Champions League semi finals: Bayern paired with Real, Chelsea face Atletico
Holders Bayern Munich have been paired with Real Madrid in the semi finals of the Champions League while Chelsea will take on Atletico Madrid, after the draw held in Nyon. While Bayern Munich prevailed over English Giants Manchester United by a 4-2 margin, Real Madrid survived by the skin of their teeth to progress by a -2 margin, following a spirited Borussia Dortmund’s fighting 2-0 win at the Westfalenstadion.
Chelsea who were down and out after the 3-1 reversal to French Champions Paris St Germain produced a gritty display as they won by 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with Demba Ba scoring a scruffy late goal in front of the vociferous Stamford Bridge faithful. However the talk of the game week was Atletico Madrid who edged out Barcelona by 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon.
Should both Bayern and Chelsea advance to the final it will be an epic repeat of the 2012 final which the Blues from Stamford Bridge won via penalties.
There is however confusion whether Atletico can field their stand out goalkeeper, young Thibaut Courtois who is on loan from Chelsea. The Belgian has been in stupendous form this campaign being the heartbeat at the defensive cover for Diego Simeone’s men.
UEFA earlier reiterated its position on the Courtois matter saying “any private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as UEFA is concerned.
However news have just come in with Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay confirming Courtois can play for Atletico Madrid against the Blues in the Champions League semi-finals.
“The loan was arranged back in the start of the season and it’s quite simple: Thibaut can play against Chelsea, that was never in doubt. Regarding the UEFA statement that came out, we’ll evaluate that in due course over the next 24-48 hours. But as far as Chelsea’s concerned we’ve complied with loan rules. As far as the player concerned, he can play against Chelsea, if selected by them of course.”
- Bayern Munich have met Real Madrid in five semi-finals, Bayern came out victorious on 4 occasions (1976, 1987, 2001 and 2012), with Madrid’s sole last-four victory in 2000.
- Head to Head : Bayern Munich wins 11, Real Madrid wins 7, Draws 2
- Atletico have qualified for the semi finals in the Champions League for the first time since 1974.
- This is Jose Mourinho’s 5th semi final appearance
- If Real win the coveted title, it will be their 10th Champions League: La Decima
The first legs will be played on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 April with the return legs a week later. The tournament final will be held on 24th May in Lisbon.
Here is what Raphael Honigstein had to say of the draw:
draw prediction: If it’s Madrid v Madrid, people will say it’s a fix. If it isn’t, people will say it’s a fix.
— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) April 11, 2014
Sportzwiki predictions: Will there be a repeat of the 2012 final? Or will the fierce Madrid rivals go head to head at Lisbon? We feel Bayern have the edge to get past Ancelotti’s men while things will be very interesting between Simeone and Mourinho. However going by sheer experience, it should be Chelsea vs Bayern in the finals.
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