Champions League quarter-finals, Bayern Munich

Champions League quarter-finals: Analysis of trends in the knockout rounds

The Champions League quarter-finals take place next week and the draw for the semi-finals has already been made so each team knows their potential route to the final in June.

Six of the eight remaining teams hail from England and Spain – three each – with one German and one Portuguese side also among the quarter-finalists.

To understand what could happen this season, we have analysed every Champions League knockout match since the current format was established in 2003/4.

Who has the best Champions League pedigree?

All of the eight remaining clubs have reached the Champions League quarter-finals before, with Benfica the only team who have not progressed any further under this format.

Of the other seven, all except Villarreal have gone on to reach at least one final, with four having won the tournament before. Real Madrid lead the way here with nine semi-final appearances and four trophies won since the 2003/4 revamp.

Who has the most experienced squad?

Real Madrid also lead the way when it comes to Champions League experience, with their squad having accumulated over 1,200 appearances in the competition to date ahead of their meeting with Chelsea.

Bayern Munich and Liverpool are the next most experienced with over 800 each, while Real’s La Liga rivals Villarreal have the fewest prior appearances to draw upon: a little over 300.

Which nation’s clubs have the edge?

If previous clashes between clubs from different leagues are anything to go by then Bayern will be hoping to meet Benfica in the semi-finals.

Since 2003/4, German teams have qualified from all five of their two-legged knockout ties against Portuguese opposition.

One side of the quarter-final draw will see two encounters between clubs from Spain and England, with Real’s neighbours Atletico Madrid up against Manchester City, and history favours the Spanish sides.

In 37 meetings under the current format, teams from La Liga have progressed 22 times to the Premier League’s 15, which is more good news for the Madrid clubs.

Does performance in the group stage matter?

This season we have four group winners and four runners-up in the Champions League quarter-finals, but this is an unusual state of affairs.

Teams who topped their group have tended to go further on average, with at least two-thirds of those qualifying for the later knockout rounds having done so.

This bodes well for Bayern, Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid, who all finished first in the group stage – a typical season would have at least three of these four in the semi-finals.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first leg

In the modern Champions League, the first leg has often been decisive for the home team.

Two-thirds of clubs who won the first leg at home went on to qualify for the next round, compared to fewer than a third who drew it and only around one in 20 who lost in front of their own fans.

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