The Champions League enters its business end this week with the quarter-finals kicking off. Italy has more teams in the latter stages than any other country, with Benfica also making it through. Could we be in for a surprise winner? BBC Sport looks at some of the key talking points.
Manchester City and Bayern Munich will face off in the first leg, with Guardiola and Tuchel going head to head again. The two managers have met 10 times before, with Guardiola winning six and Tuchel three. However, City beat Tuchel’s Chelsea twice in the Premier League last season. Guardiola has had a mixed time against his old clubs, winning two of his four matches against Barcelona, but also suffering 3-0 and 4-0 defeats.
Frank Lampard will be hoping to emulate Thomas Tuchel’s success with Chelsea in the Champions League this season. Remarkably, Chelsea’s last five European trophies have all come with managers who had taken over that season. Lampard is the fourth man to manage Chelsea this season after the sacked Tuchel, the sacked Graham Potter and brief interim boss Bruno Saltor.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a remarkable throwback and something which seemed impossible in modern football. The Georgian winger has 12 goals and 10 assists in Serie A, only behind four players in Europe’s top five leagues. He and Napoli have been drawn against AC Milan in the quarter-finals.
Benfica have sold over £200m worth of talent this season, yet under German journeyman manager Roger Schmidt they look almost unbeatable. They finished top of a Champions League group involving PSG and Juventus, and then blew away Club Bruges in the last 16. They are seven points clear of Porto at the top of the Portuguese league as they close in on a first trophy since 2019.
The Champions League is set to be an exciting tournament this year, with a potential surprise winner on the cards. Manchester City and Chelsea will be hoping to make it through to the semi-finals, while Napoli and Benfica will be looking to continue their impressive form. It promises to be an exciting few weeks of football!