Four Teams, two games and no favorites. This is the motto of the upcoming semi-finals of the Champions League.
Atlético Madrid vs FC Chelsea
In the first game Atlético Madrid will play against the former Champions League winner Chelsea FC. The home team Atlético Madrid eliminated the renowned club from Barcelona in two exciting matches and is hoping to land a great coup. Atlético achieved an important 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the quarter-final against FC Barcelona and provided the foundation to advance to the next round. In the second leg Atlético won 1-0 at home against Messi & Co and the sensation was complete.
Chelsea is the next opponent for the Spanish team and they play typical English football: good defence combined with physical and ball-winning abilities and fast counter-attacks. After the 1-3 defeat in the first leg of the quarter-final in Paris, everyone was convinced that this was the end for Mourinho’s team but they managed to turn things around in the second match by winning 2-0. The German player André Schürrle was introduced after an injury to Hazard and scored the goal to the 1-0 lead. A late Demba Ba goal sent Chelsea into the Champions League semi-finals on away goals.
In the semi-finals Chelsea will play their well-known game and rely on counter-attacks in order to break Atlético’s defence. They have outstanding offensive players like Hazard, Schürrle, Willian, Oscar or Eto´o who are difficult to stop for opponents. In the defence, Mourinho will miss the services of Ivanovic as he is banned after a yellow card.
The home team will miss Turkish left-winger Arda Turan, who has been ruled out due to a groin injury. The player will not be match-fit in time. Diego Costa will be fit to face Chelsea in the Champions League despite colliding with a post in Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 win at Getafe last week. The 25-year-old striker, who has scored 34 goals in 42 matches is irreplaceable for Atlético. Atlético is currently in first place in the Primera División and undefeated since ten games in all competitions. In the Champions League Atlético lost no single game all the way through to the semi-finals. The team of coach Simeone is bursting with self-confidence after having reached the round of four. For the bookmakers the team from Madrid is favored to win the game and the winning odd is between 1.90 and 2.05.
However, one shouldn’t write off the Blues too easily as the return game against Paris revealed the quality and morale of the team. Mourinho is a true tactical wizard who can prepare his team perfectly for their rivals. This game will be open and uncertain till the end and only the form of the day can decide the game. Both teams play at their highest level this season and will try everything to win the game. The odds are very good at the moment, between 3.20 and 4.73, if you bet on Chelsea to win away at Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Two years ago, both teams played against each other in the semi-finals of the Champions League and Bayern advanced to the final after winning the penalty shootout. Bayern lost the final match in Munich against Chelsea after the penalty shootout. Ever since then Bayern is riding on a wave of success and last year they won the triple. This season they are in the title chase again.
In the first leg of the semi-finals Bayern will play away at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid eliminated Dortmund in the round of eight and is in good shape at the moment. It is the best time for Madrid to play against Bayern Munich because the German record champion has shown poor performance in recent games. After a draw against Hoffenheim they lost the game against Augsburg and were defeated 0-3 by their rivals from Dortmund. The glory of triple winner Bayern Munich has faded a bit as the team shows a lack of concentration and stability especially in the defence. In the offence it is true that they have great attackers but the lack of goal-scoring abilities is obvious at the moment. Nonetheless, Bayern Munich clinched the Bundesliga title in record time and the recent results should not be overestimated. In the first leg of the quarter-finals it was a hard-fought game in Manchester, which finally ended 1–1. In the return game at the Allianz Arena United took the lead after a goalless and tense first half when Patrice Evra fired home a wonderful half-volley from the edge of the box. But United were pegged back just over 60 seconds later as they allowed Mario Mandzukic to head home from close range. Less than 10 minutes later, Thomas Muller converted from the edge of the six-yard box after great work from Arjen Robben on the right. Robben, who was United’s main tormentor all evening, then decided the tie on 76 minutes as he cut inside from the right flank before sending a shot past David de Gea.
In order to win against Real Madrid in the semi-finals, Bayern needs a top performance. Bayern’s defence must be careful against world-class players like Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema. Bayern will miss Thiago Alcantara’s quickfire passing, but still have a plethora of options in the center to lean on.
Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo is hopeful of making his comeback from injury in the Champions League against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. The Portugal international has not featured for Carlo Ancelotti’s men since the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund on April 2, originally missing out with a knee injury before picking up a hamstring problem. Real Madrid lost the return game in Dortmund 0-2 and advanced to the semi-finals with a 3-2 win on aggregate. The 29-year-old was disappointed not to be involved in Madrid’s Copa del Rey final win over Barcelona on Wednesday, but hopes to face reigning European champions Bayern at Santiago Bernabeu next week.
Real Madrid relies on their defending abilities at Bernabeu. If they get chances to score goals, they probably will and then it is difficult to stop a team with so many world-class attackers. Bayern’s success, like that of Guardiola’s Barcelona in the period from 2008 to 2012, is about dominating midfield, mastering possession. In theory, there cannot be too many great midfielders on their staff. Both teams are very dangerous and will fight hard to win the game which will be open and uncertain until the final whistle. Oddsmakers slightly favor home team Real Madrid in the first leg of the semi-finals (odd of 2.20 to 2.50). However, Bayern will do everything and try to play their best football in order to achieve a good result for the return game in Munich. The odd for an away win at the Bernabeu is between 2.65 and 3.10.