Real Face Bayern In Blockbuster Semi


Champions League holders Bayern Munich have been drawn against Real Madrid in this season’s semifinals, while Atletico Madrid take on 2012 winners Chelsea.

Bayern are aiming to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy and beat Manchester United 3-1 on Wednesday to book a place in the last four; for Real it is a clash with German opposition for the second successive round after they narrowly saw off Dortmund in the quarterfinals.

The tie sees Pep Guardiola renew acquaintances with Real, having faced them numerous times as coach of Barcelona, including a Champions League semifinal triumph over Los Blancos in 2011.

Both Guardiola and Real coach Carlo Ancelotti have won the competition twice previously and should one of them triumph this year they would become only the second coach after Liverpool’s Bob Paisley to lift the European Cup on three occasions.

Also gunning for that honour is Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who won the competition with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.

He takes his Chelsea side back to Madrid — where he worked as coach of Real for three years — to face an Atletico team currently sitting top of La Liga and on the crest of a wave after beating Barcelona to claim a spot in their first semifinal in the competition since 1974.

A major player in Atletico’s progress to the last four has been goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan from semifinal opponents Chelsea.

It had previously been thought that, due to a clause in the loan contract, the Belgian would not be able to play against the Blues. However, UEFA on Friday claimed that any attempts to prevent Courtois’ involvement would be “unenforceable”.

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