By IVES GALARCEP
Defending European champion Bayern Munich will take on a familiar foe in the semifinals this year after being paired with Real Madrid in Friday’s European Champions League semifinal draw.
Pep Guardiola will take on a rival he knows well from his Barcelona days, while Chelsea has been paired with Atletico Madrid in another enticing clash.
Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone are two of the most charismatic managers in the world’s game and their tactical wits will be on full display in a matchup of overachieving teams.
Friday morning also saw the Europa League draw held as well, with Juventus being matched up against Benfica, while Sevilla and Valencia will do battle in an all-Spanish affair.
The first legs of the Champions League will be held April 22nd-23rd, with the second legs set for April 29th-30th. The final is set for May 24th in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Europa League semifinal first legs will take place on April 24th, with the second legs set for May 1st. The Europa League Final will be played on May 14th in Turin, Italy.
What do you think of the match-ups? Who do you see winning the Champions League? Has the exciting action in Europa League made you a fan of the tournament? See Juve lifting the trophy at home?
Share your thoughts below.
I think when there are 8 teams left they should seed the teams 1-8. They should also do more to prevent teams from the same country playing each other until it’s absolutely necessary. Didn’t like Barca and Atletico playing in the last round and now we have it in the Europa semis. Also Real Madrid and Bayern should be set up to play each other in the final.
well, since atletico have pretty much proved they are better than real madrid this year (so far), i have to think the draw worked out pretty well.
I agree. I think Athletico matches up very well against Bayern and is the team Bayern should be most nervous about. I think Athletico v. Bayern will likely be the final and it should be a great game.
So it’s possible to have an all Madrid final. Have two teams from the same city ever played for the Champions League final or its predecessors (if that was possible back then). Also if not, does anybody know what the least geographical distance was between finalists. Just curious.
No city rivals have met in the final, but the following teams have met in finals:
2003 – AC Milan & Juve
2008 – Man U & Chelsea
2013 – Bayern & Dortmund
Not sure what the least geographical distance is of those – and of course there might be finalists in different countries who are closer to each other than, say Manchester & London – but those are the only teams from the same country to meet in a final in the top Euro club competition.
Oops – add to that list the 2000 final, Real Madrid v Valencia.
I believe Bayern Munich will advance to the final simply because their team packed with more experienced players who are accustomed to winning titles on a regular basis.
Real no doubt has quality players and some experienced too, but the tie will come down to individual brilliance and experience which Bayern are more balance in compare to Real.
probably the key is Ronaldo’s fitness. Without him, I don’t think Real could beat Bayern, Atletico or Chelsea.
ditto for Portugal vs USMNT
I agree with you! And another thing is that Aletico has figured out how to play Real and Barcelona.
But if Ronaldo is fit, I think Real has a chance. Bayern is no doubt the best team in the world, but did show signs of weakness against a mostly pitiful Man United coached by a less than cutting edge coach. If Moyes would been smart enough to react more quickly last Wednesday then the game possibly could have had a different ending. Bayern scored the equalizer at 59 minutes and although Roonery was injured and his players were exhausted, Moyes thought it wise to wait until the 74th minute to send in Hernandez and the 79th for Januzaj. Mind boggling. From here on out, Bayern will have to deal with coaches and teams who are at much higher levels then Moyse and Man U.
At 1-1, Man U didn’t have to go for it. After Bayern made it 2-1, Moyes had Hernandez on within a few minutes.
Bayern beats Real 5-1 on aggregate.
wow, i do not see that happening, especially after bayern’s meh display against man u. still think they advance, but only on penalties.
Man U. played cynical park the bus soccer. Real wont do that. They got extremely lucky making it past Dortmund. I think the games will be more wide open. I like Robben’s chances to shine against his old team!
This is a tired criticism. Man U played they way they had to in order to give themselves a chance to advance. It almost worked too except they switched off after they scored and allowed an immediate equalizer. You saw that once they fell behind and had to open things up that Bayern scored again immediately.
