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Madrid sides look to go through, Barca hope for another miracle

Only four teams remain after this week’s return legs in the Champions League are done.

Holders Real Madrid stamped an end on Bayern Munich’s three-year long invincibility at home as the Madridistas cruised past the Bavarians 2-1 at Allianz Arena in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.

It was a fitting end to Munich’s impressive winning run in home games in the Champions League, since the streak began right after they lost to Madrid 0-4 in 2014.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the second half brace that won last week’s fixture, also scored two goals in that 2014 match, making this year’s leg at Allianz Arena a painful reminder to Munich fans of what happened three years ago.

With two away goals, Real are poised to clinch a semi-final berth for the seventh straight year, as the return fixture will be at Santiago Bernabeu, where Madrid won three of their four home games this season.

TRAVEL BUG

Atletico Madrid, who survived Leicester City 1-0 in the first leg of their tie, travel to the King Power Stadium looking to reach a second straight semi-final. They were last season’s runners-up to Real.

Despite Atleti’s superior experience in Champions League matches, the Foxes might be tougher to handle in English soil since Leicester City are unbeaten in four home games this term.

They defeated three-time Europa League winners Sevilla 2-0 at home in the last round, and won all home fixtures in the group stages, while Atleti’s lone loss this term was an away match to Bayern Munich.

THRILLER NIGHTS

Living up to the billing, the battle between the most prolific offenses in the Champions League turned up with the most goals scored after one leg, and Monaco emerged the victors over Borussia Dortmund in their five-goal thriller at Signal Iduna Park.

Our Player To Watch on that game was Kylian Mbappe, and he started the scoring with a 19th minute finish. Monaco’s break neck pace forced an own goal out of Sven Bender to double up, and despite the best efforts from Shinji Kagawa (one goal, one assist), Mbappe’s late game strike was enough to put the Ligue 1 leaders ahead in the tie.

Monaco have been solid at home games in the Champions League, beating Manchester City 3-1 at Stade Louis II in the last round and winning two of three home fixtures in the group stages. They have nine goals in four games played in their stadium.

WE’VE FACED WORSE ODDS

Barcelona booked their ticket to the quarter-finals after overcoming a 0-4 first leg defeat to Paris St. Germain and winning the two-legged tie 6-5. They went scoreless in the away match, but scored six at Camp Nou to complete the historic and miraculous turnaround.

To seal a place in the semi-finals, Luis Enrique’s side need to pull another rabbit out of the hat since they lost 0-3 to Juventus in the first leg of their Last Eight matchup.

Luckily for Barca, the wide fields and the always-enlivened-crowd at Camp Nou will be there to support them.

Unfortunately for them, Juventus are one of the best defensive teams in Europe and have the tools to prevent Barca from making another Houdini-inspired escape act. They have won all four away games this term, and have kept clean sheets in three of them.