Champions League matchups as PSG head to Madrid with edge

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English clubs Liverpool and Manchester City are in commanding positions. Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich still have work to do.

The top four spots for the Champions League quarter-finals are up for grabs this week, with most of the competition’s title favorites in action.

A look at the round of 16 second legs:

TUESDAY:

BAYERN MUNICH VS SALZBURG (1-1)

Thomas Muller’s first own goal of his long Bayern Munich career has disrupted what should have been a relatively straightforward preparation for the visit of Austrian champions Salzburg on Tuesday.

Muller scored on the wrong goal as Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 in his 407th Bundesliga appearance on Saturday, when communication between the German league leaders was clearly a problem.

Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, who replaces the injured Manuel Neuer, said he told Muller he had Kerem Demirbay’s harmless-looking cross covered, but Muller was already well on his way to converting it.

Dayot Upamecano also had an error-plagued performance in defence, where any errors on Tuesday are likely to be punished by Salzburg’s German striker Karim Adeyemi, a reported target for Borussia Dortmund next season.

Salzburg, who held Bayern to a 1-1 draw in their opening match, set up for the comeback in Munich with a comfortable 4-0 win at SCR Altach. Bayern struggled with the pace of the Austrian team in the first leg before Kingsley Coman salvaged an equalizer for the Bavarians in the last minute.

LIVERPOOL VS. INTER MILAN (2-0)

There is increasing talk of a possible quadruple of titles for Liverpool, who have already won the League Cup, are in the FA Cup quarter-finals and have moved closer to Manchester City in the race for the Premier title. League.

The Reds’ Champions League run should extend into next month after late goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah at the San Siro gave Liverpool a useful lead in bringing back Anfield, where Liverpool are notoriously Hard to beat, especially on big European nights.

Liverpool are unbeaten in all competitions in 2022 and have perhaps their strongest team in Jurgen Klopp’s reign, with the German manager having plenty of options in attack.

Klopp’s big decision could be who would start with Diogo Jota and new signing Luis Diaz alongside Sadio Mane and Salah. Inter’s loss to Liverpool started a run of four consecutive games without a goal for the Nerazzurri.

They went more than 400 minutes without scoring before ending their goal drought in spectacular fashion on Friday with a 5-0 win over last-place Salernitana. Lautaro Martínez scored a hat-trick in that match but has not scored in the Champions League since 2020.

WEDNESDAY:

CITY OF MANCHESTER VS. SPORTS (5-0)

With a huge lead from the first leg, City have the luxury of being able to rotate their players amid a busy run of fixtures in three competitions as the season reaches business end.

However, defense is the area where Pep Guardiola has few options, with right-back Kyle Walker serving the second match of his three-game suspension, Ruben Dias out for up to six weeks with a hamstring problem and his center mate Nathan Ake also nursing an injury.

It’s up front where Guardiola can make changes, with the match three days after the Manchester derby in the Premier League with City beating United 4-1 and the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish looking for playing time after returning from a injury.

City will reach the quarter-finals for the fifth successive season unless Sporting produce something sensational, which is more likely to come into the match in damage limitation mode after their thrashing three weeks earlier in Portugal.

Since then, Sporting lost at home to rival Porto in the first leg of the Portuguese Cup semi-finals.

REAL MADRID VS. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (0-1)

Real Madrid go into the second leg against PSG with manager Carlo Ancelotti having to find a way to set up his midfield. Casemiro is suspended and Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde are listed as doubtful due to health problems.

Valverde is most likely to be available after missing Saturday’s Spanish league game against Real Sociedad due to flu symptoms, but Kroos is expected to be out with a muscle injury.

Casemiro was key in Madrid’s 4-1 victory over Sociedad, when he played alongside young Frenchman Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric. Left-back Ferland Mendy is also out through suspension.

PSG prepared for the trip to Spain by losing for the third time in 27 French league games this season to second-place Nice.

Coach Mauricio Pochettino hopes to have right-back Achraf Hakimi (thigh), Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes (groin) and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera (eye infection) to face Madrid. A makeshift backline looked vulnerable against Nice.

Pochettino clearly had the European game in mind when he rested defenders Presnel Kimpembe and Nuno Mendes. Kylian Mbappe did not play due to suspension, so he will be fresh to get his electric pace back to face Madrid and link up with Lionel Messi.

Reaching the final like in 2020 is where PSG wants to be in May and win the Champions League, for the Qatari title, for the first time.

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