Holders of 2008 finalists Chelsea and Barcelona will try to establish a meeting of the Champions League semi-final this week when they face AC Milan and Benfica, respectively, in their quarter-final (second leg matches).
Barcelona, in its second phase at the Camp Nou ended in a 0-0 draw in Milan, as an offer to become the first team to retain the trophy.
Chelsea had a 1-0 lead on their Portuguese rivals, trying to improve on a disappointing display in the first inning.
The other two quarterfinals should see nine-time champion Real Madrid and progress four times champion Bayern Munich when they host APOEL and Marseille after winning 3-0 and 2-0, respectively, last week .
Barcelona seek to dominate Milan in the same way they did at San Siro, where they were frustrated by some of the field and leading advocate for the Italian side.
The Catalan club will be strengthened by the return of Cesc Fabregas, who missed the first leg and the league win against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday because of an injury to his lower back.
“We’ve dealt with it and today (Saturday) he was better,” said Barca coach Pep Guardiola. “So even though we were forced to leave him out against Bilbao, he will be there on Tuesday.”
Barcelona striker Pedro Rodriguez said that he and his teammates need to be particularly vigilant against a Milan team that forced a 2-2 draw in injury time in their group match at the Camp Nou this season.
“Milan have some great players and there is no doubt that they will make life difficult for us,” he said.
“Even if we dominate the game, we cannot afford to be complacent because they are capable of scoring at any moment.
“They are a tough team to beat but, with the crowd behind us, we are hoping to put in a good performance and get through to the next round.”
The author of a good solo goal in the 2-2 draw in Milan, Alexandre Pato could be activated after the return of the United States, where specialists examined the muscle problems that have kept the gap since Feb. 25. ”He is ready and available for selection by (coach Massimiliano) Allegri,” said club doctor Jean-Pierre Meerssman.
Allegri rested 36 year veteran defender Alessandro Nesta for the weekend 1-1 at Catania, while 35-year Dutch Clarence Seedorf also we had a great easy because one has to repeat their outstanding performance last week.
Allegri, however, has doubts about another veteran Dutch Mark van Bommel, who was suspended for the first step, but it is difficult to recover from a back problem.
Chelsea have been reborn as a club since Roberto Di Matteo replaced André Villas-Boas, winning six of their eight games under Italian administration, and enter the Benfica clash with their confidence sky high.
However, Di Matteo has doubts about the fitness of Didier Drogba and David Luiz before the game.
“David has a problem with his ankle at the moment. We will have to assess how he is and I don’t know about Wednesday,” Di Matteo said.
“Didier is another one we will have to assess over the next 48 hours.”
Benfica must contend with the daunting statisticthat only two clubs have lost a home game in the Champions League knockout stages and gone on to win — Ajax against Panathinaikos in the semifinals of the 1995-96 edition and Inter Milan last season against Bayern Munich in the last 16.
The Benfica coach Jorge Jesus, however, is confident his team – which advanced to the detriment of U.S. English champions Manchester in the group stage – you can get a shock. ”We didn’t deserve to lose the first leg; they took their one and only chance,” he said. “However, we can go there and get a result because we’ve scored in all our away games so far so we can easily go there and win.”