UCL Preview: Bayern Munich face Barcelona, Man City battle Lyon, and more

UCL Preview: Bayern Munich face Barcelona, Man City battle Lyon, and more

European Soccer

UCL Preview: Bayern Munich face Barcelona, Man City battle Lyon, and more

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The UEFA Champions League quarterfinals kick off this week with the scene moving to Portugal for the remainder of the competition.

Two European giants will square off in the headlining tie of the final eight clubs. Bayern Munich meets Barcelona on Friday with both teams seeking a place in next week’s semifinal round. The Bundesliga champions rolled past Chelsea 4-1 in its second leg Round of 16 tie, while Barcelona defeated Napoli 3-1 at home.

Manchester City face a tough test on Saturday with Ligue 1 side Lyon opposing them. Pep Guardiola’s side held off Real Madrid for a 2-1 second leg win at the Etihad Stadium thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus. Lyon shocked Juventus with Memphis Depay’s penalty kick goal all the French side needed to advance via the away goals tiebreaker.

Elsewhere, Atalanta looks to keep its dream run going against Paris Saint-Germain while Atletico Madrid squares off with RB Leipzig.

Here’s a closer look at this week’s UEFA Champions League action:

Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich

Friday, 3 p.m. TUDN

Injuries of Note: Niklas Sule is available after making his first competitive appearance since October against Chelsea. Jerome Boateng traveled with the club, but Benjamin Pavard remains out for Bayern. Ousmane Dembele will facing a fight against fitness to play in the tie for Barcelona.

Key to the Game: Bayern will rely on the play of their wide players against Barcelona to get things going. Barcelona are expected to let Messi see plenty of the ball against the German giants, but need to be strong defensively against an in-form Bayern offense.

Player to Watch: While Lionel Messi will be just as important for Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski has been world class this season. The Polish striker has scored 53 goals in 44 combined appearances for Bayern, helping to a domestic double so far.

Manchester City vs. Lyon

Saturday, 3 p.m. TUDN. 

Injuries of Note: Sergio Aguero has not traveled with Manchester City to Portugal, leaving the striker duties up to Gabriel Jesus for Saturday’s match. Former Manchester City defender Jason Denayer is doubtful for Lyon with a groin injury while Maxwell Cornet is dealing with a thigh issue.

Key to the Game: Lyon defended heavily in its second leg match against Juventus and is likely to do more of the same against Manchester City. The Ligue 1 side will need to be clinical on counter attacks and use the playmaking ability of Depay to give the Citizens problems. Man City will need to own possession and try to put the game away early against Lyon, whom will get more confidence the longer the match remains scoreless.

Player to Watch: Memphis Depay has 16 goals to his name between Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League play this season. The former Manchester United winger will be eager to get after his former rivals and lead his team to an upset.

RB Leipzig vs. Atletico Madrid

Thursday, 4 p.m. UniMas, TUDN.

Injuries of Note: Ibrahima Konate is likely to miss for Julian Nagelsmann’s side with a hip injury, but Marcel Halstenberg is set to return after overcoming a back problem. Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko are out for Atletico after testing positive for COVID-19 while Thomas Partey is doubtful with a thigh injury.

Key to the Game: With Timo Werner now gone, RB Leipzig will look to dominate possession against defensive-minded Atletico Madrid. The midfield for Leipzig will be key in order to break open the backline. Atletico will rely on its defense, but is always deadly on the break.

Player to Watch: Marcel Sabitzer recorded 13 goals and nine assists this season for Leipzig and will be the key distributor to watch for the German side.

Atalanta vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Wednesday, 3 p.m. UniMas, TUDN

Injuries of Note: Kylian Mbappe is in contention to play for PSG after overcoming a serious ankle injury suffered in July. Marco Verratti is expected  to miss for PSG while Angel Di Maria is suspended. Atalanta will be without goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini due to injury.

Key to the Game: Both teams can put up plenty of goals, but will need to be strong defensively to advance in the competition. Atalanta will look to keep possession to keep Mbappe and Neymar off the ball. PSG is known for its possession skills as well and will look to keep Atalanta pinned back.

Player to Watch: If Mbappe cannot play, a lot of the responsibility will fall on Brazilian star Neymar. The 28-year-old scored 16 goals between domestic and European competitions this season and is always a threat on the wing.

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