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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 18 January, 2019

5 things to look out for in tonight's Champions League games

There are two more quarter-final first legs with Chelsea travelling to Paris and Real Madrid welcome Borussia Dortmund.

Ibrahimovic will be Chelsea's biggest threat tonight.
Ibrahimovic will be Chelsea's biggest threat tonight.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

1. Zlatan and Mourinho reunited

CHELSEA ARE IN the French capital for a quarter-final tie with Ligue 1 powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes tonight.

PSG, 13 points clear at the top of their domestic table, will be led by the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic — who has scored 40 goals this season in all competitions and comes up against his former mentor Jose Mourinho.

The Swede famously wrote in his book that he would “die” for Mourinho having worked under him at Inter Milan.

Now 32, Ibrahimovic said yesterday that a move to the Premier League would be “impossible” but gets another chance to show English fans why he is classed as one of the finest strikers in the world against the Blues this evening.

2. Chelsea and PSG well-matched

France’s top flight may not be considered as one of Europe’s strongest leagues but there is no doubt that PSG are currently among the most talented teams around.

Laurent Blanc’s men topped Group C ahead of Olympiakos, Benfica and Anderlecht — scoring 22 goals along the way — and made light work of Bayer Leverkusen with a 6-1 aggregate win in the last round.

Ibrahimovic aside, they also possess the likes of Edison Cavani, Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti and Lucas Moura and, on paper, this last eight clash with Chelsea looks evenly-matched.

They have some of the best players in the world playing together in the same team, so they are a very powerful team,” said Mourinho.

“They are big, big, big candidates.”

3. Torres to get his chance

One of Chelsea’s biggest problems this season has been their lack of a reliable top class striker.

With 11 goals in all competitions, Samuel Eto’o has been their most consistent frontman but a hamstring injury picked up in the 6-0 win over Arsenal means he won’t feature.

Fernando Torres should get the nod ahead of wantaway Demba Ba as Chelsea hope to bounce back from a surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace last weekend.

The Spaniard hasn’t found the back of the net since their last away game in Europe — the 1-1 draw with Galatasaray — but will be tasked with leading the line here.

4. Real and Dortmund lock horns again

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund - Santiago Bernabeu Captains Sergio Ramos and Roman Weidenfeller during last year's semi-final second leg. Source: EMPICS Sport

Having met in the semi-finals of last season’s Champions League, Real Madrid host Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu.

In four games (two in the group stages and a two-legged knockout tie), there was one draw, one win for Madrid and two for Dortmund, who progressed to the final where they lost out to fellow Germans Bayern Munich.

Just three points off the top of La Liga behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona and coming into the game on the back of a 5-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid are clear favourites to go through.

5. Klopp must make do with depleted squad

Dortmund are second in the Bundesliga but have already conceded the title to Bayern Munich and Jurgen Klopp must deal with a raft of injuries tonight.

Neven Subotic (knee), Marcel Schmelzer (groin), Jannick Bandowski (foot), Sven Bender (groin), Ilkay Gundogan (back) and Jakub Błaszczykowski (knee) are all out while Robert Lewandowski, on his way to Bayern Munich in the summer, is suspended.

Madrid are without Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao looks like filling in for the Brazilian with Ancelotti revealing that Gareth Bale won’t be used as a full-back.

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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