The Champions League is down to the last four teams, with two mouth-watering semi-finals ready to delight onlookers. Firstly Real Madrid, who have won every game in this year’s competition, take on German giants Bayern Munich in what should be a close and exciting 180 minutes. Then, current holders Barcelona face Chelsea, who will look to make amends for elimination at the hands of the Spaniards at the same stage of the competition back in 2009.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid
High hopes revolve around Bayern’s Champions League campaign, as with the final to be played at the Allianz Arena, many are tipping the Bavarian side to be able to challenge current champions Barcelona. However, to get to that stage Jupp Heynckes’ men must overcome poor domestic form of late and an ominously dangerous opponent in the form of Real Madrid.
Die Roten have all but conceded the Bundesliga title for the second year in a row, with a 1-0 defeat to holders and current top team Borussia Dortmund last week acting as a hammer blow. A disappointing 0-0 draw against Mainz at the weekend means that Bayern are eight points adrift, and now must to look to Europe to salvage their campaign.
Real Madrid on the other hand are flying high, but have a massively important week ahead of them. Added to the back-to-back fixtures against Bayern is a Clasico showdown against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Saturday. With a four-point lead over their rivals, Los Blancos can all but seal the Primera Division championship with a win, but will be feeling the pressure should they lose.
The Santiago Bernabeu outfit have scored 107 goals in 33 La Liga games this term, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema free-scoring and in fantastic form. Jose Mourinho’s men will go into the tie as slight favorites, but will have to whether a storm in the first leg in Germany.
The first leg of this clash at the Allianz Arena is available for American audiences to view at 2:30pm ET today on FOX Soccer
Chelsea vs Barcelona
Competition favorites Barcelona face a potential banana-skin tie in taking on Chelsea, with the first leg of the clash at Stamford Bridge this week.
The Premier League side have looked rejuvenated since Roberto Di Matteo took temporary control of the west London club, with the former midfielder instilling renewed pride and confidence into the outfit’s senior players. A 5-1 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday will see the Blues entering the game on a roll, and the hosts will look to rattle their illustrious opponents in England.
Chelsea have looked impressive on the continent this term, with commanding home victories over Valencia and Napoli complemented by progression against Benfica in the last round. The Blues will have revenge on their minds after a controversial last-minute Andres Iniesta goal at Stamford Bridge saw the English team eliminated on the verge of the final in 2009. Dani Alves has added fuel to the fire by claiming that the Chelsea players are scared of the attacking prowess of Barcelona, and the first leg in England should be an explosive encounter.
Barcelona have had their moniker as the best team in the world challenged this term, with Pep Guardiola’s men facing a battle to retain ascendancy at home and in Europe. Despite this, the Blaugrana have been in exceptional form of late and will take some beating if they are to be denied their third Champions League title in four years.
Lionel Messi continues to amaze the sporting world, and will look to inspire Barcelona to victory over Chelsea. The Argentina international has scored 60 goals this season in an unbelievable feat, and has also become the club’s all-time top goalscorer at the age of 24-years-old. Add to this a fantastic starting XI full of internationals, and Barcelona are rightfully the favorites for this tie.
To see Europe’s champions take on a resurgent Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge tune in to FX at 2:30pm ET Wednesday (and live on FOX Soccer 2Go)
So who is your money on? Will it be an all-Clasico final? Or will Bayern overcome Madrid to take the title on home soil? Maybe Chelsea can do the unthinkable and down the holders? One thing is for sure; you do not want to miss a minute of European soccer at its best.
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