Potential Champions League Finals: Subplots a-plenty (despite Man City, Arsenal exits)

There are only four possible UEFA Champions League final match-ups following the conclusion of the quarterfinal round this week.

Gone are Manchester City, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona, clubs that have combined for 14 Champions League finals and six European Cups.

[ MORE: List of UEFA Champions League finals, winners ]

So we won't see subplots like Pep Guardiola versus former clubs Barcelona or Bayern Munich. There will neither be El Clasico in London nor Erling Haaland reuniting with Dortmund for the European Cup.

There will also not be high-profile semifinal match-ups of Arsenal and Man City or a Madrid derby.

But there will be a juicy final, for sure. Here are the four possible finals in order of increasing intrigue. We'll try not to dock the pair of options that would be final rematches for familiarity's sake.

Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain

We saw this final coming out of the pandemic pause, with Thomas Tuchel on the PSG touchline as Paris-born winger Kingsley Coman downed his former club. It would be a third UCL final for Tuchel with three different teams after leading Chelsea to the 2020-21 crown. PSG going for its first European Cup while Bayern tries to join AC Milan for the joint-second-most with seven.

Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund

Achraf Hakimi, Ousmane Dembele, and Jude Bellingham were megawatt stars in the BVB set-up at certain points and now would join several ex-Bayern stars to try and stop Dortmund from becoming just the second German team to win multiple European Cups. That's tasty, but there's not much else here besides rooting for the relative underdog to stop Real from improving its record European Cup haul from 14 to 15.

Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe is one of the best players in the world. PSG is one of the biggest clubs in the world. Neither have a Champions League crown, and Mbappe is widely-expected to leave for Real Madrid this summer. In fact, it feels almost likely that the reason Mbappe and Real haven't announced the union is to avoid increased awkwardness in this very scenario. The mega-rich status of these clubs also means there's already incredible crossover between the squads as few others can afford the wages. PSG's Keylor Navas, Achraf Hakimi, and Marco Asensio have all won the UCL with Real.

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

Yes, we've seen Der Klassiker in the final. Yes, Dortmund and Munich have already met twice this year (the away teams won both in clean sheet fashion). And no, neither of these sides are the best in Germany this season. But Thomas Tuchel on his way out of Munich, managing Bayern in the final against his former club Dortmund? Come on. Former Dortmund star Raphael Guerreiro would also meet his former club, with ex-Bayern men Mats Hummels, Marcel Sabitzer, Emre Can, and Niklas Sule on the flip side. There's also Premier League subplot intrigue. Jadon Sancho to win the Champions League on loan from Manchester United? Harry Kane and Eric Dier leaving Spurs to win the European Cup? There are more reasons, to be sure, and this rivalry rises above the familiarity of the two teams involved to claim our No. 1 spot.