Champions League semifinals set as Spanish powers join Chelsea and Bayern Munich
The final four clubs vying for European glory are set, as soccer fans witnessed the completion of the second legs of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals this week.
Spanish powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid both advanced to the next round, setting up a possible “El Clasico” final in Munich, Germany. After finishing 0-0 in the first leg, Barcelona overcame AC Milan 3-1 in the second fixture to overtake the Italian giants. Real Madrid coasted by Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia, winning 5-2 earlier in the week, and 8-2 on aggregate.
The two Spanish clubs will be joined by German club Bayern Munich, as well as West London powerhouse Chelsea. Bayern overcame Marseille this week 2-0 at Allianz Arena, matching their scoreline from the first leg at Stade Velodrome. Chelsea survived a spirited effort from Portuguese side Benfica, as Raul Meireles slammed home a beautiful strike for the Blues late in the second leg for a 2-1 victory. This, combined with Chelsea’s 1-0 win in the first leg at Estadio da Luz, ensured that England will have a representative in the semifinals.
Bayern is now set to face Real Madrid in on April 17th for the first leg of its semifinal. If the German club can pull out what will be a difficult victory over two legs, it will get a home match in the final. If that occurs, it will be a big task for either of the other two sides to defeat them on club soccer’s biggest stage. Chelsea will host Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the other semifinal one day later.
Regardless of how it plays out, it will no doubt be two fascinating fixtures that will leave supporters of all four clubs biting their nails. Who will the hero be? Will Messi continue to shine, or will Frank Lampard be able to navigate the Blues to the final? And will Cristiano Ronaldo continue to make his case as one of the top players in the world, or will Ivica Olic help Bayern shock everyone en route to a final at home?
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