The draws for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League took place on Friday in Nyon, Switzerland. And some Nigerian stars were involved.
While some got somewhat favourable opponents, others would have to dig deep if they are to secure a spot in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite football competitions.
In the Champions League, Nigeria has just one player- Villarreal forward Samuel Chukwueze. The Super Eagles star faces former champions Bayern Munich in what promises to be a tricky tie.
The German giants have one of the deadliest attacks in Europe, and Chukwueze and his teammates would have to dig deep. A victory for Chukwueze and his Yellow Submarine would be a big upset.
However, they would look to draw inspiration from their 4-1 aggregate victory over Juventus in the round of 16. They play hosts to Bayern Munich in the first leg on April 6, before travelling to the Allianz Arena six days later for the second leg.
In other quarterfinal fixtures, Chelsea faces Real Madrid in a repeat of last year’s semi-final fixture, Manchester City lock horns with Atletico Madrid, and Liverpool trade tackles with Benfica.
In the Europa League, three Super Eagles stars are involved, but they all feature for just one club- Rangers.
Rangers beat Red Star Belgrade in the last round, while Braga saw off Monaco. It promises to be a very tough tie for the Scottish Champions, as Braga are one of the top sides in Portugal.
Nonetheless, with Leon Balogun, Calvin Bassey, and Joe Aribo, the Gers could fancy their chances. The last time Rangers faced Braga was in 2020, and Rangers saw them off with a 1-0 victory. Of the Nigerian trio, only Aribo was involved in that game.
Rangers travel to Portugal on April 7th for the first leg before welcoming Braga at Ibrox a week later.
The other Europa League quarter-final fixtures are West Ham Vs Lyon, Eintracht Frankfurt Vs Barcelona, and Rb Leipzig Vs Atalanta.
In the lowest tier of Europe’s elite competitions- the Europa Conference League, Nigeria is ably represented.
Cyriel Dessers and his Feyenoord side would trade tackles with Peter Olayinka and Yira Sor’s Slavia Prague. Cyriel has been phenomenal for Feyenoord in the Conference League, scoring six and assisting one in eight appearances. He would look to continue with his brilliance to help his side progress at the expense of his compatriots in Prague
In another fixture, Leicester City with Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Ademola Lookman will trade tackles with PSV Eindhoven.
The Foxes have had a topsy-turvy season and are looking to pick up the pieces of their season, and a victory against their Dutch opponents would be a huge morale booster.
Leicester City have had a leaky defence, but they would have to put that in check when they face PSV, who put eight past Copenhagen over two legs.
Leicester City welcome the Dutch giants on April 7th for the first leg before travelling away for the second leg a week later.
Elsewhere, Victor Boniface and his Bodo Glimt side would take on Roma in a repeat of their group stage tie earlier in the competition. The Norwegian side have been the jokers of the competition, pulling up surprises on the way to this point.
Jose Mourinho’s men failed to beat Bodo Glimt in two tries. In fact, they thrashed Roma 6-1 in the first leg of their group stage fixture before travelling to Rome to force a 2-2 draw.
Marseille play PAOK In the final quarter-final fixture.