The last round looked like they would be a damp squib, in the end they developed into some of the most tense ties of the Champions League so far.
Liverpool v Roma
The two worst teams left in the competition managed to draw each other in the semis, it’s a classic situation. Despite the fact that City-Barcelona sounds like a much more appetising match, you have to give Liverpool and Roma in particular credit for making it this far. Neither are fantastic teams, neither are a top ten team in Europe, however both have showed up in a big way in the quarter finals.
Liverpool matched up really well against City and showed their class, in particular in attack, as they brushed aside the apparent once in a generation City side. Liverpool are favourites and so they should be. What I do find odd is how confident Liverpool fans are to win this tournament despite being a distant third in the best team stakes. They have an outstanding attack, with a player who is having a world class season, however it is hard to ignore the fact that their defence is shambolic at times. Yes the defence has improved as the season has progressed but it is still piss poor. They’re lucky they drew the worst team in the competition because over two legs they wouldn’t have a chance against Real or Bayern. Who’d have thought that Liverpool’s fans were deluded…
I’m amazed Roma are still in the competition and then when you consider they turned around a three goal deficit against Barcelona, it makes it even more ridiculous. It’s ironic that the supposedly great City team who had a three goal deficit to overturn were going to do it (!!!) only to be put in their place with a limp performance, only for Roma a team who aren’t good enough to be at this stage did exactly the same job. Roma are definitely the underdogs, they shouldn’t be beat Liverpool (much like they shouldn’t beat Barca) but they do match up well against their opponents. Roma can defend, have character and have the players to take advantage of Liverpool’s struggles both defensively and at being out muscled.
Liverpool should win this tie, however Roma really do match up well against them. Both teams have the potential to be vulnerable and I don’t think the gap is as big as a lot of people are thinking. I wouldn’t be shocked if Roma were to go through, but it should be Liverpool.
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid
The two best teams in the competition meet each other in a classic glamour semi final. Bayern sluggishly went through against an average Sevilla team, whereas Real almost blew a three goal lead against Juve prior to a last second penalty being awarded.
Bayern have been shit hot since Heynckes took over, they are a complete side. Every position has quality, they have leaders and winners all over the pitch and that is why I think they are the most likely team to lift the trophy. They match up well against Real, they can control possession and have a striker who can dominate their backline. They have the defenders who can keep Real under wraps, which is ultimately the question, will they be able to contain Ronaldo? Bayern have become perennial semi failed semi finalists, the last time they weren’t was when they won it under Heynckes, possibly an omen.
Real have had a really average season, yet once again when it comes to Champions League knockouts they have come alive. Real have actually been very good this calendar year, but it’s hard to look past the vulnerabilities they showed at the start of the year. If Ronaldo shows up then they have a chance but if he is doesn’t then it’s Bayern all day long. It’s funny to think that if Real were to make the final that they’d have their easiest task of the competition so far in the actual final. If they make the final then I think they’ll win it.
I think this is a tight game but I do think that Bayern will have the quality to go through. If Ronaldo does a Ronaldo then you never know, his form this year has been ridiculous and you know he loves the big occasion. Real have a great team, but if one man doesn’t show up then they’ll be lost, Bayern don’t have this problem. The winner of this tie will win the Champions League.
It’s a weird semis, we were expecting the four of best teams in Europe instead we got two of the best and Liverpool-Roma. I don’t like any of these teams personally but if I were to pick then I’d rather Roma won because it would be something different at the very least.
So what are your predictions for the Champions League semi finals? Leave a comment and share those thoughts.