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Champions League: Quarter-Final 1st Legs Predictions

With the bracket now set for the remainder of this year's Champions League, we're set for some very interesting quarter-finals!

Most are already expecting Manchester City v Chelsea and Bayern Munich v Liverpool as the semi-finals, but things are rarely as predictable as that in this competition which makes for some tricky Superbru picks!

Here are my thoughts on the first legs.

Manchester City vs. Atletico Madrid

Enough has been said already this week about the clash of styles here and Pep's tendency to 'overthink' (as he addressed himself in his press conference yesterday) so without setting the scene too much, what do we think will actually happen? Though I'm wary of Atleti's excellent ability to win these two-legged ties and their good recent form, I honestly don't think there was too much about their performance at Old Trafford in the Round of 16 to scare City.

At home, Atleti did look very good in the opening 20 minutes against Manchester United but they aren't as strong defensively as they were a few seasons ago and City just really need to ensure that they are patient and do not fall behind in this tie at any point. If they do, you start having to deal with issues such as, let's call it 'gamesmanship', that means you are relying on the referee as much as you are your own performance so it's important to keep control and avoid putting yourself in that position in the first place. I think City are good enough to do that and they'll want a comfortable margin for their trip to the Wanda Metropolitano. Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Benfica vs. Liverpool

I was surprised to see Benfica eliminate Ajax and would obviously be even more shocked if they get through this tie as well! The Portuguese side deserve a lot of respect for reaching this stage but it's the draw Liverpool will have been hoping for and the Reds' away form in this competition so far means I'm pretty comfortable backing them for a first leg lead. Prediction: Benfica 1-3 Liverpool

Chelsea vs. Real Madrid

I was fully expecting it to be PSG rather than Real Madrid and it really should have been (that collapse in Madrid was bad even for their standards) but the incredible Benzema hat-trick that has got Madrid to this stage means we're set for an interesting re-match of last season's semi-final here. Partly because of that tie last year, I feel like Chelsea should be too strong despite that concerning result on Saturday.

Chelsea are weak down their left side without Chilwell but I don't think Madrid are as well placed as other teams are to exploit that (Vinicius will be a threat on the opposing flank) and in midfield we could well see Kante dominate as he did last season if Ancelotti sticks with his usual 3. I think Madrid will keep themselves in with a chance of turning things around in the second leg but I expect Chelsea to edge this opener. Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Real Madrid

Villarreal vs. Bayern

As we saw in the Round of 16 with Bayern, there's a chance that this away leg is pretty close but Villarreal have very little chance of picking up a winning margin strong enough to protect them from what likely be a fairly heavy defeat in Munich. Back-to-back league defeats aren't great prep for the hosts ahead of this huge fixture and I think an away win is most likely. Prediction: Villarreal 1-2 Bayern