UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League 2013: Predicting Winners from Each Quarterfinal

VIGO, SPAIN - MARCH 30:  Cristian Tello (L) of FC Barcelona celebrsates with team-mate Lionel Messi after scoring his team's first goal during the La Liga match between RC Celta de Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on March 30, 2013 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2013

The quarterfinals of the Champions League is a mostly German and Spanish affair. You should probably expect the semifinals to be the same.

Five of the eight remaining teams come from either Germany's Bundesliga (Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund) or Spain's La Liga (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Malaga), and I fully expect four of those teams to advance to the semifinals.

Sure, it won't be easy, with superpowers like Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus still in the mix, butthe Champions League semifinals will be a German and Spanish affair.

Here's why.

 

Barcelona over Paris Saint-Germain

If there is one thing I've learned as a soccer fan, it is this—if you bet on Barcelona every time it plays, you are going to make a lot more money than you lose.

Don't get me wrong, PSG is a very talented team, and having Zlatan Ibrahimovic available for both legs is huge. PSG can play with anyone it faces.

But Barca is the stronger team. The Catalans have the best two players in the game (Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta), are more experienced in this tournament and have a deeper lineup. PSG won't make things easy, but Barcelona will advance.

 

Bayern Munich over Juventus

For my money, this is the most intriguing matchup of the quarterfinals. Bayern Munich is absolutely loaded with talent and is cruising through the Bundesliga season, 20 points ahead of second-place Borussia Dortmund on the table.

But the defending Italian champions aren't chopped liver, and they are likely to repeat as Serie A champions. Adding a Champions League title to the haul this season would make it loud and clear that the Italian side is one of Europe's elite.

Plus, Juventus has the balance and defense to frustrate the German side.

Honestly, this matchup could go either way, but there may not be a hotter team in Europe right now than Bayern Munich, and they simply have more talent on the roster. This should be the most competitive draw in the quarters, and I like Bayern to sneak past Juventus.

 

Real Madrid over Galatasaray

It's been a great run for Galatasaray, but it will run into a team that has three things going for it: Cristiano Ronaldo, more talent in general and nothing left to play for this season except a Champions League title.

That's not a good combination for Galatasaray. The Turkish side is not to be taken lightly, but they won't advance past a superior Real Madrid squad.

 

Borussia Dortmund over Malaga

Borussia Dortmund is not a team any squad should want to face right now. The defending Bundesliga champions have some of the most exciting young talent in the world in Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski, and trailing Bayern by 20 points in Bundesliga play means its Champions League or bust this season.

That's a scary proposition for Malaga. Sure, the Spanish side still has plenty of talent and is battle-tested against teams like Barca and Real Madrid, and Malaga has absolutely nothing to lose, seeing as no one expected them to advance this far.

But Dortmund is simply better, plain and simple. I know it's boring to go chalk for all four games, but I'm simply not willing to bet against the giants of German and Spanish football.

 

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