Euro 2020 Special
 

UCL Quarter Finals: Surprising Player Duels to Look Out For

The draws of the UCL Quarter finals are out and there are some fascinating battles that have given us plenty of narratives to ponder on. There are three English teams, two German teams and one team each from France, Germany and Portugal left in the UEFA Champions League 2020-21 and the road to Istanbul is set up fascinatingly.

The draw has given us a replay of last year’s final as champions Bayern Munich take on PSG. We will also witness the 2018 Champions League final played out again as Liverpool will take the trip to Spain to play Real Madrid away from home in the first leg. Pep Guardiola will meet a familiar foe in Borussia Dortmund from his time in Germany and English team Chelsea would be the happiest team from the draw as they take on dark horses FC Porto. 

These are all mouth-watering encounters but the player battles we’ll talk about in this piece would be the ones to keep an eye out throughout the UCL Quarter Finals. 

ILKAY GUNDOGAN vs ERLING HAALAND

Match 1: Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund

German playmaker Ilkay Gundogan who has been in remarkable goalscoring form in the recent months for the Cityzens will take on his former team in Borussia Dortmund. Whereas Erling Haaland, whose father played for Manchester City before he was born, will play against a team he supported as a kid. There have been plenty of transfer rumours of Haaland joining City and this could turn out to be a dress rehearsal for the Norweigan at the Etihad Stadium. 

MALANG SARR vs KURT ZOUMA

Match 2: FC Porto vs Chelsea

Chelsea loanee Malang Sarr may have a big role to play in the match against his parent club in the UCL Quarter Finals. Sarr isn’t a regular starter for the Portuguese side but had a role to play in the second leg against Juventus. 

Kurt Zouma who has somewhat been out of favour since Thomas Tuchel took over, delivered an outstanding performance against Atletico Madrid in the Round-of-16 second leg clash. With Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen out injured currently, Tuchel turned to Zouma and the defender showed his class. The battle of the two French central defenders would be fascinating to watch from this tie. 

ERIC MAXIM CHOUPO-MOTING vs MOISE KEAN

Match 3: Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will be up against his former club PSG in the UCL Quarter Finals. The striker is the understudy to Robert Lewandowski but always creates an impact when he comes off the bench. He has already scored twice in the Champions League this season and we wouldn’t be surprised if he scores against his former club in what promises to be the clash of the quarters. 

Moise Kean, the striker who is on loan from Everton seems to be in favour under PSG’s new coach Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine likes something about Kean and always turns to him to make an impact in the game. This battle could be between the two super-subs in this match and could define the result in this tie. 

SERGIO RAMOS vs MOHAMED SALAH

Match 4: Real Madrid vs Liverpool
And finally, we have the reunion of Sergio Ramos and Mohamed Salah. Ramos’ infamous tackle on Salah at Kyiv in the 2018 Champions League final ruined Liverpool’s chances of lifting the trophy on that night and also affected Egypt’s World Cup campaign. There’s no doubt that Salah still holds a grudge against Ramos from that night and the ‘Egyptian King’ would be ready to seek revenge when he comes up against Real’s captain. Quite a battle on the cards!

 

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