Five former winners will be keen to make a statement on Tuesday and Wednesday as the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals begin, with holders and record ten-time victors Real Madrid among the last surviving contenders.
No teams from England will feature for the second time in three seasons, but drama and tension appear guaranteed – and not least in France, where ambitious Paris Saint-Germain will be reunited with Barcelona and their fearsome attacking trident. Sparks will surely fly in the Spanish capital too, as neighbours Real and Atletico Madrid contest a repeat of last year's final.
Elsewhere, surprise package Monaco renew acquaintances with Juventus, the side who beat them 6-4 on aggregate at the semi-final stage in 1997/98. Lastly, Porto take on Bayern Munich in the only meeting between former champions, having edged the German giants 2-1 in the 1987 showpiece.
This week's fixtures
Tuesday 14 April
Atletico Madrid-Real Madrid
Wednesday 15 April
Match of the day
Paris Saint-Germain-Barcelona, Parc des Princes, Paris
Ties between these two clubs are becoming something of a European staple, with PSG getting the upper hand in 1995 before Barcelona exacted revenge in 2013. The French side are disputing their third consecutive quarter-final and hope to end their run of losses at this juncture, having gone out to Barça on away goals (2-2, 1-1) before exiting the same way to Chelsea last term (3-1, 0-2).
Both teams are desperate to advance but need to juggle challenges on a number of fronts, with Ligue 1 leaders PSG fresh from lifting the Coupe de la Ligue and also through to the Coupe de France final. Coach Laurent Blanc must cope with a raft of absences as well, including suspended trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verratti and Serge Aurier, plus injured centre-back David Luiz.
As for Barcelona, they lead the way in La Liga's title race thanks largely to in-form forward trio Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. PSG's defence will thus play a crucial role, particularly given past experience. After all, Barça may never have beaten Paris away, but they have scored twice on their last two trips – and their two goals at the Parc des Princes made all the difference in 2013.
The other games
On course for their fourth successive Serie A title, and through to the Coppa Italia final against Lazio, Juventus are clearly a force to be reckoned with. Translating that domestic dominance to the European scene has proved troublesome, though, and Juve have lost their last three quarter-final ties, going out to Liverpool in 2005, Arsenal in 2006 and Bayern in 2013. That said, they have never succumbed at home to a French outfit in the European Cup, while Monaco have yet to triumph in Italy.
Atletico Madrid-Real Madrid
With the heavyweights from the Spanish capital set to meet for a seventh time this term, Atletico must be hoping to retain their recent edge in derby contests. Indeed, not only did Los Colchoneros win the Spanish Super Cup 2-1 on aggregate, they prevailed 4-2 over two legs in the Copa del Rey and took the spoils in both La Liga fixtures, posting 2-1 and 4-0 successes. Their rivals look to be back in sparkling shape, however, putting their patchy form since the turn of the year behind them on the back of Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational scoring exploits.
These sides are crossing paths for the third time at this stage, with Bayern targeting a hat-trick of victories after drawing 1-1 away and winning 2-0 at home on both previous occasions. Josep Guardiola has a frightening array of talent at his disposal, but Porto will look to trouble his charges via the gifted likes of Yacine Brahimi, Cristian Tello and Hector Herrera.
Player to watch
Versatile Argentinian international Roberto Pereyra could aptly be described as one of Juve's secret weapons. Brought through the ranks at River Plate, the 24-year-old first touched down in Europe at Udinese in 2011, but he is now enjoying a fine season on loan with the Italian champions. Deployed by Massimiliano Allegri as a trequartista behind the front two – much as the former AC Milan coach once converted Kevin-Prince Boateng – Pereyra has forged an excellent understanding with leading Serie A marksman and ex-Boca Juniors icon Carlos Tevez.
259 – The record number of times Atletico and Real have locked horns. The history books favour Los Merengues and by quite some margin, with the reigning champions boasting a tally of 135 victories, 58 draws and just 66 defeats.
Did you know?
* Porto are the only side unbeaten in the Champions League this season, having recorded five wins and three draws. No team has lifted the trophy after an unbeaten campaign since Manchester United emerged triumphant in 2008.
* Since the dawn of the Champions League era in 1993, Bayern have appeared in more quarter-finals than any other club, reaching this far 14 times – and on six occasions in the last seven seasons. Their closest rivals are Real and Barcelona, who will both be disputing their 13th last-eight ties. Bayern have gone through in eight of their 13 previous quarter-finals.
* PSG are the proud holders of two European records at the Parc des Princes. Firstly, Les Rouge et Bleu are unbeaten in their last 33 continental encounters at the stadium, with their most recent home reverse a 4-2 loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv on 23 November 2006. Similarly, they have not been toppled there in 14 Champions League matches since a 3-1 defeat by CSKA Moscow on 7 December 2004.
Have your say
Will PSG and Atletico gain revenge and progress to the semi-finals?