Champions League play moves to the quarterfinals after an exciting Round of 16, which featured several marquee matchups. Among them were Real Madrid knocking off Manchester United and Barcelona staging a massive comeback against AC Milan.
Fans around the world hope the matches among the last eight are just as intriguing. Of all the clubs left standing after group play and the first knockout stage, Turkish side Galatasaray and Spanish side Malaga, who often get overshadowed by La Liga counterparts, are the most surprising.
Among the top contenders are Bayern Munich, which reached the final last season before upstart Chelsea claimed the trophy, fellow German club Borussia Dortmund and the two Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Here are the matchups and dates for the Champions League quarterfinals. The first legs will be played on either April 2 or 3 and will be followed by the second legs the next week, on either April 9 or 10.
|Club||Club||First Leg||Second Leg|
|Malaga||Borussia Dortmund||April 3 ||April 9
|Real Madrid||Galatasaray||April 3||April 9
|Paris Saint-Germain||Barcelona||April 2 ||April 10
|Bayern Munich||Juventus||April 2 ||April 10|
The first matchup features Borussia Dortmund against Malaga. The edge goes to Dortmund. They were in complete control against Shakhtar Donetsk and should be able to do the same against a squad that's currently a distant fourth in La Liga.
Which matchup is the best?
Real Madrid, after a thrilling victory at Old Trafford to reach the quarterfinals, will take on Galatasaray. There's no doubt the defending Spanish league champions will enter as the favorites, but they can't afford to look past the in-form Super Lig club.
The last two matchups are the big draws. First, big-spending Paris Saint-Germain will face off with perennial contender Barcelona. If Barca play like they did in the second leg against AC Milan, they are basically unstoppable.
Finally, Bayern Munich continue their quest toward another appearance in the final against Juventus. Although it should be a very competitive pair of matches, it's hard not to like Bayern's form heading into the quarters.