Ancelotti and Mbappe the winners, MSN and Real Madrid the losers in Champions League draw

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WINNER: Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti Bayern Munich 2017

Carlo Ancelotti is such a genial figure that revenge would
never be a motivation but there is no doubt he will be itching
to prove to Real Madrid they were wrong to dismiss him after
winning La Decima, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Super
Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. No recent Real coach had
the team playing with such effortless fluidity as the Italian
but coming up short in la Liga ultimately saw him sacked.

Barca draw
Juve; Real to meet Bayern

He is back, though, and ready to lead his Bayern Munich team in
the quarter-finals. Ancelotti’s record in the Champions League
is impeccable with five wins as player and manager in the
competition. Having seen off Arsenal with characteristic
Bavarian brutality, Ancelotti will no doubt be plotting to
exploit the weaknesses in the team that left him behind.

He will have great insight into Real’s vulnerabilities having
worked there and will be ready to capitalise on any tactical
mis-step by his one-time assistant Zinedine Zidane. This is the
tie Real Madrid wanted to avoid. 

WINNERS: Leicester City

Leicester Sevilla

Leicester City are the only English team left in the Champions
League and they have drawn the most English team of the rest.
Atletico Madrid would not look out of place in the Premier
League given Diego Simeone’s favouring of direct tactics,
set-piece organisation and defensive reliability.

Stylistically, this is a match-up that suits Leicester far more
than it does Atleti. In many ways, Simeone likes to play the
Leicester role in knockout ties, allowing more esteemed
opponents their time on the ball before striking at pace
through Antoine Griezmann up front.

Well, there is no doubt who will be the underdog in this one
and – being the weakest team in the draw – Atletico fans will
be expecting their team to attack the Foxes. Nobody
realistically expects Leicester to progress from here but then
again, they have made a habit of defying expectations to this
point. 

WINNER: Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe Monaco

Kylian Mbappe was somewhat of an unknown quantity outside
French football circles until his two goals in two matches
helped eliminate Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. The new
Thierry Henry now has a quarter-final stage on which to
demonstrate his credentials against – perhaps – the most
amenable opponents left in the draw.

‘Man Utd too
big for Mourinho’ – Keane

Monaco will not be up against clean sheet monsters Juventus or
Leicester, they will not be facing the suffocating power of
Bayern Munich or the overwhelming abilities of MSN. Instead
they will face a Dortmund team who are no less attractive than
themselves but very much susceptible to conceding goals.

The pace Mbappe possesses on the break means Dortmund will be
weary of getting caught too far forward as City did and the
scheming abilities of Bernardo Silva will also be key. Monaco
and Mbappe have enjoyed a breakout run to this point and the
indications are that it might yet continue to the semi-final
stage. 

LOSERS: MSN

Messi Suarez Neymar Barcelona Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have scored 18 of
Barcelona’s 26 goals in the competition so far and Luis
Enrique’s side are top scorers following their 6-1
demolition of Paris St-Germain. That was a game that owed less
to the fluency of MSN than it did to the self-destruction PSG
carried out upon themselves.

Barcelona’s real form is somewhere between the 4-0 trouncing
they got in Paris and the 6-1 they meted out at Camp Nou. They
are still searching for their true identity in the competition
and are facing – possibly – the best-organised side left in the
draw and one with an alarming potential for knocking them out.
Juventus have conceded only two goals in the Champions League
so far with Gianluigi Buffon rolling back the clock and
Leonardo Bonucci expertly leading the backline.

Barcelona’s capacity for out-scoring their opponents will be
severely diminished in this tie and Juventus’s attacking
threats – chief among them Paulo Dybala – will be ready to take
advantage. This is not the Barca who beat Juve in the 2015
final; it’s a worse version. Meanwhile, Juventus under Max
Allegri, look the real deal. 

LOSERS: Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane Napoli Real Madrid Champions League

Last season Real Madrid benefited from the most gentle draw to
befall any champion team in many a year. They overcame Roma,
Wolfsburg and Manchester City to get to the final where they
beat Atletico in Milan. However they appear to have cashed in
their good luck chips.

RUMOURS: City
target Keylor Navas

There have been times this season where Real’s vulnerabilities
have been exposed. Against Legia Warsaw in the group stages
they suffered a meltdown while Dortmund and Napoli have also
ran them close. They have been reliant on moments of brilliance
from the likes of Sergio Ramos to carry them through instead of
any over-arching plan from Zinedine Zidane.

Bayern Munich are not a team who give up chances lightly and
should be favourites to progress. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim
Benzema and Gareth Bale have not been at their best this season
in this competition and everyone at the White Club should be
wary of Bayern. 

Champions League quarter-final ties

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