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English trio lead quarter-final waltz

Published: Wednesday 30 March 2011, 14.44CET
The eight remaining UEFA Champions League hopefuls get their quarter-finals under way on 5/6 April, with an all-English affair and a mouthwatering meeting in Madrid on the agenda.
 
Published: Wednesday 30 March 2011, 14.44CET

English trio lead quarter-final waltz

The eight remaining UEFA Champions League hopefuls get their quarter-finals under way on 5/6 April, with an all-English affair and a mouthwatering meeting in Madrid on the agenda.

Wembley Stadium will loom a little larger for the eight remaining UEFA Champions League contenders next week as the quarter-finals get under way, with an all-English encounter prominent on the menu and acquaintances renewed in Spain and Italy.

Of course, Wednesday's meeting between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC will bring old rivals back together as Stamford Bridge hosts the teams that contested the 2008 final in Moscow. United collected their third European crown on that occasion, but Chelsea are desperate to become the first London club to lift the trophy when the showpiece lights up the English capital on 28 May.

Tottenham Hotspur FC boast a similar ambition in their remarkable first season at this level in the UEFA Champions League era, yet they have a daunting excursion to the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday, where Real Madrid CF lie in wait. The nine-time winners will be hoping Cristiano Ronaldo recovers from a hamstring injury in time to face the side whose fearless approach took them past AC Milan in the last round.

Tuesday also marks the resumption of FC Internazionale Milano's title defence as they vie to become the first team to reach the European summit in back-to-back campaigns since neighbours Milan in 1989/90. Those two storied clubs meet in a high-stakes Serie A tussle on Saturday, and quarter-final opponents FC Schalke 04 will look to pounce on any tired Inter legs in the German team's first outing in the competition under new coach Ralf Rangnick. The Bundesliga outfit will nonetheless be wary of hosts desperate to avenge their 1997 UEFA Cup final defeat.

FC Barcelona and FC Shakhtar Donetsk played each other rather more recently, with Barça lifting the UEFA Super Cup at the Ukrainian champions' expense in 2009. However, Josep Guardiola's men will not be taking this season's surprise package for granted. They will want to produce another mesmerising display at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, ahead of what is sure to be a tricky return leg at Shakhtar's Donbass Arena the following week.

Last updated: 03/04/11 21.33CET

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