In the draw at UEFA’s Headquarters in Nyon, Real Madrid could face any one of the other seven quarter-finalists as at this stage two clubs from the same association could meet or repeat from of a group stage tie.
Last year, Real beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in the quarter-final on the way to lifting the trophy for a record tenth time. After a comfortable 3-0 lead from the first leg at home, Los Blancos made things difficult for them by the 40th minute of the return leg in Dortmund. But thanks to some luck and some woeful finishing by Dortmund, the club moved forward.
Up until the group stages and first leg of the round of 16 against Schalke, Real were in cruise control. But it all turned around in the second leg with the Germans winning 4-3 but going out 4-5 on aggregate. A miserable performance from the Spanish outfit which deservedly brought out the full disapproval of the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But now with a new mindset, Real will hopefully turn things around and work towards defending their crown – something that hasn’t been done in UEFA Champions League history.
A brief look at the opponents:
Head-to-head: v Atlético W3 D0 L1 F8 A4
Real’s most recent win against Atletico Madrid came in the memorable final in Lisbon last season. However, since then the cross town rivals have had the upper hand. Atleti have won four and drawn two in Supercopa, league and Copa del Rey clashes with most recent being a humbling 4-0 loss at the Vicente Calderon. However, as is known by now, Real Madrid have a special knack of clicking when it comes to Champions Legaue games.
Atletico Madrid are here on the back of a nervy penalty shootout victory over another German team Bayer Leverkusen. With scoreline 1-1 reading after 180 minutes, and the necessary 30 minutes of extra time, the two went to penalties. In the end, Stefan Kießling missed his final penalty to send the Colchoneros through.
Head-to-head: v Bayern Munich W9 D2 L11 F31 A33
Bayern are arguably Real’s biggest challengers in the history of the European competition. The Germans have almost always have had the dominance over Real and been difficult to breach at home. But that defence was broken last season in the semi-final with a thumping 5-0 aggregate win. After a modest 1-0 win at the Bernabeu, Real broke Bayern down completely thanks to Sergio Ramos’ and Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace and chances for more.
Bayern’s dominance in this season’s competition can be ascertained by their 7-1 win over AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico and 7-0 in their latest tie against Shakhtar Donetsk. The Bavarians have had only one loss so far in the tournament (2-3 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium).
Head-to-head: v Barcelona W3 D3 L2 F13 A10
Real Madrid and Barcelona have a long history of fierce competitiveness and Champions League is not rid of that despite playing each other only eight times. The last time the two met was in the 2010/11 season in the semi-finals with the Catalans winning 3-1 on aggregate and going on to lift the title at Wembley. The first leg (0-2) all but handed the tie to Barcelona after Pepe was sent off for a debatable challenge on Dani Alves. In the return leg though, Real salvaged some pride finishing 1-1 on the night.
Barcelona are through to this stage of the competition after beating Manchester City 3-1 on aggregate (2-1 away and 1-0 at home) and Lionel Messi producing sublime skills in both legs. The margin could have been greater but for Joe Hart’s heroics in the City goal. Although, Sergio Aguero missed a penalty in the reverse leg that may have had some psychological effect to the game but on the whole Barcelona were the better side and deserve to be at this stage.
Head-to-head: v Juventus W8 D1 L7 F16 A18
Real Madrid last squared off against Juventus in the group stages of the 2013/14 season with Real winning 2-1 at home and then drawing 2-2 in Turin. However, the most memorable game between the two European powerhouses – at least for Madrid fans – has to be the 1997/98 final when Madrid won 1-0 in Amsterdam courtesy Predrag Mijatovic.
Juventus progressed to the quarter-finals after comfortably beating a struggling Borussia Dortmund 5-1 on aggregate. A familiar Madrid face in Alvaro Morata scored a goal in both legs of the tie.
Head-to-head: v Monaco W1 D0 L1 F5 A5
Real have played the team from France only twice – in an overall losing affair. The club from the French Municipality went forward at this stage of the competition in 2003/04 after the tie ended 5-5 on aggregate and Monaco winning on away goals. Real had won the first leg 4-2 at home but lost the away leg 1-3. That year, Monaco went all the way to the final but lost to Porto in the end.
A new Monaco on the back of big money but constrained by Financial Fair Play, sent Arsenal out of the competition in the round of 16 winning courtesy the away goals rule after the two were locked 3-3 on aggregate. The French side had the tie in the bag after demoralising Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium and needing three goals to progress but in the end, that wasn’t to be.
Head-to-head: v PSG W1 D1 L2 F5 A7
The two richie-rich of European football have never faced other in the revamped format of the European competition. In fact, their only meetings have been in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) and Cup Winners Cup. The last meeting was in the CWC in 1993/94 where PSG prevailed 2-1 on aggregate. Real lost 1-0 at home but drew 1-1 in Paris where Emilio Butragueño was the scorer.
Helped by the money from the Middle East, PSG have strong players in their squad and that was on display when they turned the tie around against Chelsea after drawing 1-1 in Paris. The second leg in London finished 2-2 after extra time with David Luiz and Thiago Silva’s vital headers making all the difference in the end. As things stand, Zlatan Ibrahimovich will miss the first leg for a red card and Serge Aurier the whole tie for comments about the referee.
Head-to-head: v Porto W9 D1 L2 F23 A10
Real Madrid have a healthy advantage over the Portuguese side in the European competition. Their last matchup was in the group stages of the 2003/04 season when Real drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away.
The 2003/04 Champions League winners beat Basel 5-1 on aggregate. After drawing 1-1 in Switzerland, the Dragons comfortably progressed 4-0 at home. Real Madrid loanee Casemiro scored an absolutely stunning free kick on the way.