UEFA Champions League: Power Ranking the Last 8

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMarch 20, 2014

UEFA Champions League: Power Ranking the Last 8

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists have been decided following the latest round of knockout games.

    Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are all in the hat for Friday's draw.

    We've taken our usual steps toward sorting the best from the worst, power ranking the eight teams in order of strength, talent and—perhaps most importantly—ability to win the competition.

    Do you agree with our selection?

8. Manchester United

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    Manchester United conjured up some Robin van Persie magic at just the right time on Wednesday, continuing their superb home record in the Champions League this season.

    The 3-0 victory over Olympiakos showed many shoots of recovery, but the Red Devils enter the quarter-finals as the clear weakest team in the setup. For most it's as far as they'll go.

    Their form has been patchy both home and in Europe, and it needed a stirring display at Old Trafford to take them past Olympiakos. That form will not be good enough against any of the other sides remaining in the competition.

    David Moyes will need to coax some urgency out of his side a little earlier in the two-legged tie if they aren't to crash out.

7. Borussia Dortmund

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    There are a couple of things working against Borussia Dortmund here, and while seventh might seem low for last year's runners-up, there's a lot not to like.

    Robert Lewandowski is suspended for the first leg, so Julian Schieber will likely step in. Lukasz Piszczek is up and down, and injuries still haunt the XI.

    If Jurgen Klopp guides his ravaged outfit to the semifinals, it will be one hell of an achievement. BVB should be hoping for a draw with Manchester United.

6. Atletico Madrid

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    Atletico Madrid may have surprised casual Champions League followers when they crushed Milan last week, but for Diego Simeone and his men, it was business as usual.

    Diego Costa and Co. are a joy to watch on a weekly basis, but they also boast the steel and grit to upset the more established teams and construct a deep run in the competition.

    How far they go depends on the amount of winning stamina the team have in the tank. On their day, they can beat anyone in Europe.

5. Barcelona

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    Manchester City showed Barcelona a little too much respect in the first leg of their Round of 16 tussle, and when Manuel Pellegrini's men turned the screw at the Camp Nou, the hosts looked suspect.

    They have an in-form, fit-again Lionel Messi to rely on, so they will always harbour the ability to grab a goal, but the way David Silva and Co. carved them open at times will be a worry.

    Still, la Blaugrana have a strong pedigree and experience in this competition and remain a threat, regardless of recent slips.

4. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Paris Saint-Germain's expensively assembled setup are in "win now" mode and have the perfect chance to match themselves against the best.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic, at 32 years of age, has never looked better and looks dead set on winning his first Champions League medal. They have the best centre-back in the world, an excellent goalkeeper, good tactics and a solid midfield.

    Anyone doubting PSG's credentials just because they drew an easy group and Round of 16 matchup,think again; they're far better than last year, when they lost to Barcelona on away goals.

3. Chelsea

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    Chelsea didn't have to be at their best to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, with Galatasaray turning in another putrid away display.

    Regardless, the Blues have developed a habit of doing enough to win without truly committing themselves, and that's a strong sign in lengthy tournament football.

    The defence led by Gary Cahill and John Terry is hard as nails, and as long as Eden Hazard fires on all cylinders, there's not a team they can't beat on their day.

2. Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid waltzed into the quarter-finals on Tuesday night, beating Schalke 04 by an aggregate score of 9-2.

    The Cristiano Ronaldo-Gareth Bale-Karim Benzema attacking triumvirate looks the strongest of its kind in world football right now, and Carlo Ancelotti's impressive defensive coaching has shored the club up at the other end too.

    While Barcelona were busy beating Osasuna 7-0 at the weekend, Los Blancos ground out a vital away win at Malaga to stay three points clear at the top of La Liga.

    They are the strongest team in Spain and the second-strongest team in the world.

1. Bayern Munich

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    Bayern Munich got what they wanted in the Champions League Round of 16: a relatively easy victory over Arsenal in which they never truly got out of second gear.

    They remain the favourites to win the trophy, as confirmed by oddschecker.com—a feat that would see them retain it for the second straight year—and progress to the quarter-finals with, admittedly, little effort.

    Uli Hoeness' conviction for tax fraud may have cast a shadow over the club for the time being, but don't expect that to affect Pep Guardiola's troops as they march onward.

     

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