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Champions League quarterfinals: mouth watering action beckons

1.44K   //    22 Mar 2011, 22:21 IST

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The UEFA Champions League is synonymous with glamorous action, clash of superstar teams and plenty of thrills.  The knockout round provided us with just that as we witnessed a host of cracking matches.  With a mesmerizing draw of the quarter finals now provided, let’s hope the heart-stopping action continues.

Real Madrid vs Tottenham Hotspur

Its the first quarterfinals for Real Madrid in 6 years and the first ever Champions League outing for Tottenham. The pressure will be less on newbies Tottenham but immense on the Galacticos of Real Madrid in the competition that is synonymous with their domination. Both teams will be happy with the comfortable ease with which they have entered the last 8. With Madrid being a team consisting of super stars will start with the favorites tag and the bookies favorite. Spurs, on the other hand, have come a long way since Harry Redknapp took over and will be happy with the underdog tag. The real strength which Madrid have are the presence of many potential and proven game changers like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso and Marcelo. Spurs on the contrary have pace from the wide areas and a classy midfield consisting of one of the world’s top playmakers in Luka Modric. It will be interesting how the Special One will approach this tie. Whatever the outcome, it will end up special for either of the team who goes through.

Champions League Outright Winner Odds

Real Madrid: 5/1 Victor Chandler
Tottenham Hotspur: 29/1 at Unibet

Chelsea vs Manchester United

Arguably the toughest quarterfinal is the one in which the two English giants have been drawn together. The two teams head into this with very little separating them, just like always.  Chelsea enter the fray with only this trophy to play for as they are 9 points behind Manchester United in the league. Manchester United, on the other hand, are top of the table and still have an important semi final date with their bitter neighbors Manchester City in the FA Cup. The forms for both teams will have very little bearing in this clash and neither side will start off with an advantage here. Carlo Ancelotti will look to beating Sir Alex for the second time in the Champions League having previously having got better of him with AC Milan in the 2006-07 edition of the competition.  This time around he will have to conjure up something special as Sir Alex knows Ancelotti’s Chelsea inside out. There will be some key battles to look out for like Torres vs Vidic, Rooney vs Terry, Essien vs Fletcher and the ones who come out triumphant in these can be the potential game changers.

Champions League Outright Winner Odds

Chelsea: 7/1 at SkyBet
Manchester United: 9/1 at Boylesports


Barcelona vs Shakhtar Donetsk

This clash will be pretty much the easiest of the lot and Barcelona having been the best side in the Champions League so far will be pretty happy with the handy draw they have got. Having already eliminated Arsenal in the previous round, the Catalans will be high on confidence and will approach this tie firmly. Shakhtar will have to play out of their skins to get anything out of the two legged encounter. The main problem they face is whether to take the game to Barcelona or sit back and play on the counter. Both strategies can backfire really badly if Barcelona get into to their full stride. With some flair down the stride and an overall powerful game, Shakhtar will try not to give Barcelona an easy ride in Ukraine. However, with the attacking triumvirate of Messi, Pedro and Villa in formidable form it really is hard to see where the Catalans can fall down.

Champions League Outright Winner Odds

Barcelona: 6/5 favourites at Bet365
Shakhtar Donetsk: 59/1 at Unibet

Inter Milan vs FC Schalke

After having pulled off a remarkable come-from-behind victory in the previous round against Bayern Munich, Inter are the favorites heading into this one. In spite of the favorites tag, it would be suicidal for the Italian giants to take this lightly as their form in this season has been erratic. Schalke are a tricky side and had put up a pretty decent show to have eliminated Valencia in the previous round. Just like Inter, Schalke too have had an indifferent season in the Bundelsliga but have performed well in the Champions League and the German Cup and could give Inter a good run for their money. Inter still do not look quite good or formidable as they were last season under Mourinho, but they have done not so bad in the recent past under Leonardo who replaced Benitez mid season. Schalke on the other hand have the legendary Raul in their ranks and will hope he comes to good in these crucial times with his experience. Despite the underdogs tag, the German side will like to give a good account of themselves and will hope to spring a surprise.

Champions League Outright Winner Odds

Inter Milan: 9/1 at Unibet
Schalke: 66/1 at Victor Chandler

With so much to look forward to, I can’t help but smack my lips and wait with bated breath for the action to begin.