We have the first four of the eight Champions League quarterfinalists, as Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all booked their place in the final eight after their respective second leg ties this week.
There were no major upsets in this quartet of last 16 encounters, but the contests certainly gave us food for thought as we edge ever closer to the final in Lisbon on Saturday 25 May.
On Tuesday the holders Bayern Munich drew 1-1 with Arsenal on their own patch to progress 3-1 on aggregate. Elsewhere Atletico Madrid moved into the next round with an almighty flourish, disposing of an erratic AC Milan side 4-1 on the night and 5-1 over the two legs.
Wednesday saw Barcelona finish the job against Manchester City in the Nou Camp with a 2-1 win. Meanwhile PSG had no hiccups against Bayer Leverkusen as they came from behind to win 2-1 on the night against the Germans; the French champions progressed 6-1 on aggregate.
Here’s some takeaways from this week’s four ties…
Atletico Madrid A Team To Avoid In Quarterfinals
We’ve already made the point in this feature that it might be a little unfair to dub Diego Simeone’s side as “dark horses” for this title. They may be lacking in the big, illustrious names, and yes, they don’t have the experience of some of Europe’s premier sides.But they continue to motor on.
In this double header with Milan they’ve showed that they are capable of digging in an getting a result on the road and In addition, an attacking vigour that allows them to blitz the opposition with their relentless, intense playing style. In Diego Costa, they also have one of Europe’s hottest forwards and a player capable of nicking a goal anywhere.
Los Concheros have competed with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona for the entirety of the domestic campaign, so why should we expect them to do any less in the Champions League? Their stylistic principles are quite unique when compared to the remainder of the teams left in this competition and Simeone’s charges are quickly becoming a side to avoid in the last eight.
Bayern Munich Show Tiny Chinks In Armour
It’s admittedly difficult to take much from a contest in which Bayern Munich failed to get out of first gear for long spells. But you could argue in the second-leg draw with Arsenal, they showed a miniscule chink in their armour for the second time in this season’s competition.
With the job seemingly done after their 2-0 win over the Gunners at the Emirates in the first-leg, Bayern ambled through this game. And it must be said that whilst the European Champions did create and subsequently spurn a host of chances, Arsenal did cause them a few problems.
After levelling at 1-1, the Gunners had a few opportunities to go on and get a second. It was a scenario not overly dissimilar to Manchester City’s win at the Allianz Arena, another game in which Bayern switched off after storming into the lead. City were able to take their chances in that 3-2 triumph, Arsenal were not this time round.