Today’s Champions League Quarter-Finals Fixtures & Previews

Chelsea, Real Madrid renew hostilities at Stamford Bridge

Facing the unenviable task of trying to record a three-goal win over the reigning European champions, Chelsea host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night.

The teams renew hostilities at Stamford Bridge with Los Blancos boasting a 2-0 advantage from their Bernabeu showdown, and Frank Lampard‘s homecoming has done little to end the Blues’ blues.

There is no shame in losing to the European champions in their own backyard, and Lampard could have taken a few positives from his side’s valiant efforts in the Spanish capital, where strikes from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio led to a predictable victory for those in white.

The under-performing Blues were played off the park by Brighton in Saturday’s Premier League clash. A 2-1 scoreline saw Todd Boehly cut a dejected figure as he was given an earful from the Stamford Bridge faithful, as Lampard’s dream return turns into a nightmare.

A return to winning ways in the top flight allowed Real Madrid to cut the gap to Barcelona down to 10 points, and Ancelotti’s men would be forgiven for prioritising continental glory as the season approaches its home straight.

From their 19 Champions League knockout ties in which they have won the first leg by at least two clear goals, Real Madrid have progressed from 18 of them.

A sixth successive Champions League knockout win would also see Real Madrid set a new continental record, which have been bread and butter for the 14-time European champions.

It is not impossible to envisage Lampard’s side making the net ripple as they adopt a gung-ho approach, but a near full-strength Real Madrid with plenty of well-rested key players should march on to the final four and end the Blues’ hopes of finishing a troubled campaign on a continental high.

NapoliAC Milan battle it out for Champs League semi-finals

Following a close-fought tussle last week, first-time quarter-finalists Napoli and seven-time winners  reconvene on Tuesday, as they battle it out for a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

Napoli host AC Milan

When the two Italian giants met at Stadio Maradona in the league this month, Milan emerged 4-0 winners, and they now take a one-goal lead with them down to Naples. The Rossoneri have also taken maximum points from each of their last three league visits to Naples, so will not be intimidated by the warm southern welcome that awaits them on Tuesday.

Napoli may be set to relieve Serie A’s reigning champions of their Scudetto, leading Italy’s top flight by some 14 points with just eight games left to play, but Napoli have failed to get the better of Milan in recent weeks and have a deficit to overturn if they are to reach the Champions League’s final four.

Having suffered a shock four-goal league loss to Milan at the beginning of April, the fabled Stadio Maradona no longer seems such an impenetrable fortress, as not only have Napoli also lost to Lazio there recently, at the weekend they failed to break down a dogged Hellas Verona side battling against relegation.

Despite an almost inevitable decline after such an accumulation of both goals and wins, Spalletti and co are still on course to clinch a first domestic title since 1990, but reaching the Champions League semi-finals would break new ground for one of Calcio’s most famed clubs.

While Napoli play the more thrilling football, Milan’s pragmatism has served them well in this season’s competition and could now carry them into the semi-finals.

With Osimhen back in the fold and thousands of success-starved Neapolitans roaring on their hosts, it will not be easy, but the Rossoneri have been building towards a return to Europe’s top table for several years, and they can rise to the occasion.


Bayern ‘fined Mane more than £260,000’ for punching team-mate Sane

Bayern Munich handed Sadio Mane a huge fine and are now keen to sell him this summer after he punched team-mate Leroy Sane during a furious confrontation last week, according to reports.

Things became heated between the pair after the German side’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Tuesday, and Mane lashed out at Sane in the dressing room, forcing other members of the squad to step in.

An on-pitch argument between Mane (left) and Sane (right) escalated in the dressing room

Sane was left with a bruised lip following the incident, while Mane was dropped from the squad for Bayern’s Bundesliga match with Hoffenheim on Saturday and docked some of his £17m-a-year wages.

The size of the punishment has now been revealed, with Bayern handing out the highest fine in their history.

‘According to our information, it is an amount that goes far beyond €300,000 (£260,000), so it’s a very, very sensitive fine for Mane,’ Bayern expert Florian Plettenberg told Sky Germany.

Mane missed Bayern’s 1-1 draw at home to Hoffenheim, and Thomas Tuchel has now won just two of his first five matches since replacing Julian Nagelsmann last month.

The former Chelsea boss has confirmed Mane will be back in contention for Bayern’s return match with City on Wednesday as they look to pull off a dramatic comeback to progress to the semi-finals.



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