The 2014 UEFA Champions League semifinals has three teams that have won the competition in the past: Real Madrid (nine times), Bayern Munich (five times) and Chelsea (once). Atletico Madrid have been to the finals once.
Two Spanish teams, one German side and one from England. Favorites? We probably won’t know until we see pairings for the four matches, but there’s a distinct difference between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, clearly superior through their quality; and Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, who are the more defensive, disciplined and “tactical” of the four.
The magical season for Atletico Madrid continues, as they lead the league in Spain with one point ahead of Barcelona, and now knocked out Barcelona in the quarterfinals with a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou and a 1-0 win (Koke in the 5th minute) at the Vicente Calderon to make it into the Champions League semifinals for the first time since 1974, when they reached the final, losing to Bayern Munich. Diego Costa, who didn’t play in the second leg against Barcelona, is the team’s leading scorer in the competition with 7 goals. They are still undefeated in the competition this season, drawing only twice so far.
The German champions (clinched the title over a week ago) and the defending European champions made it through the quarterfinals with a hard earned 4-2 aggregate victory over Manchester United. After a 1-1 draw at the Old Trafford, they needed a wake up call in the form of a Patrice Evra goal, leading to three goals in 21 minutes from Mandzukic, Muller and Arjen Robben. Bayern comfortably lead the league in Germany. Their top scorer in the competition is Thomas Muller with five goals so far.
Chelsea are in the semifinal for the second time in three years thanks to a 3-3 away goals aggregate victory against PSG. They lost 3-1 in Paris, but an early goal from Andre Schurrle and a late one from Demba Ba gave them a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, sparking wild celebrations. Chelsea have slipped to second in the English Premier League, two points behind the leaders Liverpool, but also two matches more than Manchester City (third) who are only two points behind them. Three players – Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, lead the team’s scoring in the competition with three goals.
It wasn’t easy, but Real Madrid managed to pull through with a 3-2 aggregate win in the quarterfinals over Dortmund. They won 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu but barely made it through, losing 2-0 in Germany. Things change quickly in the Spanish La Liga, and Real Madrid are now third, three points behind Ateltico Madrid and two behind Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo, who didn’t play in the second leg and is out for at least two weeks, is their leading scorer with 14 goals, tied for the record, shared with Messi.