8 key battles that could decide the Champions League quarter-finals

  • Champions League quarter-finals will take place in April
  • Defending champions Man City face record winners Real Madrid
  • Arsenal will take on Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich
Some huge battles will take place in the Champions League quarter-finals
Some huge battles will take place in the Champions League quarter-finals /

Some have accused the Champions League of having underwhelmed this season, but there is no chance of that being the case in this year's quarter-finals.

There are some tantalising match-ups between the remaining eight sides in the competition, including a clash between the last two champions of Europe when Real Madrid face Manchester City.

As should be the case in the latter stages of Europe's premier competition, some of the world's most talented individuals will be on display across both legs of the four quarter-finals, with managers likely devising tactical plans to deal with opposition superstars at this very moment.

Here are eight key battles that could be decisive in this season's quarter-finals.

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich

William Saliba vs Harry Kane

SV Darmstadt 98 v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Bayern will be sweating on Kane's fitness / Sebastian El-Saqqa - firo sportphoto/GettyImages

Harry Kane will renew his rivalry with Arsenal in the Champions League quarter-finals and the former Tottenham striker will be looking to continue his impressive goalscoring record against the Gunners. The England skipper has only netted more goals against Leicester City and Everton than his old north London foes, with Kane in record-breaking form in Munich.

William Saliba and Gabriel will be tasked with denying the 30-year-old the chance to punish Arsenal once again, with the former the ideal centre-back to combat Kane across both legs. The Frenchman has been in impressive form again this season and while he undoubtedly has the pace and physicality to match the Bayern forward, his positional intelligence and defensive reading of the game will be put to the test.

Martin Odegaard vs Jamal Musiala

Martin Ødegaard
Odegaard has been incredible this season / MB Media/GettyImages

While Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard and Bayern playmaker Jamal Musiala are unlikely to go face-to-face too regularly in the quarter-finals, the duo are the chief creators for their respective sides.

The Gunners' Norwegian has been key for Mikel Arteta's men in recent months and has shone in Europe, with his excellent vision and wonderful left foot unlocking plenty of defences already this term.

Bayern's backline and holding midfielders will need to apply constant pressure to the Arsenal captain, while Declan Rice will likely be tasked with keeping Jamal Musiala quiet. The young German's dazzling dribbling skills make him the key to carving Arsenal open, with the starlet pretty much immune to Bayern's inconsistent form this season.

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Vinicius Junior vs Kyle Walker

Rodri, Kyle Walker, Vinicius Junior
The two players clashed in last season's Champions League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

A battle that captured the imagination during the semi-finals of last season's Champions League, two unbelievable athletes will go toe-to-toe in this year's quarter-final between Real Madrid and Man City.

Kyle Walker's speed and power made him a strong match for Vinicius Junior during both meetings last year, but the Brazilian is flying for the La Liga leaders this term.

The electric winger has often been used centrally this season and could feature as one of the front two in Carlo Ancelotti's 4-3-1-2 system, but he will have licence to drift into wide areas and use his pace and trickery to torment the Man City backline. Keeping Vinicius Junior quiet could be key for Pep Guardiola.

Antonio Rudiger vs Erling Haaland

Erling Braut Håland
Haaland will be tough for even Rudiger to stop / Visionhaus/GettyImages

While the likes of Jude Bellingham and Kevin De Bruyne will need to be monitored closely, Real Madrid simply must stop Erling Haaland in the final third. The Norwegian could prove to be the difference-maker, especially given Ancelotti doesn't have a deadly traditional number nine of his own to unleash on the European champions.

However, if there was one player you would choose to embrace the battle with the Man City forward, it may very well be Antonio Rudiger. The German relishes physical duels and will have no problem sticking tight to Haaland, especially given he also boasts fantastic speed and athleticism.

Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund

Samuel Lino vs Donyell Malen

UEFA Champions League 2023/24Borussia Dortmund v PSV Eindhoven
Malen has been explosive for Dortmund this season / ANP/GettyImages

In the most low-key quarter-final - on paper at least - Atletico Madrid will face Borussia Dortmund. Diego Simeone will likely have a plan to nullify every attacking threat the Germans possess and that must include Donyell Malen given his impressive displays this season.

The Dutchman has the tendency to blow hot and cold but his relentless energy and ability to drift into dangerous areas from the right flank make him a player Atletico must keep a close eye on. Wing-back Samuel Lino, who is traditionally a winger, may have the task of keeping him quiet, although he will likely need help from his centre-backs.

Antoine Griezmann vs Mats Hummels

Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann will be integral to Atletico's plans / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Atletico will be desperate to see Antoine Griezmann return from an ankle injury that recently kept him out of the France squad, with his streak of 84 consecutive appearances for his country coming to an end. The 33-year-old has set an exceptional standard this season, producing 19 goals and seven assists in a partnership with Alvaro Morata up top.

The former Barcelona man will be key to Atletico's link-up play in the final third, with his intelligence and ability to find space in enemy territory making him difficult to deal with. Mats Hummels will have to use his wealth of experience to deal with the forward and the Dortmund centre-back could thrive in a battle that will largely be played in front of him.

Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona

Kylian Mbappe vs Jules Kounde

Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe and Kounde are France teammates / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Kylian Mbappe is likely lock horns with Barcelona in Clasico match-ups in the coming years, with the Catalan club facing the French dynamo for only the third time in this year's last eight. He remains the catalyst for PSG despite Luis Enrique steering away from the superstar setup in Paris, netting a staggering 38 goals in just 37 games this season.

Taking residence on the left wing, Mbappe will battle international teammate Jules Kounde, with the Barcelona defender having been utilised at right-back this year. He hasn't always convinced in a slightly unorthodox role, but his intimate knowledge of the PSG forward should serve as an advantage to the reigning La Liga champions.

Nuno Mendes vs Lamine Yamal

Lamine Yamal
Yamal continues to astound at Barca / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Barcelona have their own tantalising winger, albeit Lamine Yamal has some way to go to match Mbappe's levels. The 16-year-old has burst onto the scene in Catalonia this season and continues to defy logic with his sensational performances - all while not being able to legally drive himself to and from training.

It will either be Nuno Mendes or Lucas Hernandez chosen to stifle the inventive teenager, but the former may get the nod as he possesses greater pace. The Portuguese is a fantastic attacking threat and could give Kounde another headache on the left flank, but he will have to be alert to the brilliance of young Yamal.