Haaland out to finally beat Bayern, Benfica well set to trouble Inter – Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk April 10, 2023

Just eight teams remain in the Champions League, and there is every chance one of Tuesday's quarter-finals could yield the eventual winners.

Manchester City and Bayern Munich tussle in arguably the tie of the round, a contest that has seen the intrigue multiply following the latter's dismissal of Julian Nagelsmann and hiring of Thomas Tuchel.

Of course, Tuchel has won this competition before and boasts plenty of quality in his squad, but City probably go into the tie as favourites because of their greater stability and the 'Erling Haaland factor'.

Tuesday's other game, which takes place on the other side of the draw, pits Benfica and Inter against each other, with both sides surely fancying their chances of a shock run to the final given they will come up against either Milan or Napoli in the semi-finals.

But without any further ado, Stats Perform looks at the pick of the pre-match Opta facts for Tuesday's first legs.

Manchester City v Bayern Munich: Haaland out to finally beat Die Roten

There will certainly be a degree of familiarity surrounding this duel between two giants of the European game.

It will be the seventh meeting between City and Bayern in the Champions League, with both sides alternating victories across the previous six (three each) fixtures.

On top of that, City boss Pep Guardiola is of course a former Bayern head coach, with the Premier League side's only loss in their past three home games against Die Roten coming when he was in charge at Allianz Arena (October 2013).

Guardiola will also be going up against Tuchel once again. He may not publicly admit it, but revenge is surely a target.

Tuchel was in charge of Chelsea when City lost their only Champions League final, and the German has won two of the three matches the two coaches have contested in cup competitions. Guardiola's only victory came via a penalty shoot-out in the 2016 DFB-Pokal final.

Still, Guardiola boasts a tremendous record at this stage of the competition.

He has won 54 per cent of his 72 Champions League knockout games, the best win rate of all managers with at least 30 matches under their belt in such ties. Additionally, Guardiola is the only one of these coaches to have won more than half of these games.

 

Erling Haaland will also be tussling with some familiar foes.

The Norwegian striker has a solid record against Bayern on an individual level, scoring five times in seven games against them for Dortmund, but he was on the losing side each time.

He will be keen to break that duck.

Benfica v Inter: Eagles close to 33-year high

For some, Benfica might stand out as being almost out of place at this stage of the competition, but it is the second season in a row they have reached the quarter-finals.

Similarly, while one may associate Inter more closely with deep runs into the Champions League, their six quarter-finals this century is only one more than Benfica.

The Portuguese side will not come into this tie intimidated by their opponents either.

Benfica have already beaten Juventus home and away in the competition this term, overcoming something of a psychological barrier that had seen them win only two of their previous 11 games against Serie A sides in Europe's top-tier competition.

Granted, Inter have dealt with Portuguese opposition this season as well, knocking Porto out in the previous round with a slender 1-0 aggregate win. But there was more than a hint of fortune about that success, with the Primeira Liga side's expected goals (xG) significantly higher than Inter's (3-5 to 2.1).

Nevertheless, Benfica need only to look at their own form to inspire confidence. Victory on Tuesday will see them record five successive European Cup/Champions League wins for the first time since a run of six en route to the 1990 final.

There are also reasons for optimism in how the two teams play.

The average starting distance of Inter's sequences of play in the Champions League this term is 38.2 metres from their own goal, with Simone Inzaghi's side recovering possession the furthest away from the opposition goal – on average – of any side involved in this season's quarter-finals.

That could play into Benfica's hands given they have attempted more shots following high turnovers (within 40m of the opposition goal) than any other side in the competition this season (18), and their five goals from such situations is a joint-high with Napoli.

Inter have ridden their luck already this season – Benfica will hope to get the rub of the green at Estadio da Luz on Tuesday to improve their chances of reaching the semi-finals for the first time in 33 years.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

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    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

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    Data Debrief

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