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Champions League final-eight kicks off tonight but which top side do our reporters think will win?

It’s back! Four months later than originally scheduled, the Champions League quarter-finals are kicking-off in a unique, final-eight knockout tournament in Lisbon tonight. 

With the remaining last-16 ties now done and dusted over the weekend, Wednesday night sees the first quarter-final encounter in the Portuguese capital, as surprise packages Atalanta take on Ligue 1 champions PSG. 

But which side do our reporters think will lift the trophy on August 23, and who will be the standout player over the next 11 days?  

Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich beat Chelsea in the last-16 and take on Barcelona on Friday

Lionel Messi's Barcelona are looking to win the Champions League for the first time since 2015

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona are looking to win the Champions League for the first time since 2015

JACK GAUGHAN 

QUARTER-FINAL TIES 

Wed 12/8: Atalanta vs PSG

Thu 13/8: RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid

Fri 14/8: Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

Sat 15/8: Manchester City vs Lyon  

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up?  

Bayern Munich to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the final. Manchester City go into the mini tournament as favourites and, providing they get past Lyon, a possible semi-final date with Bayern would be game of the competition. 

Bayern are attempting to lift a Treble after winning the Bundesliga and German Cup and look the most complete outfit left. 

There is no goalscorer in Europe more lethal than Robert Lewandowski right now and that cutting edge may seem them get over the line.

Who will be the player to watch out for? 

It would’ve been Angel Di Maria had he not been suspended for PSG’s quarter-final against Atalanta. 

So I’ll go with Bayern’s Serge Gnabry instead, with 20 goals so far in a season during which his game has reached a new level. Lisbon is a perfect opportunity to showcase that further.

TOM COLLOMOSSE

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up?   

Bayern Munich. The German champions have looked a class apart since the restart and their easy win over Chelsea last week dispelled any fears of rustiness after a five-week break. 

In Robert Lewandowski, they have the best forward in Europe and have found formidable rhythm this year under coach Hansi Flick. It is hard to find a weakness in their team and they look the side to best.  

Bayern Munich are one of the favourites, with Robert Lewandowski in brilliant form up front

Bayern Munich are one of the favourites, with Robert Lewandowski in brilliant form up front

Paris St Germain will be the runners-up – the straight knockout format should favour PSG, who have been undone in the past by second-leg blackouts, notably against Barcelona in 2017 and against Manchester United last year. 

But there is no need to worry about this time and if Kylian Mbappe really has recovered fully from an ankle problem, they should have enough firepower to get past both Atalanta in the last eight, and either Atletico Madrid or Red Bull Leipzig in the semi-finals. 

Who will be the player to watch out for?

Leon Goretzka. Lewandowski rightly takes most of the spotlight for Bayern yet Goretzka has produced a series of strong displays since the restart. 

This is Goretzka’s second season at Bayern since he moved from Schalke and the midfielder is now starting to flourish after a difficult start. Excellent at arriving late in the box to finish chances, he is a key man now for Hansi Flick.  

Leon Goretzka is flourishing in the Bayern Munich midfield in his second season at the club

Leon Goretzka is flourishing in the Bayern Munich midfield in his second season at the club

ADAM SHERGOLD

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up?  

In a grand two-fingered salute to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play, I can see the final being between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Having seen their two-year European ban overturned, City seems to be fired up by a sense of being wronged and proving a point. 

They’ll cruise past Lyon and should have enough quality and European expertise by now to get the better of either Bayern Munich or Barcelona, with the dynamic of these games completely altered by being only one leg.

Pep Guardiola is yet to taste European success with City despite domestic dominance

Pep Guardiola is yet to taste European success with City despite domestic dominance

PSG will get the better of Atalanta in what will hopefully be a free-scoring affair and then should have enough, especially when Kylian Mbappe retains full fitness, to overcome either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid in the semi.

So a PSG vs City final would be fascinating and I can see City maybe edging it with the greater momentum they’ve built up since football returned.

Who will be the player to watch out for? 

Neymar is my one to watch. Having watched on helplessly because of injury as PSG have crashed out at the last-16 stage in the past two years, he seems driven to deliver a trophy that has become a Holy Grail for them.

Time for the Brazilian to live up to that world’s most expensive player status and boost his own legacy in the game with a second Champions League win.  

