The talking points of the Champions League before the second leg of the quarter-finals:
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS. BAYERN MUNICH (3-2)
Bayern travel to Paris as a foot injured squad, while PSG will likely be without their best defender Marquinhos and wait to see if key midfielder Marco Verratti has recovered from the coronavirus in time. Marquinhos suffered an adductor muscle injury in the first leg and will likely be missing at Parc des Princes. But Bayern’s worries are worse. Coach Hansi Flick’s side are running out of fuel after this weekend’s 1-1 draw with Union Berlin, where Flick tried to rest some top-choice players. Scorer winger Serge Gnabry will not return from isolation in time to face PSG after testing positive for the virus. Former PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is still replacing the prolific Robert Lewandowski, who was sorely missed when galore opportunities were wasted last week in Bayern’s loss to PSG. But indications are that left-back Lucas Hernandez, midfielder Leon Goretzka and winger Kingsley Coman could be ready in time. Flick really needs a fit Coman, who scored the winner of last year’s final against PSG and appears to have shaken a sore knee on Saturday.
CHELSEA VS. PORTO (2-0)
Winning the Champions League might be the only way to get back into the competition next season for Chelsea. Despite all the progress made under Thomas Tuchel, the London club are in fifth place in the Premier League even after an outright 4-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Travel restrictions linked to the coronavirus mean the second leg is played in Seville, Spain, just like the first leg last week. It counts as the away game for Porto. He has won five in a row in all competitions, the last against Tondela in the Portuguese league on Saturday, keeping the team second. The reigning Portuguese champion is seeking his first semi-final appearance since 2004, when José Mourinho guided the club to their second European Cup. Porto have, however, lost their last six matches with English clubs. His top scorer in the competition this season is midfielder Sérgio Oliveira, with five goals.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND VS. MANCHESTER CITY (1-2)
Reaching the semi-finals would be a huge achievement for Dortmund, who are not on track to qualify for the Champions League next season with seven points outside the Bundesliga top four. This will make it very difficult to keep star striker Erling Haaland in the face of interest from Europe’s biggest clubs. However, sporting director Michael Zorc said the club plan to start next season with the Norwegian in the squad. City are one of the teams keen to sign Haaland, 20, but his ability to keep the star largely silent in the first leg helped secure the advantage. Haaland preparing Marco Reus for a Manchester goal means City will have to fight for progress. Pep Guardiola’s decision to let stars like Kevin De Bruyne rest on Saturday against Leeds backfired when City lost to the promoted side. But City are still 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
LIVERPOOL VS. REAL MADRID (1-3)
Real Madrid are in their best form this season. He followed the first leg victory over Liverpool with a win over Barcelona in the Spanish league table to temporarily gain the upper hand. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane still has injury issues as defenders Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are unlikely to play in the second leg in England. Forward Lucas Vázquez is sent off after injuring his left knee against Barcelona. With no fans allowed inside Anfield, Liverpool players need all the confidence they can muster. Recording his first win – and his first open-play goals – at home in 2021 couldn’t have come at a better time in their league win over Aston Villa on Saturday. With the outgoing Premier League champions within three points of the Champions League places, making it into the top four is proving to be a challenge. Winning a seventh European Cup might be the only ticket back into the competition next season.
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