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Champions League picks, predictions, schedule: experts like Arsenal, see an exciting match between Real Madrid and Man City

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Champions League picks, predictions, schedule: experts like Arsenal, see an exciting match between Real Madrid and Man City

The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals kick off this week with a series of highly anticipated matches that could live up to entertaining expectations.

The highlight of the quarter-finals may well be Manchester City’s visit to Real Madrid. Defending champions City have passed all their tests so far this season, but a showdown against the Spanish giants, who boast one of the best attacking units in Europe, will be a real measure of their ability to progress. The other match of the day is nothing to scoff at either: Arsenal host Bayern Munich in a match between two teams in contrasting form. It also marks Harry Kane’s final match against the Gunners, an opponent he enjoyed scoring against during his days at Tottenham Hotspur.

On Wednesday, Kylian Mbappe’s farewell tour with Paris Saint-Germain continues against Barcelona, ​​who may have finally found some consistency despite the uncertainty they face with Xavi’s impending departure. Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, host Borussia Dortmund after escaping their last-16 draw with Inter on penalties.

Here’s a look ahead to this week’s matches, including our experts’ predictions for the first leg tie.

Don’t miss all Champions League storylinesand as always, you can check out all of our coverage Biggest+, CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports Golazo Network all season.

 

Tuesday’s Champions League editorial picks

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich

By James Benge

One match to watch: Harry Kane vs. Gabriel – Tottenham’s all-time top scorer is back in North London. His hopes of a first major trophy depend on finding a way past the formidable defense of his former rivals. Kane will drift into midfield as he is wont to do, but Gabriel will surely follow suit, with the Arsenal centre-back always backing himself to set the tone in the big matches.

Most likely to score a goal: Kai Havertz – Things have clicked for the enigmatic German talent in recent weeks. His last seven Premier League games have produced five goals and four assists from a centre-forward position he has made his own, even with Gabriel Jesus fit again. Havertz offers so many possibilities for Arsenal. He is tall and strong enough to be a target, his technique enough to get involved in the build-up and there are signs he can be a penalty kick poacher too.

Man of the Match choice: Declan Rice – Why not? In almost every major game since his £105m arrival from West Ham, Rice has excelled, a heady mix of quality and character. Bayern’s midfield has looked weak so far this season and could be even worse off if Aleksandar Pavlovic cannot play. Rice was able to drive through his opponents.

Match prediction: Arsenal 2, Bayern Munich 0 – The form team in the world against an opponent who is chronically unreliable? Pretty much all there is to say in Bayern’s favor is experience at this stage of the competition, but if the class shines through, this should be Arsenal’s day.

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

By Pardeep Cattry

One match to watch: Vinicius Junior vs. Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji – Manchester City may be in their favorite time of the season, but while they are starting to win in high-scoring games, things haven’t been perfect at the back. City’s somewhat porous backline could be good news for Real Madrid’s star-studded attack, which has kept the team out of trouble in the Champions League this season. It’s difficult to pick just one of these players, but if there’s one Real Madrid goalscorer to keep an eye on, it’s Vinicius Junior, who has scored six goals in the team’s last five games.

Most likely to score a goal: Phil Foden – It’s hard to pick just one player here as this match will be filled with top scorers like Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham and City’s Phil Foden and Erling Haaland. Any of them are probably a good choice, but Foden is suiting up well for City these days. He scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa last week and after a weekend’s rest he could be in good shape to score again.

Man of the Match choice: Rodri – Few players are as important to a team as Rodri is to City, who are now unbeaten with his club in 65 games and are one of their standouts every time he is on the pitch. As they start to make their usual end-of-season move, expect Rodri to play a big role again.

Match prediction: Real Madrid 1, Manchester City 1 – Manchester City are the oddsmakers’ favorites to win the Champions League for good reason, but Real Madrid have developed a remarkable ability to be unimpressive and still keep themselves in the running this season. Expect these two things to cancel each other out – at least for now.

Wednesday’s Champions League picks

PSG vs Barcelona

By Jonathan Johnson

One matchup to watch: Ousmane Dembele vs. Joao Cancelo — The French international, who will compete against his former club, promises to be a ratings success. The versatile Portuguese full-back will most likely start against Dembélé, which could mean opportunities for PSG and especially Kylian Mbappé. This matchup could go a long way in determining the outcome of this opening match.

Most Likely Goal: Kylian Mbappé — There are no prizes to be won for guessing that the French superstar is most likely to be on the scoresheet. In what could be a preview of Mbappe playing Barcelona with Real Madrid next season, the Les Bleus captain will want to make sure he doesn’t miss this chance to shine.

Man of the Match choice: Vitinha — The Portugal international has become increasingly important under Luis Enrique and is now an accomplished performer in the middle of the park. While Warren Zaire-Emery could play an important role in midfield, expect Vitinha to be equally or more active when it comes to reaching PSG’s deadly front line.

Match prediction: 2-1 — Expect goals for both sides, but PSG’s unbeaten run dating back to November suggests they could come out on top. The French champions did their damage away from home the last time these two met, but are better armed against this current version of Barca.

Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund

By Chuck Booth

One match to watch: Antoine Griezmann vs. Emre Can – In the midst of one of his best seasons in an Atletico Madrid shirt, Antoine Griezmann’s performances are a benchmark of what the Spanish side can do. From roaming where he wants in attack, shooting and exchanging with Alvaro Morata, to creating chances for those around him, there’s a reason why he’s provided 19 goals and seven assists so far this season. Replacing Black and Yellow in midfield, it will be up to Can to follow Griezmann in what will be a decisive match. The winner of the battle between these two players will likely determine who will advance to the last four of the Champions League play.

Most likely to score a goal: Alvaro Morata – Morata came into his own in Madrid with twenty goals in all competitions and already has five in the Champions League this season. The duo are always on the same page as Griezmann and have formed a formidable partnership that will keep Dortmund’s defense on its toes. In big games this season, Dortmund have struggled to contain top strikers and that trend will continue.

Man of the Match pick: Antoine Griezmann: While Dortmund will still find a way to score an own goal, Atletico Madrid will have the chance to make it feel like points have been dropped thanks to Griezmann’s creativity. Assisting Morata’s only goal while pulling the strings of the attack will be enough for Man of the Match honors, even if these will be of dubious nature in this match.

Match prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1, Atletico Madrid 1: Even though Dortmund haven’t looked good in most games in the Champions League, they have found a way to get a result and the same goes for Atleti. It won’t be a very exciting match between these two teams, but a draw will make for an epic second leg.