CL Semi-finals Preview

With the CL semi-finals upon us, let’s take a look at the two showdowns!

The season is nearing its end now and with only a few weeks to go the race for titles, European spots and cup wins is certainly heating up. We are down to the last four in the CL and there are two German sides left along with one Spanish and one French.

The lack of any English teams will certainly be a disappointment to the PL clubs but many neutrals will be glad that Manchester City won’t be winning a second title in a row. Despite dominating their semi-final against Real Madrid, it was the Spanish team that progressed on penalties against the defending Champions. German giants Bayern Munich squeezed past Arsenal, Dortmund won a highly entertaining tie against Atletico Madrid and PSG got the better of Barcelona following a controversial 4-1 away win. All that leaves us with two clashes, Dortmund against PSG and Bayern Munich versus Real Madrid with an all-German final a real prospect. 

Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid 

Two European giants clash in the first of the semi-finals with Bayern looking to avoid their first trophyless season since 2012. This has all the makings of a classic as there is such an impressive history between these two giants of the European game. Amazingly, these two teams have only met twice in the group stages of the CL but have met each other 24 times in knockout rounds! There is very little between the two in terms of wins with Real Madrid just edging it with 12 compared to Bayern’s 11 with the remaining three ending in a draw. Bayern’s dominance of German football ended this season with Leverkusen’s Bundesliga triumph but they are unbeaten in European home games since a loss to PSG back in April 2021. They do not have a good recent record against Real Madrid though, failing to win any of their last seven head to heads, including three home defeats. 

Real Madrid can count themselves somewhat lucky to be in this semi-final as they were by far the second best team against Manchester City. They are obviously very, very experienced at this level of football and know that there is more than one way to win a match. They managed to rest some players for their La Liga win on Friday and go into this match with few injury or fitness concerns of note. Real Madrid are now in a 10-match CL unbeaten run and are the favourites to win the tournament since Manchester City are no longer involved. They have won five consecutive away CL matches and the only team to have beaten Real Madrid away from home since February 2002 were RB Leipzig. Real have already won two matches in Germany this season, getting the better of Union Berlin and RB Leipzig and in Ancelotti they have a manager who has an unbeaten record against Bayern from his time at AC Milan and Madrid.

Dortmund vs Paris SG

The second of the semi-finals should be another exciting affair with two attacking teams taking on each other. Dortmund will be hoping to reach their first CL final since 2013 and it is French giants PSG that stand in their way of making it a potential all-German final. They will be well aware that they will need to take advantage of their home leg before heading over to France if they are to stand a decent chance of making it through. That being said, Dortmund’s home record has not been the most impressive, with only six wins from their last twelve knockout matches. Last weekend would not have given them much encouragement either as they lost 4-1 to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, a result which means they are all but out of the race to finish in the top four so the only guaranteed way that they will be taking part in next seasons competition is by winning it this year, although it is possible that fifth spot might be enough in Germany. These two teams have already met earlier in the season in the so called ‘Group of Death’. Dortmund won the group ahead of PSG, AC Milan and Newcastle but they failed to beat PSG, drawing at home and losing in Paris.

The Parisians had a bit of a hangover last weekend as they celebrated winning yet another Ligue 1 title, but struggled to get a draw against relegation threatened Le Havre. They will need to be focused on this next challenge though as their record in Germany is a poor one, only one win in their last seven visits. The CL is the prize that they really covet and one that has escaped them over recent years despite huge spending on many star players. Their most recent final appearance was in 2020 and they will be desperate to add to that and go one step further to finally add their name to the list of winners of Europe’s most prestigious trophy. A positive result in this first leg in Germany will certainly go a long way to ensuring their place in the final at Wembley on the 1st of June. 

Last updated: 30.04.2024