Then there were eight: A look at the Champions League quarter-finals

Sham Majid dissects the quarter-finals of the 2012-13 Champions League, weighing up the chances of the eight teams remaining in the competition
And then there were eight.  The Champions League quarter-finals get underway on Tuesday, with each tie a mouthwatering prospect destined to be full of sub-plots and twists.

Goal Australia expert Sham Majid takes a closer look at the four ties, documenting each side's journey, identifying the gamebreakers and making his prediction.



PSG: The mega-rich French colub strolled through the knock-out stages by topping Group A with 15 points, scoring a whopping 14 goals in six matches. PSG claimed a 2-1 away victory against Valencia in the Round of 16 first-leg match, where star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off in injury time for an apparent stamp on Andres Guardado. Their second-leg encounter finished in a 1-1 draw.

Barcelona: The 2011 Champions League winners took charge of Group G, amassing 13 points. They suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Celtic on matchday four. Their first-leg Round of 16 clash against AC Milan at the San Siro ended in a disastrous 2-0 defeat but the Catalan club responded with a dazzling display at the Nou Camp to thrash their visitors 4-0.


PSG: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Swedish forward may have only scored two goals in the Champions League so far but he has created the most assists with five. His gifted link-up play and unselfishness have been vital components of PS'’s attack. Ibrahimovic, who successfully appealed to have his two-match suspension overturned to just one, will be relishing the opportunity to put one over his former employers.

Barcelona: Lionel Messi - Who else but the little Argentine wizard? The reigning Fifa Ballon d'Or winner has registered seven goals and two assists in the Champions League so far but his breathtaking display and subsequent double scored against Milan in the return leg suggest he is still capable of stepping up a gear or two. A frightening prospect for the PSG back-four.


AC Milan were lauded for shackling and harassing Barcelona in their first leg 2-0 win, with many predicting the end of the Catalan challenge. However, Milan were left shell-shocked as Barcelona attacked them from the first whistle and tore them to shreds. PSG will have to replicate Milan's first-leg efforts over the two matches to stand any chance of progressing - an extremely unlikely scenario. Expect Barcelona to cruise through comfortably.



Bayern Munich: Last year's runners-up topped Group F with 13 points, scoring 15 goals in the process. However, the Bavarian club crashed to a shock 3-1 defeat to BATE Borisov on matchday two. Bayern recorded an impressive 3-1 away win against Arsenal in the first leg of the Round of 16 but suffered an almighty scare when they were stunned 2-0 at home by the Gunners in the return leg.

Juventus: The Turin powerhouse finished at the summit of Group E with 12 points, remaining unbeaten along the way. Juventus claimed four points against defending champions Chelsea in their group meetings, including a 3-0 home hammering of the Blues in November. Antonio Conte's men breezed past Round of 16 opponents Celtic with an easy 5-0 aggregate win.


Bayern Munich: Thomas Muller - The attacking midfielder has found the back of the four times in Europe this season and has the gifted knack of being in the right place at the right time. His languid playing style may not seem pleasing on the eye but his mobility and link-up play is nothing ordinary.

Juventus: Andrea Pirlo - Like vintage wine, the veteran seems to get better with age. The 33-year-old playmaker has notched three assists so far in Europe and, alongside Barcelona's Xavi, his ability to dictate the play and tempo of the game is unparalleled. Pirlo also possesses supreme vision to pick out defence-splitting passes. Juventus coach Conte still regards the veteran as an indispensable figure, and for good reason.


German and Italian sides are notoriously difficult to break down and both meetings could be cagey and cautious affairs. However, Bayern Munich  have amazing strength in depth and they will be determined to avenge their defeat in last season's Champions League final and go one step further this year. The Bavarian club should sneak through against the Bianconeri, but only just.



Malaga: Debutants Malaga cruised to the knockout phase of the Champions League, finishing top of Group C with 12 points and four ahead of runners-up AC Milan. They beat the seven-time European champions 1-0 on matchday three. Manuel Pellegrini's team overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Porto 2-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16.

Borussia Dortmund: Placed in the 'Group of Death' featuring Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax Amsterdam, Borrusia Dortmund easily finished first in Group C. The Bundesliga champions beat Madrid and City, remaining unbeaten in the process. They progressed to the quarter-finals after walloping Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk 5-2 on aggregate.


Malaga: Isco - The attacking midfielder has been a revelation for Malaga this season. He has already netted three goals in Europe so far, but his three assists suggest he is equally adept at creating chances for teammates. Blessed with sublime skills, vision and technical ability, Isco is the chief architect of Malaga's attacks.

Borussia Dortmund: Robert Lewandowski - The Polish forward has cemented his reputation as one of Europe's deadliest marksmen with five goals in the Champions League, but his sterling work-rate and ability to provide chances often goes unnoticed. He has notched up two assists so far, further highlighting his credentials as a complete centre-forward.


While Malaga are heavily reliant on the creative brilliance of starlet Isco, Dortmund have a wider range of attacking options. Their offensive triumvirate of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Lewandowski could prove too hot to handle for the Malaga defence.



Real Madrid: The nine-time European champions had to settle for second spot in the group standings after finishing behind Borussia Dortmund in Group C. Forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in two meetings against Manchester United in the Round of 16 as the Spanish giants won 3-2 on aggregate.

Galatasaray: The Turkish giants finished with 10 points in Group H, two behind group winners Manchester United. Despite CFR Cluj also collecting 10 points, Galatasaray qualified due to their superior head-to-head record against the Romanian outfit. Fatih Terim's side claimed a magnificent 4-3 aggregate win over Schalke 04 in the knock-out stages to march on to the quarter-finals.


Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo - The Portuguese forward has been on fire in Europe, leading the goal scoring charts with eight goals and - at times - single-handedly dragging Jose Mourinho's team to victories. Ronaldo thrives on the big occasions and rarely disappoints. Galatasaray's defence will have to be at their absolute best to contain the attacker.

Galatasaray: Burak Yilmaz - The Turkish forward is neck-and-neck with Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Champions League's golden boot, having also scored eight goals. Yilmaz bagged a hat-trick in the group stages against CFR Cluj and has caught the eye immensely with his sharp predatory instincts.


While the January additions of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder have enhanced Galatasaray's attacking options, the duo have yet to really gel with the rest of the first XI. Madrid, however, have no such worries and their victory against Manchester United, albeit a little fortunate, suggests their best is yet to come. Ronaldo and company should possess too much flair and skill for the Turkish club.

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