It has been a while since the Europa League has been as exciting to watch as this season, with some of the best clubs on the continent staking their claims for the trophy.
From resurgent Spanish heavyweights Barcelona to Premier League top-four bidders West Ham United, several prominent European sides are still battling it out for the crown.
Let’s take a look at the four quarter-final ties coming up after the international break.
RB Leipzig vs Atalanta
Despite failing to make it out of the group phase for the second time in their fourth Champions League appearance, RB Leipzig are still in contention for their first-ever continental accolade.
The same goes for Atalanta, who after bowing out of the Champions League group stages for the first time in three seasons, return to the Europa League knock-outs for only the second time in the club’s history.
La Dea’s only previous attempt to conquer Europe’s second-tier competition was hindered by Leipzig’s fellow Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund, back in the 2017/18 round of 32.
By contrast, Die Roten Bullen’s only European encounter against Italian opposition brings up fond memories as they overcame Napoli in the same season Dortmund crashed Atalanta out of the tournament.
Yet, Gian Piero Gasperini’s team will draw confidence from their last-16 success at the expense of Bayer Leverkusen, where they won both legs to set up this tie. This is a game worth catching live soccer streams for – it is unarguably the most even and entertaining tie out of the bunch.
Braga vs Rangers
Rangers’ maiden Europa League quarter-final appearance pits them against Portuguese powerhouse Braga, who cruised past Monaco in the previous knock-out round.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men pulled off a mammoth 6-4 aggregate triumph over Dortmund in the play-off round before ousting Red Star Belgrade in the last knock-out tie.
Although their Scottish Premiership title defence is not going according to plan, as they currently languish three points adrift of table-topping Celtic, the Gers are favourites in this two-legged contest.
Braga are struggling in the Primeira Liga, while their European performances have flattered to deceive despite coming this far in the Europa League.
But the prospect of reaching the competition’s semi-finals for the first time since losing 1-0 to fellow domestic rivals Porto in the 2010/11 grand final could be a huge motive.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Barcelona
The Europa League draw has not been kind to Eintracht Frankfurt as they have been paired together with continental powerhouse Barcelona in an exciting quarter-final tie.
After finishing top of Europa League Group D in the autumn, the Germans squeezed past Barca’s fellow La Liga opponents Real Betis 3-2 on aggregate last time out.
Guido Rodriguez’s unfortunate own goal in the final seconds of the second-leg extra-time catapulted Die Adler into their second Europa League quarter-finals in four years.
However, this could be the end of the road for Oliver Glasner’s side, as they are set to take on Xavi’s high-flyers, who entered March’s international break amid a purple patch.
After a troublesome first half of the season that culminated with Barcelona’s first Champions League group phase elimination in 20 years, the Catalans have regained their confidence under Xavi.
Barca’s overwhelming 4-0 victory over bitter rivals Real Madrid in the latest edition of the famous El Clasico served as further confirmation of an ongoing renaissance at Camp Nou. Football Today has Barcelona pegged as the favourites for this year’s Europa League title, and we expect a reasonably comfortable win for the Blaugrana.
West Ham United vs Lyon
West Ham came from behind to defeat Europa League specialists Sevilla in the round of 16, with Ukrainian star Andriy Yarmolenko sealing an extra-time comeback to fire the Londoners into the quarter-finals.
The Hammers’ extraordinary European season comes as a reward for David Moyes’ impressive work at the London Stadium since his return to the helm in 2019.
Only four matches separate the Premier League side from their first major European final in the 21st century, but getting past Lyon will be all but straightforward.
Peter Bosz’s men have experienced a false Ligue 1 season, but they have made up to their supporters by breezing past Porto in the Europa League last-16.
Les Gones have been nothing short of outstanding in Europe this season, having gone unbeaten in all eight matches in the Europa League proper so far.
After racking up six wins and two draws in Europe’s second-tier this term, Lyon will fancy their chances against West Ham in this tasty-looking quarter-final tie.