The quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League are here! Today we kick off with two pairs and two more will be played tomorrow.
The first tie is between the feel good story of this edition of the Champions League, Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia, and Spanish giant Real Madrid. I think there is no need to lose words over who the favourite in this match-up is. APOEL have caused problems to several European teams this season, but their Cinderella story appears to be ending in the quarter-finals.
The "other" tie should be far more competitive. Benfica are in formidable form while Chelsea, with a new coach, don't look very convincing. Yes, they had a terrific comeback against an uninspired, maybe even complacent, Napoli side in the previous round, but their Premier League form has left much to be desired. Experts (and non-experts) are picking Chelsea to reach the semi-finals, but I'm not so convinced. Chelsea do have extra incentive, though, as they are the only remaining English side in European competitions.
Line-ups after the jump.
APOEL (4-4-2): Dionisis Chiotis; Savvas Poursaitides, Marcelo Oliveira, Paulo Jorge, William Boaventura; Nuno Morais, Nektarios Alexandrou, Constantinos Charalambides, Hélio Pinto; Ivan Tričkovski, Aílton
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Iker Casillas; Álvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Fábio Coentrão; Sami Khedira, Nuri Şahin; Karim Benzema, Mesut Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo; Gonzalo Higuaín
Benfica (4-3-3): Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Jardel, Emerson; Javi García, Pablo Aimar, Bruno César; Alex Witsel, Nicolás Gaitán, Óscar Cardozo
Chelsea FC (4-4-2): Petr Čech; Paulo Ferreira, David Luiz, John Terry, Ashley Cole; Raul Meireles, Juan Mata, Ramires, John Obi Mikel; Salomon Kalou, Fernando Torres