PSG have never gone beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League in past campaigns

DANIEL MATTHEWS   

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up?

Bayern Munich will win – Hansi Flick’s side pummelled Chelsea over two legs, cantering their way to a 7-1 aggregate win. They look supreme across the pitch and boast Robert Lewandowski, currently the best No 9 in world football. 

Bayern have also had the luxury of a lay-off – they should be fresh for this mini-tournament, having played just one competitive game since July 4.

My runners-up tip is Atletico Madrid – how is it only five months since that victory at Anfield? Anyway, you know what you get with Diego’s Simeone’s side: unabated intensity and discipline. 

The draw has opened up a far less tricky road to the final and they head to Lisbon without defeat since February and with seven wins in their last 10 matches.

Who will be the player to watch out for?

Kevin De Bruyne – The Belgian playmaker was the standout player in English football this season and if Pep Guardiola’s side are to realise their European dream, De Bruyne will need to be their beating heart in Lisbon. 

He won’t get many bigger stages to show his quality, or many sterner tests of his credentials. 

Man City's Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne will look to turn up on the biggest stage

Man City’s Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne will look to turn up on the biggest stage

KIERAN GILL 

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up? 

Bayern Munich beat Tottenham 10-3 over two matches, then Chelsea 7-1. They humbled two of our big Premier League clubs, so they’re my tip to win the tournament. 

I’ll plump for Atletico Madrid as runners up, because something tells me PSG will choke again. 

Who will be the player to watch out for? 

Sorry for the unoriginal answer, but the player I’m most looking forward to watching take on this tournament is Robert Lewandowski. 

He would have been my pick for the 2020 Ballon d’Or. 

Lewandowski scored twice against Chelsea and has scored 53 goals in all competitions

Lewandowski scored twice against Chelsea and has scored 53 goals in all competitions 

OLIVER TODD 

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up?  

Fronted by the best player in the world right now, Robert Lewandowski, and with none of the glaring weaknesses of other sides – Bayern are powerful enough to get through a rough route of ties against Barcelona and Manchester City. 

I expect they will beat Paris Saint-Germain in next Sunday’s final.

Who will be the player to watch out for? 

PSG’s captain, at 35, Thiago Silva has huge motivation to go out with a bang in his final two weeks at the club. 

PSG captain Thiago Silva will be desperate to land the trophy in his final two weeks at the club

PSG captain Thiago Silva will be desperate to land the trophy in his final two weeks at the club

He’s been a poster boy for a lot of his team’s flaws in this competition in the past but single-leg ties could suit him and his team-mates. 

KIERAN JACKSON

Who will win the tournament, and who will be the runners up? 

Slightly left-field, but that’s just how Atletico Madrid like it. Diego Simeone’s side are on the kinder half of the draw, and their last-eight encounter against a talented RB Leipzig side on Thursday should be fascinating viewing. 

But this Atletico side live for knockout football. With arguably the best goalkeeper in the world in Jan Oblak, combined with defensive solidity and resistance, the conquerors of defending champions Liverpool could reach the final and – after heartbreak in Lisbon six years ago with defeat against Real Madrid in the 2014 final – may well enact their revenge on August 23. 

Atletico Madrid knocked out defending champions Liverpool and have history in Lisbon

Atletico Madrid knocked out defending champions Liverpool and have history in Lisbon

They’ve come close twice before, but with no city neighbours to crush their dreams this time round, Atletico are your stereotypical dark horses. And the switch to one-legged ties will suit them down to the ground. I back them to beat Bayern in the final. 

Who will be the player to watch out for?

Last Saturday, one goal from a miraculous position in the box shows that Lionel Messi is still capable of changing games on his own. And in tight, one-legged affairs, that sort of asset is invaluable. 

For all the eulogising of Bayern, they undoubtedly have the toughest last-eight clash of all the favourites, against Messi and Barcelona on Friday. 

Memories of five years ago, when Messi scored twice in the semi-finals and sent Jerome Boateng spinning into a daze, should serve as inspiration for the Argentine to make the difference once again. 

Messi is still capable of the remarkable and could lead Barca to another Champions League

Messi is still capable of the remarkable and could lead Barca to another Champions League

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