Well, if Real plays against Bayern the way they played Wednesday against BVB Dortmund, then a 5-1 ouster in in the realm of possibilities.
I could easily see that. And then I could about as easily see them overpowering whoever makes it to the final from the other side, especially if it ends up being a rematch with Chelsea…
I applied to buy tickets to the final. I had everything ready. The flight I was gonna take and the the hostel I was going to stay at. USA sent me an email saying I didn’t get chosen in the random lottery drawing they do 🙁
Think Jürgen is attending the Real-Munich game?
if he gets tickets, i don’t see why he wouldn’t.
Klopp or Klinsmann? Or do they get in an a two-Jürgens-for-one deal?
Which Jurgen pays for dinner?
Who pays? That’s complicated. See, halfway through the meal, Uli Hoeness steps in and buys Klopp’s steak (but leaves the sides behind).
At the same time, Klinsmann, who after 30 minutes is still trying to decide what to order, notices that Hoeness has a take-and-bake pizza in his car and begs Hoeness to let him have it. Hoeness looks puzzled because, “it’s still raw, not ready to eat,” but Klinsmann insists and Hoeness relents. Curiously, Klinsmann then places the raw pizza in the oven, only to remove it a few minutes later and replace it with various meals—but each for only a few minutes.
By this time, Hoeness has fled the restaurant (turns out he’s been there many times but often left without paying—oops!), but now Herbert Hainer is badgering Klopp to let him have Klopp’s dessert. Klopp, exasperated from all the obsession over his meal, begins screaming unintelligibly and waves his arms wildly as he leaves the restaurant.
Klinsmann finally decides what to order, only to be told “Sorry, we just ran out.” This happens repeatedly until the restaurant is about to close and Klinsmann desperately says, “Fine, I’ll take whatever you have.” The chef assembles a wild concoction (consisting mostly of hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad—with one skinny little piece of bacon), but just as Klinsmann is about to dig in, Asamoah Gyan walks by, spits on Klinsmann’s food, and walks out.
Wow. These are going to be very good matches. Possibly better than the final even.
I am so bummed that Chelsea drew Athletico. That mean Courtois won’t be able to play. I am more understanding of those rules in domestic play (Lukaku can’t face Chelsea) but when it is European play it shouldn’t happen. Chelsea is now has a huge upper hand as I am in the camp that Courtois is the #1 keeper in the world right now.
UEFA came out and more or less said he can and then loan agreement is against the spirit of the game. Should be interesting to see how it turns out.
i think that’s going to be a huge deal.
i don’t really see how it’s any different than precluding a loaned player from playing against their parent club in a domestic competition. if anything, i think that tournament games would be more important, since the stakes for two semifinal legs could be much higher than 2 of 38 games (as in the epl).
The contract is likely not binding because it goes against the spirit of the game. But will Courtois be absolutely 100% against his own home club…
It’s not the best situation, and a distraction at best.
To say nothing of the idea that were he to give up a soft goal or something, some of the less perceptive among viewers will think he may have done it on purpose to appease his employers. It’s a messy situation all around.
“The contract is likely not binding because it goes against the spirit of the game.”
my point was, we see this in domestic leagues all the time. if it goes against the spirit of the game, then fifa needs to step in and ban it.
i’m wondering if chelsea will think it’s worth appealing to CAS.
and i think, if anything, courtois would play even harder against chelsea. he’s been vocal about not going back to chelsea unless he’s first-choice keeper; he’s certainly got something to prove.
Agree, Nate Dollars. In probably a majority of cases there would be conflicting emotions. But not with Courtis. Too much love Atletico and fire in his bell. He most likely will take great pleasure in beating Chelsea.
Too much love FOR Atletico and fire in his bellY.
Don’t know if it’s true, but I read that it’ll cost Atletico 3M pounds per gametophyte play him against Chelsea.
