Friday, 12 April 2013

UEFA Champions League + Europa League Semi-Final Draws with Analysis:

Well. The Last 4 of this season's Champions League and Europa League almost is upon us.
The draws were made this morning, and here are the draws;


UEFA Champions League:

Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona:

This will be a mouthwatering tie, with two very strong sides going head-to-head.
Both sides are currently in first place in their leagues (Bundesliga and Liga BBVA)
 
German side Bayern Munich have been dominative this season, winning the Bundesliga in style and are currently 20 points clear of 2nd placed Borussia Dortmund with games to spare.

They have a strong side to choose from with great players in their squad like Shaqiri, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Gomez, Kroos, Muller and Neuer, and will be desperate to get to the final at Wembley and win it, to get back from the heartbreak of their loss last year in their own stadium.

Sealed with a hit: Claudio Pizarro scores to make it 4-0 on aggregate against Juventus on Wednesday.
Dominative: Bayern celebrate thrashing Italian side Juventus to progress to the semi-finals.
Barcelona on the other hand have made some good comebacks and had some exciting matches on their way to the semis.
They came back from 2-0 against AC Milan (in the first leg) to beat them 4-2 (on aggregate), along with beating PSG 3-3 (away goal rule) in the last round just to get to the position they are at now. 

Almost but not quite: PSG came close to the semis, but missed out on away goals to Barca.
Bullet: Spainard winger Pedro hits a powerful strike from 20 yards out to equalise on th night for Barca.

Breakthrough: Pedro wheels away to celebrate his finish which sealed Barca's place in the semis.

Into the semis: Barcelona go crazy celebrating their dramatic win over PSG on Wednesday.
They also have a strong side, with the best player in the world in Lionel Messi along with midfield maestros Iniesta and Xavi. However, if Messi gets injured like he did in the last round against PSG, Barca will be in trouble.  

Because it is a two-legged tie, the match will be open throughout. 

Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid: 

This match will be the 3rd installment of the on-going mini rivalry between German champions Dortmund and Spainsh champions Real Madrid. 

This two sides were both in Group D at the start of this year's competition, with Dortmund beating Real Madrid 2-1 at home and a 2-2 draw was recorded at The Santiago Bernabeu.  
Both sides will be fired up to get to the final as they know that they will not be able to win their respective leagues this season. 

FACT: Dortmund are the only team left in the competition who have not lost this season.

FACT: Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is the leading top scorer this season, with 11 goals.

Leading scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal against Galatasaray, to make it 11 this season

Dortmund beat Shakthar 5-2 in the Last 16, before a dramatic 3-2 victory over Malaga in the last round to get here. 

Amazing: Dortmund fans unveil a massive banner - meaning a BVB supporter looking for glory before the 2nd leg against Malaga

In-form Robert Lewandowski celebrates equalising for Dortmund at home to score his 6th CL goal of the season.

Back with a chance: German forward Marco Reus celebrates making it 2-2 with minutes to play.

Late goal: Defender Felipe Santana taps the ball into the net to make it 3-2 on the night, and put Malaga out.

Late victory: Dortmund celebrate progressing through to the Last 4 with a 3-2 win over Malaga at home.
Still in with a chance: Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates his side's dramatic victory at home

Meanwhile, Real Madrid beat Manchester United and Galatasaray to reach the semis.    


Chelsea legend: Didier Drogba celebrates scoring at home for Galatasaray to make it 4-1 (to Real) on aggregate.

Arsenal flop: Fellow Ivorian team-mate Emmanuel Eboue celebrates making it 2-1 to Galatasaray, (4-2 on agg)

Surely not: New signing Wesley Sneijder celebrates making it 3-1, giving them slight hope of progressing.
Ties to be played;
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona - 23rd of April, 1st of May
Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid - 24th of April, 30th of April


UEFA Europa League:

Basel vs Chelsea

The only English team left in either UEFA competition is Chelsea. They will look to knock out Tottenham's conquerors Swiss side Basel, who won dramatically 4-1 on penalties last night, while The Blues were forced to hang on to a 5-4 aggregate score against Russian side Rubin Kazan at the same time. 

Both sides had to fight hard just to get to the semis, with both teams also having strong sides.
Chelsea will be the slight favourites in this match, despite the fact that they tend to underestimate European teams in UEFA competitions. 

Basel have good players like Valentin Stocker and Marco Streller, but they will miss the pace and attacking flair of former winger Xherdan Shaqiri who moved to Bayern last summer.    

The Blues have top class players like Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, along with striker Fernando Torres who is unpredictable at the best of times.

This tie will be interesting, that's for sure. 

Fenerbache vs Benfica

Portugese side Benfica will be looking to progress to the final after some hard work against British side Newcastle in the last round. They had to play very well to ensure they got to the semis, and they will be hoping that they do not let the hard work go to waste. 

However, you should not count out Fenerbache who have former Liverpool players Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles among others in their squad.

Interesting ties all round, with no dead certain favourites in either draws to progress to the finals in Wembley (CL) or Amsterdam (EL).