United and Bayern top last-eight bill
© AFP

This week’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg matches feature six former winners, with two of them, Manchester United and reigning champions Bayern Munich, resuming their classic rivalry at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Barcelona host Atletico Madrid in an all-Spanish clash, Real Madrid embark on a revenge mission against Borussia Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain meet Chelsea for the first time in the competition.

That impressive line-up features the top three in Spain's La Liga, the top two in the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue 1 leaders and the second-placed side in the English Premier League. The odd men out are Manchester United, who lie in an unfamiliar seventh place in england.
   
Match of the day
Manchester United-Bayern Munich, Old Trafford, Manchester, 1 April, 20:45 CET
There is much at stake for the English giants in this the tenth meeting between the two sides in European competitions. Bayern have a slight edge in the head-to-head, with three wins, two defeats and four draws. David Moyes’ side, who have been struggling in the league and lie ten points adrift of the final Champions League place, will have to make do without the injured Robin van Persie and the suspended Patrice Evra. Happily for them, Wayne Rooney, who is close to becoming the first English player to score 30 goals in the competition, is in sparkling form, finding the back of the net with regularity and providing assists aplenty for his team-mates.

The Europeans champions, meanwhile, have already sealed their 24th German title, though their 19-game winning run came to an end in a 3-3 home draw with Hoffenheim at the weekend, a game in which their Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara also picked up an injury that will keep him out of the tie. That high-scoring draw was also the first time that Bayern have conceded three goals since 18 May 2013.

Worryingly for United, however, the Germans have won their last seven away games in Europe and have scored in each of their last 13 Champions League matches. The two sides have met twice before this stage of the competition, with Bayern advancing on both occasions, though United will always have fond memories of their stunning, last-gasp 2-1 defeat of the Bavarians in the 1999 final.

Other matches
Barcelona-Atletico Madrid, Camp Nou, Barcelona, 1 April, 20:45 CET
These Spanish rivals have already played out three draws in as many games this season and know pretty much all there is to know about each other. Barça, who trail Los Colchoneros by a single point in La Liga, have won 93 of their previous 215 meetings, with Atleti recording 74 wins and the remaining 48 games ending in draws.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone, who appeared in their last quarter-final in the competition in 1997, has crafted a highly committed side dedicated to providing front man Diego Costa with quality service. Tuesday’s match will be Barcelona’s 500th in Europe, their record to date reading 275 wins, 116 draws and 108 defeats. Shorn of the services of goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who will miss the rest of the season through injury, Barça coach Gerardo Martino will continue with his quest to get the best out of Brazilian star Neymar. 

Paris Saint-Germain-Chelsea, Parc de Princes, Paris, 2 April, 20:45 CET
Knocked out on away goals by Barcelona after holding them to two draws at this stage last season, runaway Ligue 1 leaders PSG are ready to put their European credentials to the test again. Unbeaten at home in nine games, the Parisians boast a solid rearguard, the cornerstone of which is the impressive Thiago Silva.

They also pack quite a punch in midfield and attack, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic having so far struck ten Champions League goals in the most productive season of his career. The Londoners have plenty on their minds after going down 1-0 at Crystal Palace on Saturday, a setback that cost them the league leadership.

Real Madrid-Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, 2 April, 20:45 CET
Borussia crushed the Spaniards 4-1 in the first leg of last year’s semi-final, with Robert Lewandowski scoring all four. The Germans have failed to recapture that kind of form this season, however, and will be without their talismanic Polish striker, who is suspended for this match.

For their part, Real are still recovering from their 4-3 home defeat to Barcelona in the league, though they can at least take comfort from the fact they are continuing to score goals in large quantities and are unbeaten in their last 16 home matches in the competition. 

Player to watch
A prized transfer target for many clubs across Europe, Marco Reus will be aiming to raise his stock even higher in Dortmund’s high-profile tie with Real Madrid. Reus has continued to impress this season despite the departure of one-time side-kick Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich. In scoring all three of his side’s goals in their 3-2 comeback win over Stuttgart at the weekend, Reus took his haul for the season to 12, having also served up eight assists.

The stat  
4 and 8 - the respective number of goals that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo need to pull level with Raul as the leading scorer in the UEFA Champions League with 71 goals. The Portuguese, who has struck 13 times in the competition this season, is aiming to beat the single-season record of 14, currently held by Messi.

What they said
“If I said we were the favourites, people would say I was crazy. If I said Barça were the favourites, people would say I was playing the victim. Whatever the case may be, we’ll be giving our all at Camp Nou,” Atletico Madrid midfielder Gabi.

Have your say
Can Manchester United halt the Bayern Munich juggernaut?