As a Chelsea fan, Ian looking forward to seeing Diego Costa play against his future employers…
It doesn’t go against the spirit of the game. It also protects against the appearance of impropriety, should there be a soft goal or he gives away a penalty or something like that, as others have pointed out. I don’t think for a second Courtois would give less than 100% but others might, including Atletico fans or his teammates.
If anything, the fact that these games are “more important” than domestic league games (which I’m not sure I buy) is an even stronger reason why he shouldn’t play. The moral of the story is that if you rely on loaned players, you risk having something like this happen.
i agree with you, but i hope the moral of the story is: if you’re going to end up whining about one of the clauses, don’t sign the goddamn contract.
ideally, courtois will play, and then atletico will pay chelsea the $6M like they agreed to.
It’s Official Athletico don’t have to pay. I get why. Chelsea may be able to fight it in the courts but… with financial fair play coming up. That might be attention they don’t want.
“Both the Champions League and the disciplinary regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match.”
It added: “It follows that any provision in a private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as Uefa is concerned.?
if it’s article 3 that they’re referring to (which is what atletico said), then i disagree that the provisions are ‘clear’.
it speaks broadly about one club having influence over another club’s ‘management, administration, or sporting influence’.
so, sure, this could fall under that. but by the same measure, any loaned players could fall under that, so then atletico wouldn’t be able to field courtois anyway.
This is a bit of a contradiction to UEFA’s ruling last year (which involved clubs that were not Real, Bayern, Chelsea, etc.). Mo Bangura, on loan to Elfsborg, was set to face his parent club Celtic in a Champions League qualifying round.
“Any agreement between the two clubs that this player wouldn’t play against Celtic should Elfsborg be drawn against them is purely between the clubs. UEFA would not have any involvement or consideration of this agreement….”
Not a total contradiction, since effectively both rulings lead to the same conclusion: the on-loan player plays. But last year UEFA was all hands-ff, whereas this time around UEFA looks to be actively enforcing.
wow. unless we’re both misreading this, i think it’s directly contradicting uefa’s stance in this case.
just to repeat what you quoted:
“Any agreement between the two clubs that this player wouldn’t play against Celtic should Elfsborg be drawn against them is purely between the clubs.
“UEFA would not have any involvement or consideration of this agreement, it would be neither endorsed or enforceable by UEFA.”
Nate, it’s a contradiction, but I don’t think it’s a *total* contradiction. (Not that I’m defending the forthrightness of UEFA!) In both cases, UEFA’s actions/inactions were designed to allow or even encourage the on-loan player to play. That shows consistency.
The inconsistency—the contradiction—this year is that UEFA is threatening to actively step in and punish Chelsea. One way to view that is that UEFA are a bunch of lying, cheating, criminal meddlers who do as they please. Another way (a more optimistic, charitable way) to view it is that UEFA sees that, once again, a restrictive loan agreement will interfere with the spirit of competition, so they are taking a firmer stand on the issue.
“they are taking a firmer stand on the issue”
hm, i see your point, but the “stand”, in the last case, was that uefa would not get involved.
Exactly: “We’re going to ‘stand’ over here and rake in money while you two lesser clubs figure this out” versus this year’s “Did someone say ‘€3M’ but we don’t get a piece?! We won’t ‘stand’ for it!”
They can fight it in CAS, but that will probably happen well after the fact.
This is an interesting story on the issue, noting the Courtois played against Chelsea in the 2012 Super cup and that a Madrid player on loan two Monaco scored twice in the CL quarter finals to knock out Madrid. Story stattes: “Uefa rules stop a club banning a player from playing against another team, but there is nothing to stop what the Spanish refer to as a ‘fear clause’ that means the borrowing club have to pay for the player to face his parent club. “
yep, that’s exactly my case: chelsea is not forbidding atletico from playing courtois; they’re simply expecting atletico to pay what they said they would.