Chelsea, Man United face uphill task in CL

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm •  Published: April 6, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — Once again, English clubs look set for a premature exit in the Champions League. On Wednesday, Manchester United must beat Bayern Munich or earn a high-scoring draw following their 1-1 result at Old Trafford, and Chelsea must overcome a 3-1 deficit from the first leg to reach the semifinals at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

If Man United and Chelsea fail to advance, it will be the second year in a row with no English representation in the last four of Europe's top club competition, which is currently dominated by Spanish and German clubs.

In this week's other matchups, Real Madrid travels to 2013 finalist Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday with a 3-0 first leg advantage that all but secured the Spanish powerhouse's fourth consecutive semifinal. In the all-Spanish meeting between Atletico and Barcelona, a goalless home draw on Wednesday will be enough for the Madrid side to oust the Catalans and reach its first semifinal since 1974 following their 1-1 draw at Camp Nou last week.

Here is a lookahead to this week's second legs in the Champions League quarterfinals:

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ATLETICO MADRID-BARCELONA: With only four combined goals in four meetings this season, something has to give as Atletico tries to make good on its slight away-goal advantage when hosting Barcelona with their quarterfinal poised at 1-1.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone has the upper hand on fellow Argentine Gerardo Martino so far, as Atletico has dictated the pace, kept the scorelines low and managed to leave Lionel Messi without a goal.

But Atletico may be without leading scorer Diego Costa who left the first leg with a right thigh injury, even though the team's supporting cast has proven it can pick up the scoring slack in its last two matches.

Barcelona will be without injured center back Gerard Pique.

Atletico leads the Spanish league by one point over Barcelona and both sides showed signs of having weary legs when they eked out wins in the domestic competition on Saturday, so fitness could be a decisive factor.

"There is little margin for error," Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Pinto said. "The small details will make the difference."

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CHELSEA-PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Although PSG star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out with a thigh injury, Chelsea needs to defend better and be more aggressive at Stamford Bridge, where Paris Saint-Germain is defending a two-goal advantage from its 3-1 win at home. The French club built its lead without too much effort last week, prompting Chelsea's Jose Mourinho to bemoan the lack of real strikers in his squad and lament his players' defending.

At the Parc des Princes, Chelsea was indeed made to pay for its sloppy defending and incapacity to transform first-half domination into goals. The Blues are still hopeful they can overcome the deficit with a repeat of the performance that helped them defeat Napoli in the last 16 round two years ago when the Italian side came to London with a 3-1 lead from the first leg.

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