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Champions League

Europe Q Finals

UCL x Europa League Preview – (11th – 13th April)

 The quarter-final stages of the Champions League & Europa League are finally here and we break down each of the main ties. Before that, you can head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have.

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Bola Champion Png - Logo Champions League Vector Transparent ...Benfica vs Inter

Benfica had their 8-game winning streak ended on Friday when they lost to FC Porto, which was also their first loss in regulation time in 2023. Even though they had a strong team, they played with less intensity due to their focus on the upcoming Champions League game and their 10-point lead in the league, which has now been reduced to 7 points. Inter, their opponents in the next game, also had a disappointing weekend in the league as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Salernitana, which was thanks to a freak 90th-minute equalizer by their former winger, Antonio Candreva.

History will count for very little when these two sides meet on Tuesday as it’ll be only their first meeting in this competition since 1965. However, Benfica has proven to be a formidable opponent this season by securing two victories over Italian powerhouse Juventus in the group stage and ultimately finishing atop their group, which included the star-studded PSG. Meanwhile, Inter will be equally confident as they recently eliminated FC Porto in the previous round and may feel optimistic about facing another Portuguese team.

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Inter’s defense has been exceptional in the Champions League, keeping 5 clean sheets out of 8 games and making it difficult for opponents to score. However, it is important to note that Benfica has some of the most lethal attackers in this season’s competition. Three of the top seven scorers in the tournament – Goncalo Ramos (7), Joao Mario (6), and Rafa Silva (6) – belong to Benfica and with 23 goals, only Napoli (25) has scored more than the Eagles in the current season.

Benfica Form: W-W-W-W-L

Inter Form: D-L-L-D-D

Benfica will aim to win their 5th consecutive game in this competition for the first time since the 1989/90 season when they won 6 in a row en route to the final against AC Milan.


Bola Champion Png - Logo Champions League Vector Transparent ...Manchester City vs Bayern Munich

Man City have hit that end of season form they’re well known for, and it’ll be interesting to see if Bayern Munich will fall victim to the reigning English champions. After months of inconsistency, Guardiola’s side have turned a corner and strung together 8 wins in a row in all competitions, scoring 31 goals and conceding only 3 in that span as they keep their dreams of a treble alive. While Guardiola is focused on the Premier League, he has openly expressed his desire to win the Champions League at the Etihad. He boasts the highest win rate of all managers who have overseen over 30 games in the competition, with a 54% success rate. Nonetheless, the trophy has remained elusive since his 2011 victory with Barcelona.

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With Julian Nagelsmann gone, Bayern will have a different manager in Thomas Tuchel in charge, and it’ll be interesting to see if he makes major changes to their set-up ahead of this tie with the former Chelsea manager famously beating Pep Guardiola in the Champions League final two seasons ago. However, Bayern’s style prior to his arrival has been flawless as they’ve so far enjoyed a 100% win rate in this season’s competition which includes home and away wins over Barcelona and PSG, soon-to-be champions of their respective domestic leagues. They’ve also kept 7 clean sheets in 8 games this season, arguably their most impressive stat this season. They have visited the Etihad Stadium thrice in the past, winning only once in 2013 when Guardiola was in charge of the team. Bayern’s biggest concern will be the absence of Cameroonian striker Eric Choupo-Moting. Though not a big name in world football, Choupo-Moting has been a reliable replacement for Robert Lewandowski this season, scoring 4 goals in 6 Champions League games and 13 goals across 22 games in the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal. Unfortunately, he will be unavailable because of a knee injury.

Manchester City Form: W-W-W-W-W

Bayern Munich Form: W-L-W-L-W

Man City have won their last 10 home games against German opposition in the Champions League by an aggregate score of 39-10 including a 7-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the last round which famously featured 5 goals from Erling Haaland who had 6 goal contributions (5 goals and 1 assist) in his 7 meetings against Bayern Munich during his time at Dortmund.


Bola Champion Png - Logo Champions League Vector Transparent ...AC Milan vs Napoli

Napoli will seek retribution 10 days after suffering an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Milan at their own stadium. This chance for revenge will take place at the San Siro in the first leg of the tie, where Napoli has already secured a victory against Milan earlier this season with a 2-1 scoreline in Serie A. In fact, Napoli have enjoyed away trips to Milan in recent years, you would be excused if you mistook them for a bunch of aspiring fashion designers. In their last 9 home games against Napoli in all competitions, Milan have won just once (in the quarter-final of the Coppa Italia in 2019) and have lost 5 and drawn 3 in that span.

