Decisive week in UCL ahead of Friday's semi-final draw
Cardiff 2017
17 April 2017

Decisive week in UCL ahead of Friday's semi-final draw

The final four teams will be decided this week as the UEFA Champions League continues with the 2nd legs of the four quarter-final ties. Juventus, Monaco, Atletico Madrid and holders Real Madrid all have the early advantage, but the competition has already show this season that anything is possible.

Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid in the 1st leg against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last week made history of the Portuguese talisman as he became the first player ever to score 100 European goals.

His goals also mean that Zinedine Zidane's side have the advantage of two away goals following their 2-1 victory over the German champions, but they will not be taking anything for granted against a side managed by Carlo Ancelotti, the most successful manager in Champions League history.

Gareth Bale is a doubt for the match having been replaced early in the second half over the 1st leg, and may be rested with the holders taking on Barcelona in El Clasico the following Sunday. However, Real Madrid are a club defined by their success in the competition, and Zidane knows that success in the competition is how is tenure will be judged.  

English champions Leicester city have struggled against adversity all season, but have defied the odds to remain in the Champions League at this late stage of the competition. However, a penalty from Antoine Griezmann last week means that Atletico Madrid have the edge ahead of the return match at the King Power Stadium, and Diego Simeone's side will provide a tough test.

The challenge is even tougher for Leicester City as they will be without suspended central defender Robert Huth, while Wes Morgan continues to struggle through injury. However, goals are what Leicester City need, and having failed to score at the Vicente Calderon last week striker Jamie Vardy will be desperate to make an impression on the Champions League on Tuesday night or face the prospect of elimination.

Paulo Dybala scored an impressive brace for Juventus against Barcelona last week and a third from Giorgio Chiellini brought great delight to manager Max Allegri, but the Italian champions will be more than aware of Barcelona's credentials of causing an upset having reversed a 4-0 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain in the last round to progress.

However, Juventus are a far more defensively disciplined side than the French outfit, but still will have to be at their best against the formidable forward line at Luis Enrique's disposal.

The home crowd at the Nou Camp will also have a huge part to play in proceedings, and you can never say never when it comes to predicting how Barcelona will perform on the night. However, Juventus have their own wealth of talent available, and an away goal could be enough to put the tie out of Barcelona's reach.

The quarter-final action comes to a close in Monaco on Wednesday night as Borussia Dortmund look to reverse a 3-2 defeat from the 1st leg.

It has been a difficult week for the German side, but their focus must now return to the task in hand, and the attacking qualities of Monaco dictate that Leonardo Jardim's side are unlikely to sit back and defend their slender lead.

Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe has been in superb form as he marks his arrival on the world stage in style, and his two goals last week have handed Monaco the advantage. However, a late consolation goal from Shinji Kagawa for Thomas Tuchel's side has given them hope for the return match, and they will be confident of scoring against the French side to make sure the tie at least remains in the balance. 

The UEFA Champions League final takes place in Cardiff on 3rd June #Cardiff2017