6 takeaways from thrilling Champions League quarter-finals

  • Dortmund, PSG, Bayern Munich & Real Madrid advanced to the Champions League semi-finals
  • Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal & Man City all eliminated in thrilling ties
  • Six things we learned from the last eight
Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League
Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

It's hard to remember a round of Champions League football which delivered quite like this season's quarter-finals.

Eight games yielded 32 goals, while there was drama from the first whistle until the very last. Ultimately, it was Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid who emerged from the chaos with their heads held high.

That means holders Manchester City will not go back-to-back, and opens up the possibility of Carlo Ancelotti winning a record-extending fifth Champions League as a manager, They don't call him the don for nothing.

Here are six takeaways from some absorbing action.

Don't count Bayern Munich out just yet

Thomas Tuchel, Leon Goretzka
Bayern really needed this win / Boris Streubel/GettyImages

They may have already given up the Bundesliga title, but any suggestions that Bayern Munich are enduring a horrific collapse were quickly dispelled.

A hard-fought 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the first leg was followed up by a disciplined 1-0 win in the return fixture, with Bayern doing what few sides in Europe have been able to do this season and slow Arsenal down.

Thomas Tuchel will want to end his time in Munich on a high, and with performances like these ones, he just might do that.

Kylian Mbappe gets to work on his Clasico rivalry

Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe lives for the big stage / Xavier Laine/GettyImages

You need your biggest players to step up on stages like this, and as we all know, Kylian Mbappe lives for the brightest spotlights.

With two goals to dump Barcelona out, Mbappe took his Champions League tally to 48, tying him with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in tenth on the competition's all-time scoring charts. Considering his career is likely not even half-way done, that's mental.

Barcelona will already be sick of the sight of the Frenchman, who is expected to take his talents to the other side of the Clasico rivalry with Real Madrid this summer.

Borussia Dortmund love an underdog story

Niclas Fullkrug
Dortmund excelled against the odds / BSR Agency/GettyImages

When the quarter-final draw was made, Borussia Dortmund's tie with Atletico Madrid clearly generated the least interest, but that may have actually played into the hands of one of the greatest underdogs of the last decade.

Domestic struggles have left Dortmund scrapping to even qualify for the Champions League next season, but when the pressure was on, Edin Terzic's side rose to the occasion and did away with a famously tricky Atletico outfit.

Now in a final four with PSG, Real Madrid and old foes Bayern, Dortmund are the obvious underdogs once again, and they wouldn't want it any other way.

Cracks begin to show at Barcelona

Xavi Hernandez
Barca's excellent run of form is over / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

Reports claimed winning the Champions League was one of the few ways Xavi could be convinced to stay on at Barcelona beyond this season, but a 4-1 defeat at the hands of PSG put that dream to bed.

An early red card undoubtedly harmed Barca, who were 3-2 up from the first leg and even 1-0 ahead on the night. but it was the turmoil after the game which really caught the eye.

Ilkay Gundogan's decision to once again come out swinging after a big loss, this time blaming Ronald Araujo for his dismissal, appears to have ruffled more than a few feathers at Barcelona, where life may not be as rosy as it perhaps seemed.

Arsenal are exhausted

Bukayo Saka
Arsenal look to be struggling / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Historically, April has been a horrible month for Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, and it's time for the Spaniard to figure out why.

One explanation for this is surely his over-reliance on key players in his squad. While he publicly preaches a desire to have quality rotation options all over the pitch, Arteta has proven he does not trust his current crop by running his favourite players into the ground once again. They looked exhausted against Bayern.

Let's not forget, Arsenal are one of the few Premier League sides who have largely avoided any real injury troubles this season. Many rival managers would kill for the chance to call on so many players week in, week out, and yet Arteta does not see it that way. There needs to be a change next season.

Antonio Rudiger is something special

Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger rose to the occasion / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Antonio Rudiger's exit from Chelsea left a sour taste in the mouths of many, but the German is absolutely loving life at the heart of Real Madrid's defence.

12 months after first subduing Erling Haaland, Rudiger forced the Norway international into two of the worst performances of his entire career this time around. Do you understand just how impressive that is? This is a striker who has been breaking records since he popped out the womb, and Rudiger makes dealing with him looking like a sunset stroll.

You never really hear Rudiger's name mentioned in the debate about the best centre-backs in the world. Maybe it's time to change that.