Champions League semi-final draw
The draw for the Champions League semi-finals was made on 15th April and it has thrown up two intriguing fixtures for the football fans to look forward to.
Manchester City vs. Real Madrid
The Citizens have had a bit of a weird season so far. They started the Premier League campaign quickly off the blocks and went on to win their first four matches without conceding a single goal. But soon enough their form deteriorated and reached such nadir that in March it was feared that they might not even make the last four.
However, of late, they have shown signs of resurgence. When they were drawn to face Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final of the Champions League not many thought that Manuel Pellegrini’s men would go past the Parisians, but they did it and, quite comfortably, too.
Real Madrid have shown signs of life since Zinedine Zidane took over the reins of the club following the sacking of Rafael Benitez and are now just within touching distance of arch rivals Barcelona in the race for the league title.
They made a stirring comeback in their quarter-final tie against Wolfsburg to win 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to overcome the 2-0 deficit in Germany and advance to the last four.
Real Madrid are synonymous with success in the Champions League and it will be a challenge for the Citizens to stop Los Blancos as they attempt to win their 11th European Cup and second in three years.
Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
This looks a delectable clash on paper. The last time the two teams met was in the final of the 1974 European Cup – incidentally, the first time Atletico Madrid played in the European Cup final. They lost to the Bavarians after a last minute goal.
The contrasting playing styles of Diego Simeone’s and Pep Guardiola’s men make it an intriguing affair for the fans to look forward to.
Simeone’s men made light work of Barcelona in their quarter-final fixture to progress ahead of the reigning Spanish and European champions to reach the last four. Under the Argentine manager Los Rojiblancos have made rapid strides and increasingly look like a fixture amongst the European elite. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have had two difficult fixtures leading to the semi-final. They won narrowly against Juventus in the last 16 and then had a determined Benfica to contend with in the last eight.
Simeone is known for solid defensive organisation of his side and his ability to get his team to hit the opposition on the counter. On the other hand, Guardiola is the flag bearer of attacking football, meant to maximise the potential of his men.
This should prove to be 180 minutes of absorbing action between two teams who never give up until the final whistle is blown. It will also go a long in proving if Guardiola has finally learnt to unlock tight defences, something that he struggled with while being at the helm of Barcelona.