Champions League

The Champions League quarter finalists

The 2020/21 Champions League group stages and last 16 are now history, with the nitty gritty of the quarter finals up next to navigate.

There were a couple of European heavyweights casualties in the last 16, but plenty of the continent’s elite remain heading into the business end of the competition.

With May’s showpiece final fast approaching, who’s best equipped to go all the way this season? Here’s all eight sides ranked…

Juventus v FC Porto  - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Porto progressed with a famous victory over Juventus | Chris Ricco/Getty Images

Don’t take this the wrong way Porto, because we also ranked you 16th in the last 16 rankings… so what do we know? We’ll keep writing you off and you keep on doing you.

Porto lost just once in the group stages – albeit with Marseille and Olympiacos bringing up the rear in Group C – and are currently second best to high flying Sporting CP domestically.

The club have already upset the odds in this season’s competition as they turned in a spirited performance to stun Juventus despite being a man down. They couldn’t 2004 it all over again, could they?

Youssoufa Moukoko, Erling Haaland
Dortmund have an exciting young squad | Lars Baron/Getty Images

Domestically, Borussia Dortmund have had a bit of a nightmare season. The club are going through a weird transition period with Lucien Favre sacked in December and Marco Rose waiting in the wings to take over in the summer.

Even with their slight recent upturn in form, they still sit fifth in the Bundesliga, a full 16 points off top spot.

Yet Dortmund boast a ridiculously talented young squad, and with Erling Haaland and his outrageous Champions League scoring record they’ll give anyone a game. They (probably) won’t win – in fact, they’ll likely be leading and then capitulate – but it will be entertaining at the very least.

Ferland Mendy, Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, Vinicius Junior
Real are the Champions League’s most successful side | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid are Champions League royalty. Unfortunately, this particular Real Madrid side are just a bit… meh.

Los Blancos almost didn’t make it to the knockout stages (the lure of the Europa League music is just too much for some) after a chaotic group stage campaign, and they made difficult work of Atalanta in the first leg of their last 16 tie despite having a player advantage.

They’ve struggled for consistency in La Liga and currently sit six points off top spot. However, Madrid still boast a squad bursting with talent and a manager who has won three Champions League titles, lest we forget.

Diogo Jota, Fabinho
Liverpool have had an up and down season | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Champions League has offered 2019 winners Liverpool some much needed solitude this season after their Premier League title defence fell flat.

Despite having endured a torrid run of results in the top flight, the Reds were class over two legs against RB Leipzig. Should their Premier League form continue to falter, Liverpool may have to put all their eggs into the Champions League basket as a means of qualifying for next season’s competition.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been dogged by injury problems this term and this could be to their detriment in the Champions League too, but do you really need Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez when you’ve got Nat Phillips charging head first towards anything that comes within a five-mile radius?

Emerson Palmieri
Chelsea have come on leaps and bounds under Tuchel | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea are beginning to find their rhythm under Thomas Tuchel – they are still yet to lose, and have only conceded twice in 13 matches.

The Blues really shone with their last 16 victory over La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, demonstrating their ability to game manage, counter attack and beat an actually good team… And their ability to s***house a little bit too.

It’s a tight call between Chelsea and Liverpool for fourth spot – but Tuchel’s side have been less disastrous in the league, so they get the nod. Just.

FBL-EUR-C1-PSG-BARCELONA
PSG beat Barcelona to reach the quarter finals | FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Last season’s beaten finalists showed they mean business with an electric last 16 first leg victory over Barcelona.

Kylian Mbappe grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick, and the French outfit avoided a repeat of La Remontada to book their place in the quarter finals.

PSG have a squad bursting with world class talent, particularly going forward, but like many of this season’s Champions League quarter finalists, they have struggled domestically. Mauricio Pochettino’s side find themselves in an actual title race this season, and are currently three points off the Ligue 1 summit… Unprecedented.

Bayern München v SS Lazio - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Bayern are the defending Champions League champions | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Bayern Munich are a real freak show this season, in that they are doing well in both the Champions League and their domestic division. Weirdos.

The Bavarians sit atop the Bundesliga and have not lost in the Champions League for over two years. They’ve got a star studded squad. Robert Lewandowski is currently the world’s best footballer and, having won the Champions League in record-breaking fashion last term, they look a good bet to defend their crown.

Kevin De Bruyne
City have looked so good in 2021 | Miklos Szabo/Getty Images

Since turning in a masterful performance against Chelsea in December, Manchester City have looked completely unbeatable (apart from that time in the Manchester derby when Manchester United beat them).

Pep Guardiola’s side have surged to the Premier League summit and suddenly opened up a 14-point gap, while their performances in Europe have not faltered.

Guardiola can almost select an entirely different XI in a completely different formation each week and his side continue to deliver. Can City finally land the one trophy that has so far eluded them?

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