Champions League by Konstantinos Pagiavlas is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Liverpool V AS Roma

With Liverpool winning their first leg by 3 goals and Roma losing their first leg by goals, it was very easy to assume that or even forget that Roma had not officially eliminated from the Champions League.

So with the spotlight firmly in the direction Manchester City, one of the tournament favourites, Roma were able to get on with the job at hand to try and overturn their deficit at the Stadio Olimpico.

If, like me, your tele was tuned into the Etihad then, like me, you missed one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Champions League. Roma, the huge underdog, overturned a 3 goal deficit eliminating the mighty Barcelona in front of their rapturous fans.

Where Liverpool are firmly buying into the idea that this will be the year they win their sixth European Trophy, and will have been rubbing their hands when Real Madrid was the second club drawn from the pot.

With Mo Salah in scorching form, and a 5-1 aggregate victory over Manchester City they have the right to believe they can beat the best.

However, Roma are flourishing as the tournament underdogs. Still sitting at a large 9/1 to win the tournament, they are being hugely underestimated. Remember that the group they topped included Chelsea, who they beat, Europa League semi finalists and favourites Atletico Madrid. Even against Barcelona, 2 of the 4 goals conceded at the Nou Camp were own goals, they weren’t completely underdone by Barcelonas play.

Both teams will go into the game with huge confidence after Quarter Final wins, and this could be the tie of the round. Both clubs would have viewed this as the ideal tie in the hope of reaching the final, and the tie will largely be determined by the midfield of both clubs.

I can’t see how this will be a rout for either club, but it will be a largely enjoyable fixture.

Bayern Munich V Real Madrid

Both teams can go into this tie undisturbed by the league, Bayern have already tied up the Bundesliga, and Real are safely in the Champions League places unable to catch Barcelona, with Europe and a third successive Champions League is all that remains if they are to achieve any success this season.

Expect both teams to rest players for their domestic affairs to ensure that their Semi Final lineups are as strong as possible.

Real Madrid have been handed a huge boost today with Sergio Ramos escaping a ban after making his way to the tunnels in the Quarter Finals whilst serving a suspension. As shown against Juventus, Real Madrids defence looks a disorganised mess when Ramos is out of the starting 11. He controls the back 4, and the midfielders fear the repercussions if they make a mistake.

The obvious difference maker in this fixture will be Ronaldo, after scoring one of the all time great Champions League goals, he then emphatically buried the decisive penalty in the last minute against Juventus, he has continued his run of scoring in every match of the tournament so far.

Unless Argentina were to win the World Cup, Ronaldo will know that by leading Real to a third successive he will be in the driving seat for his 6th Balon D’or, which will push him ahead of Messi in his bid to become the best ever.

Jupp Heynckes came out of retirement to steer Bayern in the right direction after they were disassembled in their first Champions League game of the tournament, where they lost 3-0 to PSG.

When he left Bayern they were holders of the treble, and his target will be to achieve the same feat, walking away having enhanced his status as a club legend.

There are a lot of rumours of Lewandowski being head hunted by Real Madrid, and it would be the perfect audition on the grandest stage if he was to be a critical figure over the two legs.

Both fixtures promise to be entertaining affairs, and the fans of all 4 clubs will believe that they have the edge on their opponent. Two sets of fans will be wrong, and two sets of fans will be travelling to Kiev in May.

 

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