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As they prepare for their first meeting in European competition, their styles in this season’s campaign couldn’t be more different. Napoli’s attacking approach has made them an entertaining team to watch, and they currently lead the tournament with 25 goals scored. Milan, on the other hand, have generally adopted a more defensive and cautious approach and have scored 13 goals, which is the third-lowest of all the remaining teams, with only Chelsea (12) and their neighbors, Inter (11), having scored fewer.

The upcoming match may also see the reunion of Napoli’s dangerous attacking duo, Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia. Victor Osimhen was given rest and cautious management after sustaining a minor injury during the international break with Nigeria, ahead of this tie. Together, they have combined to score an impressive total of 39 goals and provide 21 assists so far this season. Without a doubt, they will be ones to watch in this match.

Milan enters this game with some cause for concern, as they have struggled to maintain form recently. Despite their impressive 4-0 victory against Napoli, it is their only win in their last 6 games, and they have found it difficult to score goals. Though he’s scored 4 goals in this UCL campaign, there are concerns that an overreliance on 36-year-old Olivier Giroud would come back to haunt them while star player, Rafael Leão has just 1 goal and no assists in 8 appearances in this season’s UCL – another worry.

However, Milan has a strong track record in this competition against fellow Italian teams, having lost only once in 9 games, winning 4 and drawing 4. This record suggests that they are tough to beat in these matchups, despite their recent struggles.

AC Milan Form: D-D-L-W-D

Napoli Form: W-W-W-L-W

Napoli have won each of their last 3 away matches at AC Milan, their best run against the Rossoneri. However, all three wins have come in the league, and they’ve won none of their last 5 meetings against Milan at the San Siro in cup competitions (D2, L3).


Bola Champion Png - Logo Champions League Vector Transparent ...Real Madrid vs Chelsea

This meeting between the last two Champions League holders will be their third in three consecutive years after never meeting in their history. In 2020/21, Chelsea beat Real Madrid in the semi-final before becoming champions and last season, Los Blancos returned the favour as they knocked the Blues out at this stage of the competition before beating Man City in the semis and Liverpool in the final.

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Interim Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard picked up from where Graham Potter left off as they once again gave a dull display and lost on the road, this time to Wolves. Despite having the lion share of possession and dominance in midfield, their attack was once again their biggest let down as they could only manage one shot on target all game. It was Lampard’s 4th consecutive Premier League loss to Wolves as, and Chelsea have now lost 7 away games – their most since the 2000/01 season. With a trip to the Bernabéu up next, there’s very little optimism for the Blues, though N’Golo Kante, who was rested over the weekend, will be available for selection.

Real Madrid will enter the upcoming game with a strong desire to win, having recently lost their chance to win the league title to Barcelona after a disappointing 3-2 home defeat to Villarreal. After a 4-0 win over the Catalans in the 2nd leg of the Copa del Rey, they lost 3-2 at home to Villarreal – only their 2nd loss to the Yellow Submarines in 22 games at home. Karim Benzema has struggled to match his performance from last season’s UCL campaign where he finished as top scorer, and he went the entire group stage without a goal contribution. He did however remind every one of his talent with 3 goals over 2 legs against Liverpool as they knocked out the 6-time winners. Vinícius Jr. has been Madrid’s key man this Champions League. 6 goals in 8 games has seen him surpass his tally for last season (4) and he’s added 3 assists to go with those. Real Madrid has scored in their last 30 home knockout games in the Champions League, a remarkable record stretching back to their 2011 semi-final loss to Barcelona. Therefore, we expect that the attacking duo of Benzema and Vinícius Jr. will pose a significant threat to Chelsea’s defense during the match.

Real Madrid Form: W-L-W-W-L

Chelsea Form: W-D-L-D-L

Chelsea have only lost 1 of their 7 games against Real Madrid and their 14% loss rate is the lowest amongst all teams that have faced the 14-time Champions League winners in Europe on at least 5 occasions.


UEFA Europa League 2021- Logo PNG Vector (AI) Free DownloadManchester United vs Sevilla

When Man Utd visit Old Trafford on Thursday, they will attempt to register their first European victory over Sevilla. In their Champions League last 16 encounter in 2017/18, the Spanish side emerged triumphant (2-1) on their visit to Old Trafford while José Mourinho was in charge. They met again during the covid lockdown period in the semi-final of the Europa League, which Sevilla also won 2-1 in a single-leg tie, with Suso and Luuk de Jong scoring to secure a comeback victory after Bruno Fernandes had given Man Utd an early lead. Now, however, the English side will have a lot more confidence.

