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UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals: Europe's Top Teams Battle for Final Four Spots

Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and the best of La Liga and Bundesliga face off as they vie for a semifinal berth.

The 2015-16 UEFA Champions League is back in action as the tournament pushes towards the semifinals. Eight teams are in contention for the trophy, but only four can advance to the next stage. 

The Quarterfinal Matches:

Real Madrid vs. Wolfsburg
Manchester City vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Benfica vs. Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid vs. Barcelona

Game-by-game breakdown

Atlético Madrid vs. Barcelona

The La Liga rivalry between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona stretches into the Champions League on Wednesday when the teams battle at Vicente Calderón Stadium to see who will advance to the semifinals. Barcelona is coming into the second leg match after some mediocre performances in Primera Division play, but the club has a 2-1 advantage after winning the first leg.

One major thing to keep an eye on in this match is Lionel Messi, as the Barca star has not scored a goal in over 300 minutes. The 28-year-old is not worried about the streak, but is instead focused on the task at hand, writing on Facebook that Barcelona’s “mindset remains the same. We work hard all year to have a chance of winning trophies." Messi knows that Atlético cannot be overlooked after Madrid knocked out Barca in the 2013-14 Champions League quarterfinals. Barcelona comes in as the trophy-holders in the Champions League, and they will try and stay alive for back-to-back titles. 



Benfica vs. Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has his club on the cusp of a Champions League semifinal berth after taking a 1-0 lead in the first leg. Guardiola is looking to get his club through in his final season with the team, but he will have to do it without the services of winger Arjen Robben and defender Jerome Boateng, who remain out with injuries. 

Benfica has the home-pitch advantage on Wednesday, but it will be a tough task to overtake Bayern. The club is playing without forward Jonas—who is suspended for the match and has 32 total goals this season—putting more pressure on winger Nicolas Gaitan to get things done.



Real Madrid vs. Wolfsburg

Real Madrid enters the match after losing 2-0 in the opening leg, meaning the squad will have to overturn a two-goal deficit to advance to the next stage. Real came into the first leg after a strong performance against La Liga rival Barcelona—winning 2-1 away at Camp Nou—but they followed that up with the dud against Wolfsburg. Now the team has the chance to turn things around with a strong performance at home. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is always the player to watch for Real, but for this match, Karim Benzema can make a big impact for his club. The forward suffered a knee injury in the opening leg against Wolfsburg, but he is fit for the match on Tuesday. Wolfsburg has a tough task in Madrid, but players like Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle give the team a good chance to hold their lead. An exit in the quarters would be a disappointment for Real after making it to the semifinal last season.



Manchester City vs. Paris Saint-Germain 

Both Manchester City and PSG have a lot riding on this match. Neither team has ever advanced to the semifinals in the Champions League, and both sides have a lot of expectations (and money) invested in their current rosters. Getting eliminated now could mean some uncertain futures for players and coaches on each side. 

The teams are tied 2-2 on aggregate coming into the second leg after opening things in Paris. Manchester City has the advantage of being at home, but they will be without two of their most dominant players in the massive Vincent Kompany and the shifty Raheem Sterling. The Sky Blues don’t need much to advance—0-0 or 1-1 draw will do—but getting it done without two star players could be difficult. On a positive note, manager Manuel Pellegrini said he expects Nicolas Otamendi to play after suffering an ankle injury last week. 




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