Champions League: Chelsea up against it as they face Real Madrid without fans

Quarter-final draw also pairs Manchester City with Atlético and Liverpool with Benfica

Chelsea will have to beat the record 13-times Champions League winners to reach the semi-finals after the holders drew Real Madrid in the last eight, with the first leg due to be played in Spain in front of only home fans and the return behind closed doors because of the sanctions on Roman Abramovich.

In other attractive pairings for English clubs, Manchester City host Atlético Madrid before travelling to Spain and Liverpool are at Benfica for their opening leg. Villarreal face Bayern Munich in the remaining tie.

As things stand, Chelsea will not be able to sell tickets for the trip to the Bernabéu on April 6th or the home game on April 12th. The club are in talks with Uefa and the UK government in the hope of easing the restriction, which would be lifted in the event of new ownership.

"It would be a disadvantage," Thomas Tuchel said of the prospect of having no Chelsea fans, "but in general this game is for the spectators – the game changes so much with spectators so hopefully we'll find solutions. I'm pretty sure everybody at the club will fight for this chance."

Tuchel is looking forward to facing Real, whose coach, Carlo Ancelotti, led Chelsea to the Double in 2009-10. "It's a big challenge, but it's also a big excitement around this fixture," he said. "We know what's coming. It is not important [to have avoided English sides], but it's European nights – and it's always nice to play European teams. Maybe at this kind of stage you don't want to play the teams you play already so many times in domestic competition."

‘First mistake’

Chelsea will face City in the semi-finals if both progress. Pep Guardiola said of his team’s draw against the Spanish champions: “The most important thing that happens in that club is [Diego] Simeone will not be sacked and all the players know he is the manager. Atlético compete to win titles and everyone knows what they have to do, their path, and that’s why they have been incredibly consistent in the last few years. It’s a team that are what they are and they are able to avoid who you are – that’s the biggest quality.”

Jürgen Klopp told Liverpool’s website: “I know people will say we are the favourites and stuff like this, but that’s already the first mistake you could make. We are too long in the business now to make these kinds of mistakes. I respect a lot what they are doing there, it’s a massive club.”

West Ham play Lyon and Rangers face Braga in the Europa League quarter-finals. The winners of West Ham’s tie will meet Barcelona or Eintracht Frankfurt, with RB Leipzig against Atalanta in the other quarter-final.

Leicester take on PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League. The winners will face Bodø/Glimt or Roma.

– Guardian

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