Champions League predictions: All to play for in return legs for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid

As the Champions League hits crunch time in the quarter-finals, here is how we think the first legs of ties for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will turn out.

Real Madrid v Manchester City

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – 21:00 CEST – 09/04/24

Feargal Brennan: Pep and Carletto meet again in the Champions League and the margins should be thin over two legs. There is little between them in terms of domestic form with Real Madrid closing in on the La Liga title and Manchester City ready to fight until the final day in the Premier League. Kyle Walker’s absence can’t be understand as he genuinely looks like the only full back who relishes a clash with Vinicius Jr. Pep will go for a more system based approach to cope this time but the Jude Bellingham factor gives Real Madrid something different.

Score: Real Madrid 1 -1 Manchester City

John Menzies: This should be a corker of a tie. Real Madrid will be looking for revenge from last year, and with Jude Bellingham now in their side, they are stronger than then. I fancy a slender victory for Los Blancos, although Man City have looked stronger in the last 7 days than recent weeks and months.

Score: Real Madrid 2-1 Man City

Ruairidh Barlow: Pep Guardiola asked his side to hurt Real Madrid in the pre-match presser, and Carlo Ancelotti told his team to play with personality and courage, but the former has no interest in this tie being decided at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night. Real Madrid’s defence is stronger in the statistics than it is in reality, but the absence of Kyle Walker will cost the visitors. All level going back to the Etihad, in a fun clash.

Score: Real Madrid 2-2 Manchester City


Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona

Parc des Princes – 21:00 CEST – 10/04/24

FB: Luis Enrique and Barcelona renew acquaintances in what could be a basketball game over two legs. PSG’s strong suit is still via the Kylian Mbappe-led attack, and if Barcelona can withstand that, they have more quality elsewhere. Returning for the second leg with something to play is key for Xavi Hernandez but PSG are usually unmovable in Paris.

Score: PSG 2-1 Barcelona

JM: Barcelona are more than capable of securing a positive result in Paris, which would set them up well to reach the semi-finals. Having Frenkie de Jong, Andreas Christensen and Pedri back is big – and I’d expect the former two to start. I think it will be a draw, with Barcelona’s defence producing a big performance.

Score: PSG 1-1 Barcelona

RB: Tough clash to call with both sides bringing high degrees of unpredictability to the French capital. While Barcelona are greatly improved by an in-form Raphinha, Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, Luis Enrique has more resources and the best player on the pitch. His sides always give the opposition a chance, and Xavi is usually good at motivating his side for the big games, but Lucho has to be regarded as the better coach here. Expecting a number of missed chances from both sides.

Score: PSG 2-1 Barcelona


Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund

Estadio Civitas Metropolitano – 21:00 CEST – 10/04/24

FB: Diego Simeone played everyone (myself included) ahead of knocking out Inter Milan last month. Despite their tight top four battle, there seems to be something cooking for Diego in the Champions League, on the back of that Inter win. Atletico will be happy to battle and rely on Antoine Griezmann’s craft to see them through. They are my firm shout for a final appearance.

Score: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

JM: If Atletico are to reach the final four, they need to secure an advantage going into next week’s second leg. Their home form has, for the most part, been imperious, and I can see them deafening Dortmund, with Antoine Griezmann being the star, as per usual.

Score: Atletico Madrid 3-1 Borussia Dortmund

RB: Atletico know they need a result at the Metropolitano to go to Germany feeling confident, given their away record. The absence of Mario Hermoso is significant, and Memphis Depay’s injury robs Diego Simeone of an alternative to the exhausted Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata. Still Atletico should be able to take advantage of a questionable Dortmund defence. Jadon Sancho to have a big game, but Antoine Griezmann to have a bigger one.

Score: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Tags Atletico Madrid Barcelona Borussia Dortmund Champions League Manchester City Paris Saint-Germain Real Madrid
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