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Lowdown on the UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists

The crunch stage of the UEFA Europa League is upon us; who are the men to watch over the coming fortnight?

2005 final highlights: CSKA Moskva 3-1 Sporting

The second highest-ranked side in the last eight in terms of UEFA coefficient, the Gunners are seeking a first European trophy under Arsène Wenger.

Main attraction
Mesut Özil – 29, glides gracefully through midfield and when Özil ticks, Arsenal do too; a proven provider and a class act on his day.

Highlights: Arsenal 3-1 Milan (5-1 agg)

Youthful promise 
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 20, in his breakthrough season, the pacy Maitland-Niles is showing impressive consistency at left-back.

Wise old head
Laurent Koscielny – 32, experienced, reliable and composed, the French centre-back is one of the longest-serving members of Wenger's squad.

Say it like it is
Petr Čech – pet-ur check
Laurent Koscielny – lo-ron cosh-el-knee
Héctor Bellerín – bay-air-een
Sead Kolasinac – say-a koll-osh-een-ats
Granit Xhaka – jacka

UEFA Europa League winners in 2010 and 2012, Diego Simeone's side were losing UEFA Champions League finalists in 2014 and 2016.

Watch five great Griezmann goals

Main attraction
Antoine Griezmann – 27, the Frenchman has gone from fleet-footed wide man to central superstar at Atlético and is peaking, with 16 goals since the turn of the year.

Youthful promise 
Lucas Hernández – 22, the left-footed centre-back is covering expertly for injured Filipe Luis at full-back, and recently received his first France call-up.

Wise old head
Gabi – 34, the club captain's experience and quality on the ball means he is the first name on the team sheet for Diego Simeone when it comes to big games.

Say it like it is
Kevin Gameiro – keh-van Gam-air-oh
Diego Godín – god-een
Antoine Griezmann – an-twan gree-ez-man
Saúl Ñíguez – sow-ool nee-gess
Šime Vrsaljko – she-may ver-sal-ko

CSKA Moskva
Three Russian sides reached the round of 16, but only the 2005 UEFA Cup winners made it to the last eight.

How CSKA won the 2005 UEFA Cup

Main attraction
Alan Dzagoev – 27, the creative Russia midfielder has been on CSKA's books for a decade, and is also the club's top scorer in Europe this season.

Youthful promise 
Aleksandr Golovin - 21, a U17 EURO winner in 2013, the midfielder has played over 100 CSKA games and graduated from hot prospect to team leader.

Wise old head(s)
Aleksei Berezutski, Vasili Berezutski, Sergei Ignashevich – 108, is the combined age of CSKA's defensive stalwarts, all UEFA Cup winners in 2005.

Say it like it is
Igor Akinfeev – a-kin-fey-ev
Alan Dzagoev – dza-goy-ev
Bibras Natcho – nat-kho
Georgi Schennikov – ghee-or-ghee shenny-kov
Timur Zhamaletdinov – jamma-let-deen-ov

Losing UEFA Cup finalists in 1998, Lazio are showing plenty of attacking sparkle with their ex-striker Simone Inzaghi in charge.

Highlights: Dynamo Kyiv 0-2 Lazio (2-4 agg)

Main attraction
Ciro Immobile – 28, with 34 goals in 38 appearances this season, Immobile's pace and lethal finishing are embodying Lazio's attacking style.

Youthful promise 
Sergej Milinković-Savić – 23, his physical power and technique have earned 'The Sergeant' a mighty midfield reputation. The new Paul Pogba?

Wise old head
Lucas Leiva – 31, having replaced Lucas Biglia in the summer, the former Liverpool man brings tactical awareness and experience to a classy midfield.

Say it like it is
Martín Cáceres – mar-teen casser-ez
Stefan De Vrij – duv-rye
Ciro Immobile – cheer-o emo-bill-ay
Senad Lulić – loo-litch
Sergej Milinković-Savić – sur-gay milinko-vitch sav-itch

Runners-up in Germany last season, Leipzig are on course to win a trophy in their first season in UEFA club competition.

Highlights: Zenit 1-1 Leipzig (2-3 agg)

Main attraction
Timo Werner – 22, the fast German international has scored six in Leipzig's last seven European games and is especially dangerous on the counter.

Youthful promise 
Dayot Upamecano – 19, the resilient Frenchman has established himself as a regular in Leipzig's defence. A great career seemingly beckons.

Wise old head
Kevin Kampl – 27, in a youthful team the skilful Slovenian's pedigree counts double, spells at Dortmund and Leverkusen bringing European experience.

Say it like it is
Jean-Kévin Augustin – jon-kay-veen or-goo-stan
Emil Forsberg – forsh-bare-yuh
Péter Gulácsi – pay-ter goo-lah-chee
Youssuf Poulsen – pow-ell-sun
Dayot Upamecano – die-yo oopa-mecano

European champions in 1993, and UEFA Cup finalists in 1999 and 2004, OM are the last French side who could make this season's final in Lyon.

Highlights: Athletic 1-2 Marseille (2-5 agg)

Main attraction
Lucas Ocampos – 23, with three goals in his last four UEFA Europa League games, the Argentinian is hitting peak form at the right time for OM.

Youthful promise 
Maxime Lopez – 20, a 1.67m-tall midfielder, Marseille-born Lopez is learning fast with his hometown club, earning regular games under Rudi Garcia.

Wise old head
Dimitri Payet – 30, a UEFA EURO 2016 runner-up with France, Payet still has a magic touch and his free-kick prowess could prove vital in the final rounds.

Say it like it is
Steve Mandanda – mon-don-dah
Clinton Njie – n-gee
Dimiti Payet – pie-ett
Florian Thauvin – toe-van

Austrian champions Salzburg won the UEFA Youth League in 2017, and would love to follow up with their first European trophy at senior level.

2017 UEFA Youth League final highlights

Main attraction
Munas Dabbur – 25, the Israel international is a tireless worker in the Salzburg attack and has already scored six in the competition this season.

Youthful promise 
Xaver Schlager – 20, a Salzburg academy product who made his senior Austria debut in March, Schlager is a keystone of the Salzburg midfield.

Wise old head
Alexander Walke – 34, the German goalkeeper is Salzburg's captain and the oldest player in the squad, his presence a huge asset to an evolving side.

Say it like it is
Duje Ćaleta-Car – doo-yeh cha-let-at-sar
Christoph Leitgeb – light-geeb
Jérôme Onguéné – on-gway-nay
Marin Pongračić – pon-gratch-itch
Dominik Szoboszlai – sob-oss-lie

Sporting CP
Os Leões last won a European trophy in 1964; their coach Jorge Jesus twice lost the UEFA Europa League final as Benfica coach, in 2013 and 2014.

Highlights: Sporting CP 2-0 Plzeň

Main attraction
Bas Dost – 28, the Dutch forward has scored an astonishing 66 goals in 80 games since joining Sporting CP in 2016.

Youthful promise 
Gelson Martins – 22, the winger has 12 goals this season and skills and pace that draw comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma and Nani.

Wise old head
Jérémy Mathieu – 34, the former Barcelona centre-back has formed an impressive defensive partnership with Sébastian Coates.

Say it like it is
Marcos Acuña – a-coo-nyah
Sébastian Coates – co-at-ess
Fábio Coentrão – kwen-trow (to rhyme with cow)
João Palhinha – pal-yeen-ya
Daniel Podence – po-denss