Champions League picks, predictions, odds: Experts like Manchester City, pick Real Madrid to roll past Chelsea

Eight teams remain in the UEFA Champions League as the quarterfinals kick off on Tuesday on Paramount+ and wrap up in the middle of next week. Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich highlights Tuesday’s slate while Benfica will face Inter the same day. Real Madrid and Chelsea meet on Wednesday, while it’s an all-Italy tie on the same day as Napoli take on AC Milan. 

Italy have had a resurgence on the continental stage and lead the way with three of the eight quarterfinal teams while England are second with two teams.

Here’s everything you need to know about the games, our expert picks and more:

Tuesday’s broadcast schedule

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

Match picks

Benfica vs. Inter

Featured Game | Benfica vs. Inter

One matchup to watch: Romelu Lukaku vs. Nicolas Otamendi. Inter’s attack will be what decides this match as Benfica’s free flowing approach and midfield that can overwhelm teams will score goals if Inter starts the game by bunkering. But, Benfica’s defense led by Otamendi aren’t pushovers either but if Lukaku is on his game, he can make a difference. Finding his form for Inter, Lukaku has been involved in three goals in his last five appearances dispute the club struggling to score. They’ll need more goals from him if they’re to advance to the next round.

Most likely to score a goal: Goncalo Ramos. Benfica are going to get their goals and if they don’t come from the penalty spot where Joao Mario is king, they’re most likely to come from Ramos’ foot or head. The Portuguese striker has enjoyed a prolific run leading the line and it will continue as he bags a brace against Inter to lead to a comfortable second leg in this tie. 

Man of the Match pick: Ramos. Considering that I’ve already called for Ramos to grab a brace, he’s a comfortable pick for man of the match honors as well. Even if he doesn’t end up scoring, Ramos will be more than involved enough in the attack to make his presence felt as he’s able to pass and setup his teammates too. Ramos has three goals and three assists in Champions League this season and he’ll add to that tally here. 

Match prediction: On paper, it’s a tie that should be balanced but Inter are now on a winless run that has reached six matches. While Inter are talented enough to get out of their funk at anytime, it won’t happen against a strong Benfica side. Benfica 2, Inter 0 Charles Booth

Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich

Featured Game | Manchester City vs. Bayern Munchen

One matchup to watch: Erling Haaland vs. Dayot Upamecano. The Norwegian goal machine against the accomplished French defender will be fascinating in this opening leg. The chances are that City score at least once, but the key for Bayern might lie in limiting how many sights at goal Haaland gets. Upamecano will be vital in that and can also contribute at the other end when needed.

Most likely to score a goal: Haaland. No surprises here. The Scandinavian superstar always seems to deliver when City need it the most and this titanic tussle should be no exception. Haaland and Bayern know each other well from his time in the Bundesliga so the 22-year-old will have to be at his very best when the chances come his way.

Man of the Match pick: Yann Sommer. Although a clean sheet is unlikely, the Switzerland international proved his value with some crucial saves against PSG in the round of 16. Expect the 34-year-old to be kept busy here so his interventions could be the difference between Bayern being able to take the tie back to Allianz Arena with a good shot of making the semifinals.

Match prediction: City 1-1 Bayern. Both teams to score, but neither to come out on top seems a fair pick. The hosts will likely create more going forward, but Tuchel has a knack for pulling big performances and results out the bag. The German and Pep Guardiola know each other well with all the pressure on the ex-Bayern boss now. – Jonathan Johnson

AC Milan vs. Napoli

Featured Game | AC Milan vs. Napoli

One matchup to watch: Rafael Leao vs. Giovanni Di Lorenzo – The last Serie A match between AC Milan and Napoli saw Rafael Leao dominate the Azzurri’s defense and captain Di Lorenzo. In fact, the Portuguese striker scored a brace and was nominated Man of the Match. However, it’s likely that this time it will be a different game, with Napoli being much more careful when they defend. The matchup between these two will probably tell us a lot about the result of this first leg. 

Most likely to score a goal: Olivier Giroud – The Rossoneri have to score at San Siro in the first leg, considering that the second game will be much more difficult and Olivier Giroud is the man that Stefano Pioli needs for such a game. The French striker scored four goals in eight Champions League matches and has to deliver once again against Spalletti’s side. 

Man of the Match pick: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – The Georgian talent is coming from two games where he didn’t score or assist a goal. For Kvaradona, this is something strange this season. This is why I expect him to be back at his usual level against AC Milan in the quarterfinals as all eyes will be on him. 

Match prediction: AC Milan 1, Napoli 1. AC Milan won 4-0 in the last Serie A clash between the two sides ten days ago and despite Napoli being close to winning the Scudetto, the feeling is that the Champions League’s match between these sides will be much closer than what we expected some weeks ago. It’s likely that the first leg won’t decide who will qualify for the semifinals and I predict a draw. – Francesco Porzio

Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

Featured Game | Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

One matchup to watch: Vinicius Junior vs. Reece James – Since the turn of the year Real Madrid’s flying Brazilian has been in sensational form, finding the net once more against Villarreal to make 11 goals in 2023. However if you were designing a full back to go stride for stride against the world’s best wingers you would come up with James, who offers the further advantage that his cut and thrust in attack can pose questions of Vinicius. The England international will probably be doing a lot more defending in the first leg but he and Mason Mount make for an extremely effective pairing on the right with and without the ball. They can ask as many questions of the Madrid left as Vinicius asks of them.

Most likely to score a goal: Karim Benzema – It’s the Champions League. It’s Real Madrid. It’s Benzema. 

Man of the Match pick: N’Golo Kante – The Frenchman might have only played one game since August but it was a superb display, 59 minutes of all action football that brought back memories of the superstar who ran through the field in the spring of 2021. Injuries mean Kante might never get back to the level he showed in demolishing Real Madrid that year but frankly he could be a fair bit worse two years on and still be the consensus man of the match.

Match prediction: Real Madrid 1, Chelsea 1 – Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali might have rushed to sack Graham Potter (who was probably never going to take Chelsea where they aspire to be) but the second manager of the season was forging a team who were better defensively than their goal record might have suggested. The Blues have averaged almost exactly one expected goal allowed over their last 15 games, it does not seem beyond the realms of imagination that they can nick one in the Santiago Bernabeu and keep the tie alive.  James Benge

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