- UEFA Champions League semi-finals take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evening in Lisbon
- Barcelona tormentors Bayern Munich face Manchester City conquerors Lyon
- Paris Saint-Germain seek first European Cup final against underdogs RB Leipzig
LISBON, PORTUGAL – As the last four face-off in midweek in Lisbon, who will make Sunday’s UEFA Champions League final at the Estadio da Luz?
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Bayern competition favourites
Though Bayern Munich’s defeat of Barcelona was not a shock as results go, the manner of their defeat very much was last Friday night, as the Spaniards disintegrated in hitherto unseen fashion.
Their soft underbelly exposed, the Catalan giants were overrun by Die Roten who are now firm favourites to win their first Champions League crown in seven years.
Having put seven past Chelsea in the last-16 over two legs, another eight-goal haul in the quarter-finals confirmed the threat posed by Hansie Flick‘s men, as Lionel Messi was left a broken man.
Aside from the goals brought by tournament top-scorer Robert Lewandowski, the fluidity and flair of Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Ivan Perisic have shown Bayern to have the perfect two ingredients working in tandem; both direct play and speed and fluency in attack.
Even a forgotten Philippe Coutinho bagged a four-minute brace to continue the rout and though the reigning Bundesliga winners are still without Niklas Sule and Benjamin Pavard in defence, Bayern are coping admirably in their absence.
Can anyone stop the Bavarian machine from lifting ‘Ol’ Big Ears’?
Can Lyon claim another scalp?
Lyon are one of two teams that can.
If Barcelona’s stunning capitulation was unexpected, the French side’s elimination of assumed tournament favourites Manchester City was in the same vein, as similarly to the Spaniards, Pep Guardiola‘s penchant for approach play backfired.
At 10-1 odds to beat the Citizens, Rudi Garcia‘s men stunned the football fraternity with two counter-attack strikes from substitute Moussa Dembele late on, as City pushed up in search of a winner at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Saturday.
Having knocked out two of Europe’s biggest names, Lyon have torn up the script for two games running, so could L’OM go for a third stint of giant killing – a victory would arguably be their most impressive?
Stopping Bayern will be a mammoth task for Garcia and his charges, but having put on a resolute showing at the back from Jason Denayer and Marcal, with the versatility of two able full-backs to shackle Alphonso Davies, if anyone can cause an almighty upset, Lyon are the team to do just that.
New name in final
Wednesday night sees underdogs RB Leipzig tread the heady heights of a Champions League semi-final as they take on Paris Saint-Germain, with both sides vying to be the newest name competing in a European Cup final next weekend.
After Julian Nagelsmann‘s men sealed passage into the last four via Tyler Adam‘s late deflected goal against two-time finalists Atletico Madrid, the Germans will look to follow in the footsteps of compatriot side Bayer Leverkusen who reached the finale in 2001.
Without the goals of Timo Werner, Leipzig were not expected to progress to this stage. However, in a last eight that threw up a number of surprises, Nagelsmann again proved to be amongst the canniest stewards around.
In the first-ever competitive meeting between the two sides, there is little form to go on but for the team from Saxony to be given the chance to face Bayern Munich in an all-Bundesliga final on Sunday, that is quite the rabbit to chase.
Have PSG shed ‘chokers’ tag?
Booking their first last-four spot since 1995, Paris Saint-Germain look to have finally lived up to their reputation as champions-in-waiting, but the question remains whether Les Parisiens have finally shed their tag of ‘chokers’?
With minutes to go against Atalanta last time out, it looked as though Thomas Tuchel’s men were again set to fall again after holding the position as tie favourites, before last Wednesday night’s late drama in Lisbon.
Breaking the hearts of La Dea with two late Kylian Mbappe-inspired strikes, former Stoke City forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting netted a 93rd-minute winner as PSG came from behind to reach their second Champions League semi.
Having been eliminated in the last-16 for the last three seasons running – including their infamous 6-5 aggregate loss to Barcelona in 2017 – PSG appear to have gone against the grain in producing a stunning finish, this time to their benefit.
That could leave the Ligue 1 champions in good psychological stead, but with another odds-on status to bring into the game here, can PSG finally reach their first European Cup final 25 years on from defeat to AC Milan?
After a remarkable 12-month competition, two places in Sunday’s final await at the Estadio da Luz.
The UEFA Champions League semi-finals take place in Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, kick-off 20:00 UK time.
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