The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals conclude this week with only Real Madrid able to breathe easily ahead of their return encounter. The Spanish giants swept aside Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the first leg and now stand firmly on the verge of the last four, with statistics suggesting they boast a 93.8 per cent chance of advancing.
Paris Saint-Germain also scored three goals at home as they saw off Chelsea 3-1 and they too will be confident of going through, with past European results pointing to a 75.8 per cent chance of progress. As for Manchester United and Barcelona, who posted 1-1 away draws with respective rivals Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, both will feel more optimistic of progressing than the 25.5 per cent success rate indicated by the history books.
Match of the day
Bayern Munich-Manchester United, Allianz Arena, Munich, 9 April, 20.45 (First leg: 1-1)
Manchester United made eight changes to their line-up on Saturday as they downed Newcastle United 4-0 to notch a fourth consecutive English Premier League away win without conceding. That contrasted with events in Germany, where Bayern lost for the first time in 54 German Bundesliga outings in a 1-0 defeat at Augsburg.
Of course, Josep Guardiola's side wrapped up the German title two weeks ago, but the European champions face a number of selection issues and will need to shuffle their midfield options for United's visit, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez both suspended and Thiago Alcantara missing through injury.
Bayern have qualified each of the 11 times they have opened a European tie with a 1-1 away draw, but they have also failed to win their last four home games against English clubs. That suggests this contest remains thrillingly open, especially as United have gone through on four of the six occasions they have kicked off with a 1-1 home draw in Europe.
Chelsea and PSG both warmed up for their Stamford Bridge showdown in similar fashion, recording comfortable 3-0 wins despite a raft of personnel changes. In the case of the Blues, that meant taking apart Stoke City to end a run of two consecutive defeats and extend their unbeaten home record under Jose Mourinho to 77 matches.
As for PSG, who will be without injured talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they rested eight players but still made light work of Reims. The French hopefuls have now scored in their last 24 Ligue 1 assignments and, more significantly, they have also found the net in their last 17 Champions League fixtures. That could prove telling against a Chelsea side obliged to take risks to wipe out their two-goal deficit – a feat the Londoners have only achieved once before, winning 4-1 after extra time against Napoli following a 3-1 away loss in the 2011/12 round of 16.
Tuesday 8 April
Borussia Dortmund-Real Madrid (First leg: 0-3)
Set to cross paths for the sixth time in less than 18 months, these two teams know each other inside out by now. The tables have turned since their semi-final joust last term, however, and Madrid have no intention of letting complacency jeopardise their progress. Indeed, eight times Los Merengues have won a first leg 3-0 in Europe and eight times they have sailed through into the next round.
Wednesday 9 April
Atletico Madrid-Barcelona (First leg: 1-1)
Despite a markedly thinner squad than their rivals, Atletico remain on top of the pile in the Spanish La Liga following Saturday's slender 1-0 success against Villarreal. It was a vital win, but what stood out more than the result was the sight of Diego Simeone in animated mood on the touchline, the Rojiblancos coach repeatedly trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy and coax a little more energy from his exhausted players.
The former Argentinian international has become more crucial than ever to the capital outfit, who will take on a Barcelona team far from their fluent best in their 3-1 weekend win against bottom club Real Betis, a match decided by a pair of Lionel Messi penalties plus a Jordi Figueras own goal. Barça will also be missing both their regular centre-backs and goalkeeper Victor Valdes through injury, and although Atletico have not won in the last ten meetings between the sides, their supporters sense that their time has come.
Player to watch
Another gem from Barcelona's La Masia production line, Marc Bartra grew up idolising two Blaugrana stalwarts in particular: Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique. With both injured, the 23-year-old will be tasked with bringing stability to the heart of the club's under-strength rearguard.
Equally at ease in both central-defensive roles and a capable right-back, Bartra likes to get forward and poses an attacking threat at the other end thanks to his aerial strength. The young stopper is set for a real baptism of fire amid the febrile atmosphere of the Vicente Calderon but, having patiently awaited his chance, he is now desperate to seize it.
9 – The number of times Chelsea have reached the Champions League quarter-finals, with their sole defeats at this stage of the competition coming in 2000 and 2011.
What they said
"Can we win our tenth European Cup? We think about it every day and even more so ahead of a match like this. We're dreaming of playing in the final, but there are still three games to go," Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid coach.
Have your say
How many European champions past and present will grace the semi-finals?