As we reach the half way stage in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals it has been a case of late goals and underdogs proving the wheir worth. Juventus and Real Madrid both exited at the last 16 stage to Lyon and Manchester City respectively. Atletico Madrid became the next big name to fall as they were beaten 2-1 by RB Leipzig. A surprise in many people’s eyes but Atletico have had an overall disappointing season and were second best on the day to a more positive Leipzig side who continue their fabulous journey under manager Nagelsmann, despite the absence of star striker Timo Werner, following his transfer to Chelsea. RB Leipzig reach their first Champions League semi-final, opened the scoring five minutes into the second half when Spaniard Dani Olmo headed home Marcel Sabitzer’s cross. However, Diego Simeone’s team drew level thanks to substitute Joao Felix, who both won and converted a penalty with 19 minutes to go. With extra-time looming, though, Leipzig won it thanks to their own substitute as Adams saw his low drive deflect in past a helpless Jan Oblak via Stefan Savic’s outstretched leg.
The other Quarter Final to have been played saw PSG scrape through thanks to tow late gaols by unlikely sources to reverse a 1-0 deposit to Atalanta. Centre back Marquinhos and former Stoke City forward Choupo-Moting both scored in stoppage time to save the Paris side’s blushes and reach semi-finals for first time in 25 years. Thomas Tuchel’s side looked set for another agonising quarter-final exit after Mario Pasalic’s 26th-minute strike gave Atalanta a deserved half-time lead at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. PSG lacked inspiration throughout although Neymar missed two very good chances in the first half. The introduction of Kylian Mbappe, who was named on the bench for PSG following an ankle injury that changed the match. PSG advance to face RB Leipzig in the Semi Finals and will fancy their chances of making the Final.
Tonight sees two giants of the game go head to head as Barcelona face Bayern Munich. Barcelona are facing the prospect of going a season without a trophy if they fail to win this completion after they were beaten to the La Liga Title by Real Madrid. Bayern however are in fantastic form following a comprehensive win in the previous round against Chelsea. The match has been billed as Messi v Lewandowski, The later could beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s champions league record goal tally.
“We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm.” That was Lionel Messi’s brutal assessment of this current Barcelona side.
Lewandowski in full flight. The Polish striker has confirmed his status as one of the modern era’s greatest goal scorers this season, finding the net 53 times in 44 appearances across all competitions.
This is the first Champions League meeting between Barcelona and Bayern Munich since 2014/15, when Barcelona knocked Bayern out in the semi-final. However, Barcelona have lost more Champions League games against Bayern than any other club, losing five of their eight matches against them (W2 D1).
The final Quarter Final sees England’s last representative and many people’s favourites Manchester City face Lyon. City will be odds-on to win however as previous matches have proved underdogs cannot be under-estimated, Lyon were underdogs against Juventus but progressed. If City do progress they will face their sternest test against Bayern or Barcelona in what is the tougher half of the draw.
In this forever difficult completion to predict the best I can do is say that whoever wins the Semi-Final on this side of the draw will be favourites in the Final.