Goal.com Predicts: AC Milan 1-3 Barcelona, Benfica 1-1 Chelsea

Goal.com's experts believe that the Serie A champions could be in for a difficult night, while the Premier League side have a chance of starting their tie with a favourable result

The 2011-12 Champions League campaign is nearing its final stages as the remaining eight teams play the first legs of their quarter-final ties.

On Tuesday, surprise packages APOEL host Real Madrid as they look to cause yet another upset after eliminating Olympique Lyonnais in the round of 16.

Elsewhere, Portuguese powerhouse Benfica lock horns with Chelsea as David Luiz and Ramires return to Lisbon to take on their former club.

Holders Barcelona lock horns with AC Milan again as the Catalans travel to San Siro on Wednesday for the second time this season after their previous meeting in the group stages.

Finally, Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich will be looking to take advantage of Olympique de Marseille's poor form in recent weeks when they visit the Stade Velodrome.

Once again, Goal.com's expert reporters will be on hand to provide you with in-depth coverage and analysis, but here's what they think may unfold on Tuesday and Wednesday.



After picking up two draws against Manchester United during the group stage, Benfica must face with Chelsea, the last English club remaining in Europe.

The continental tie could not have come at a worse time for the Portuguese giants, though, as they will tackle Sporting Braga in between the two matches against the Blues.

The loss of Ezequiel Garay to injury will certainly be felt in the heart of Benfica's back line as Jardel lacks the quality and experience of the Argentine, so Artur may have a tough night on Tuesday.

However, Benfica have always scored at home in European matches this season, so don't expect either club to keep a clean sheet here.

Real Madrid


When this draw was made, both teams would have been delighted with this fixture - but for very different reasons.

APOEL's incredible journey to the last eight has seen them rewarded with a glamour tie against the most successful side in the history of Europe's premier club competition, while Madrid managed to avoid the big guns and are on course for a Clasico showdown with Barcelona in the Munich showpiece in May.

Don't expect Madrid to slip up here. Under Jose Mourinho, Real relish matches like this one and APOEL's fairytale is likely to come to an end. The Cypriot side have overcome the likes of Porto, Zenit and Lyon on their way to the last eight, but Madrid are a step up from those three teams and the Spanish side should comfortably progress to the semi-finals on the back of two wins.

AC Milan


Yes, I also predicted a 3-1 home defeat for Milan in the first leg of the last round, and I'd love to see them respond with another 4-0 win, but I just don't see it. 

Barcelona remain the side to beat in the Champions League, and the Rossoneri would have to be at full strength to seriously consider themselves in with a chance. However, the heavy blow of losing Thiago Silva to a hamstring injury is surely too much for them to overcome, even in the home leg.

Back in November, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured) had some success against Carles Puyol, and I expect the same to happen again. But I also can't envisage anything other than a rough night at the other end for Milan, with Lionel Messi likely to have plenty of space to pull the strings. 

Where Arsenal failed to exploit the Rossoneri's weaknesses at San Siro, Barca should pick holes through them with comparative ease.

Olympique de Marseille

Bayern Munich


The Stade Velodrome is an intimidating environment for any visiting side, but form can make all the difference on Wednesday.

Marseille only snapped a seven-game losing streak on Saturday, and have not won since mid-February. Bayern have been victorious in five consecutive games, are scoring at will, and have the best defensive record of all the teams remaining in the Champions League.

Whether or not Bastian Schweinsteiger (pictured) makes his long-awaited return, the visitors should take a first-leg lead back to Munich.