Marcus Rashford awarded goal as Kylian Mbappe messages ...

Erik ten Hag has achieved the feat of transforming Old Trafford into a fortress reminiscent of its former glory. Manchester United has only lost two home games in all competitions this season, against Brighton and Real Sociedad, and have gone 25 games without a loss, winning 22 of those and keeping 15 clean sheets. The prospect of facing a Spanish team might make the Red Devils feel more at ease since they have already played against Real Sociedad, Barcelona, and Real Betis, winning against each of them at least once.

Ahead of Thursday’s match, Manchester United supporters will be eagerly awaiting any positive updates. Although there have been some encouraging developments in the squad selection, such as Eriksen’s return, Martial scoring his first goal in several months, and Casemiro’s domestic suspension ending, Marcus Rashford sustained a groin injury during the victory over Everton and is uncertain to play in this fixture. The Englishman is currently the leading scorer of this tournament with 6 goals, and his absence will be a significant loss for the team, as they have heavily relied on his goal-scoring ability throughout most of 2023.

Sevilla’s newly appointed manager, José Luis Mendilibar, has only been at the helm for two matches, but he has already made the team look more competent, which could be a cause for concern for Erik ten Hag. The team has recorded a win and a draw under his leadership, allowing them to climb out of the relegation zone and move up to 13th in the league. Their impressive 2-2 draw over the weekend is worth noting, as they played with a man down from the 19th minute, and it took two late goals from Celta Vigo to salvage a point. Sevilla’s supporters will hope that their new manager can work his magic and pull off a major upset at Old Trafford, given their current winless streak of 11 away European games (D5, L6).

Manchester United Form: W-W-L-W-W

Sevilla Form: W-L-L-W-D

Bruno Fernandes’ 27 goal involvements in his 37 European games for the Red Devils (13 goals & 14 assists) are at least 11 more than any other United player since his arrival from Sporting CP. The Portuguese midfielder was in top form in the 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday and could have had a hat-trick of assists if his teammates were not so wasteful in front of goal. If United is going to get a win in this game, he’s likely to play an important role.


UEFA Europa League 2021- Logo PNG Vector (AI) Free DownloadFeyenoord vs AS Roma

A 2-1 loss to Ajax in the Dutch League Cup last Wednesday was Feyenoord’s first since late October, having gone 23 games unbeaten. However, they showed their resilience by securing a 5-1 victory against RKC Waalwijk during the weekend. With only 8 games left in the Eredivisie and a reasonably comfortable 8-point lead, Arne Slot’s team is highly likely to win the Netherlands championship for the first time since the 2016/17 season. They’re this season’s top scorers in the Europa League with 21 goals in 8 games and their Italian visitors will want to be cautious in their approach as they meet for the first time since last year’s Europa Conference League final.

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Slot has made it clear that he has revenge on his mind, though he said it wasn’t the only motivation: “Yes, I may have some feelings of revenge lingering in me after that unpleasant night in Tirana. I think the same goes for some of the guys who were there last year, too. But it would be strange if you needed extra motivation for a Europa League quarter-final. Now we have an almost completely new team, and it’s played over two legs, so the situation is completely different.”

After a disappointing run of three games without a win, including a 4-3 home defeat to Sassuolo, José Mourinho will be relieved that his team has returned from the international break in better form. In their two recent league fixtures, Roma has secured two victories, while also keeping clean sheets in both games. Given Mourinho’s preference for a defensive approach, he is likely to adopt a similar strategy in the upcoming away fixture against Feyenoord, in an attempt to neutralize their free-scoring attack. Notably, Roma has kept clean sheets in their last three away matches in Europe, their best run since 2002, which they may rely upon. Additionally, they will need to keep a close eye on Feyenoord’s Santiago Giménez, who has an impressive scoring record of five goals in 229 minutes in the competition, the best scoring average among players with three or more goals this year.

Feyenoord Form: W-W-W-L-W

AS Roma Form: L-D-L-W-W

Feyenoord have scored a remarkable 19 goals in their last 5 games in all competitions including 7 in their win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2nd leg of the last round. They’ve only failed to score once in their 8 Europa League games this season.


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