Chelsea. The Spurs have exceeded expectations in the Champions League thus far, and beat semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund in the First Round. Mousa Dembele has been a key performer and summer signing Vincent Aboubakar has more or less justified the £17 million fee Tottenham paid for him with his return of 21 goals. Hugo Lloris is also a reliable figure they can fall back on - the club's vice-captain has kept 18 clean sheets in all competitions and is one of the contenders for the Premier League's Golden Glove.
Jose Mourinho has not won a single competition since beginning his second spell in charge of Chelsea and is desperate to change that fact. The Blues trashed Benfica 5-2 in the First Round thanks to Loic Remy, who scored 4 out of Chelsea's 5 goals over the two legs. The Frenchman has scored 22 goals this season and is one of their most dangerous men, along with Eden Hazard who is no doubt one of the world's best players at the moment. Aside from their attacking options, Chelsea have their defence covered as well, with captain John Terry leading the side from the back and Thibaut Courtois in goal.
Real Madrid vs Liverpool
Real Madrid and Liverpool faced each other in the Champions League's group stages and will be battling against each other again, this time for the right to compete in the competition's Semi Finals. High-flying Real crushed Basel 6-0 in the First Round, and will be trying for a similar result against Liverpool. Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos are just some of the players that Liverpool have to look out for, and of course, there is no need to describe their best player because we all know who he is.
Liverpool had one of the toughest First Round opponents, playing and winning against Paris Saint-Germain. Their squad have been ravaged by injury all season but have continued their Premier League crusade, and are currently five points clear at the top of England. A force to be reckoned with when they have a fully-fit starting eleven, Liverpool have some of the best attacking-minded players in Europe, in the form of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, the latter having scored 33 goals this season. However, their best player is undoubtedly the talented Raheem Sterling.
Manchester United vs Barcelona
Manchester United triumphed over Schalke last round but will have a much, much more difficult time in the Quarter Final against Barcelona, who are looking to retain their Champions League title having won it last year. The Red Devils will be relying on key men like Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney to get past Barca. Star striker Radamel Falcao has been constantly tormented by injury recently, but is a goalscoring machine when fit and could unleash himself against the Catalans.
Champions League holders Barcelona proved their title as Europe's best in the First Round, making quick work of Juventus like they were nothing. Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Lionel Messi have 63 goals between the three of them and could be potential wreckers of United's defence. The La Liga champions are also secured at the back with Gerard Pique, and are a well-balanced, fearsome team all around.