Champions League Semifinals Preview
Welcome back readers, it’s that time again, time to break down the matchups for the next round of Champions League. This time we have the semifinals approaching, and after a wild week two, there are a couple of surprises in the final four. After a stunning 3-0 victory at home, Roma have secured a spot in the semis for the first time ever, and they did not upset alone. In a smaller upset, still a decent one, Liverpool upset Manchester City to get themselves into the semis for the first time in 10 years. Along with them we have the duo that everyone expected to be here; defending champions Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich. As with every round, I will give you my previews and predictions, and feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions as well. Without further ado, I’m Michael Hamby for WPTS Radio, and here are my predictions for the Champions League Semifinals.
Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich:
Two super teams collide here for this Champions League semifinal. Bayern Munich have run through their competition so far in this tournament, including handling their opponents Sevilla in the quarterfinals. Munich always have a strong team, but one of the reasons for their standing as the favorites in the tournament is the play of poacher Thomas Mueller. Mueller has been on top of his game lately, posting 3 goals and 2 assists in Champions League, which is a change of pace for the 28 year old attacking midfielder. In general, Munich do rely heavily on their defense, which has been one of the stronger ones in Europe for the last several years. Real Madrid on the other hand have been hot and cold. For the majority of the first part of the year they were in poor form with the occasional flash of brilliance. The new year has been a very different story. Real Madrid have looked like the back to back UCL champions that they are, playing at a strong level that pushed them back into contention to finish off a magnificent three peat. Madrid’s success is of course lead by their leading man, Cristiano Ronaldo. The genetic specimen has been putting on a show, accumulating an astonishing 15 goals in the Champions League. However, just when it looked as though Real were going to cruise their way to another UCL final the second leg of Juventus happened. The backline looked horrible, and the lack of strength in the center was exposed pretty badly by Juve’s front line. With all of this taken into account, it seems as though this match should be a very interesting one. Two blue bloods of European soccer clash in an epic showdown, and I like the German club in this one. Bayern have been the more consistent team this season, and with Real finally coming down off of their high, this one seems dusted.
Prediction: Bayern Munich advances 5-3 on aggregate
Liverpool vs Roma
UEFA blew it. They absolutely ruined what could have been a beautiful final. Instead of getting the two underdog teams fighting in Kiev this summer, we are instead having to settle for them in the semifinal match. How did we get here? Well for Liverpool there are three reasons; Mane, Firmino, and of course Salah. Those three have provided liverpool with 28 goals tournament, easily enough to lead all teams. Roma on the other have used absolute pure magic to get where they are. With all of the talent that this team have, it shouldn’t be a surprise necessarily that Roma made it to a decent distance in the tournament. However, when they drew Barcelona things seemed to be over for the Italian side. This all changed however, after one unbelievable night in Rome. That night changed the course of the tournament, and it now certainly belongs amongst some of the greatest European nights in history. The past is the past however, and this Liverpool side presents a new challenge that Roma seemingly haven’t faced before. There are a handful of teams in Europe as in form as the Reds, who have a total of four losses this season in all competitions, including none in the Champions League this season. Liverpool have been playing strong, including only two losses in the new year, and three wins over European giant Manchester City, something that has never been done against a Pep Guardiola side before. Liverpool will be tested heavily however, as the Roma front has shown its ability to fight on despite scoreline. Edin Dzeko has been brilliant as of late, and provided Roma with all of the moments that pushed the club over the edge. With talented players like El Shaarawy, and Nainggolan, this should be a series with plenty of goals, and Roma better hope they can keep up. If there has been one rule I have learned in this tournament, it is that Liverpool will get theirs, so Roma better do the same. As for this one, I wish so much that it could be the final, but I like the Reds.
Prediction: Liverpool advances 6-3 on aggregate