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As the international break draws to a close, the stage is set for the Champions League quarterfinals. With a more than promising draw, it’s back to the big leagues that the Cup with the big ears returns on April 9.

Excitement at Its Peak

Defending champions Manchester City face a tough opponent in the form of Real Madrid, the 14-time champions. The latter have a score to settle with the Citizens after their semi-final elimination last year. Manchester will be hoping to repeat that feat this year and reach the semifinals once again, while Real Madrid will not be letting their chances slip away again.

The Spanish giants intend to continue their European conquest, buoyed by their Brazilian stars Vinicius Jr. and Rodrigo, as well as the imminent arrival of Hendrick. What’s more, the Merengues can count on their midfield mainstay, Germany’s Toni Kroos, who has renewed his contract for another season in the white shirt. For their part, Pep Guardiola’s men are more than optimistic about their chances of going all the way. As favorites for the trophy, they will be relying on Norwegian cyborg Erling Haaland, as well as English nugget Phil Foden, to break down the Spanish lines thanks to the piercing vision of Belgian Kevin De Bruyne.

Catalans on Paris’ Doorstep

Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappé open the doors of the Parc des Princes to the Catalans in a historic match that has always been a top-of-the-table affair between these two teams. However, this will not stop the French from continuing to dream of becoming the first stars on the European stage. Between the remontada and the corrections of the past, the Catalans have a lot to prove under the guidance of Spanish legend Xavi. With their season in the doldrums, the only thing left to convince the Blaugrana fans is their European campaign.

For their part, PSG are serene and more than determined to take this step forward, buoyed by Kolo Muani and their talented youngsters. It’s also an opportunity for Kylian to showcase his talent under Spanish skies. Should they win, PSG could face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, while rumors of a possible move to Real Madrid next season are intensifying.

From One Quarter to Another

Arsenal welcome Bayern Munich and Harry Kane, who will be making his return to North London, but not in the right place. The former Tottenham striker has had a remarkable season, but one that could potentially end in a blank slate if the Gunners are eliminated. Mikel Arteta has already launched his project to push his team into the semifinals and erase the defeat of 2016–2017, a chance for the Gunners to show their potential and the culmination of hard work over the last 5 years. For their part, the Bavarians, frustrated by an eventful season, should not surrender. A reshuffle is coming to the Allianz Arena for next season, but at what price?

The last quarter-final between Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund promises to be an intense clash between two renowned European teams. On the one hand, Diego Simeone’s men will face off against Dortmund’s aggressive attack, spearheaded by Sancho, who is more than determined to prove to Manchester United that it was a mistake to let him go. Spain’s disciplined defense, led by Oblak and Antoine Griezmann, could provide the impetus for a counter-attacking thrust against the Germans, who are more comfortable in attack. Dortmund, formidable offensively, will have to capitalize on their strengths and their dazzling performances to date.

UEFA also made the draw for the semi-finals, sealing the fate of PSG, who will not cross paths with Real Madrid — the club Kylian is tipped to sign with this summer — until the final.

This draw has undeniably brought together the four most formidable teams in the same half of the table.

The winner between Real Madrid and Manchester City will start the first leg away from home, facing either Arsenal or Bayern.

As for Atletico or Dortmund, they will have the advantage of hosting the first match against PSG or Barcelona.

The draw unveiled a familiar and imposing line-up, featuring five European champions, who boast 27 of the 68 previous titles, as well as three unlucky finalists: Arsenal, Atletico, and PSG.