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Chelsea, Real, Atlético

Madrid duo and Blues await in semis draw

Bayern’s dream of retaining the Champions League trophy lives on after a 3-1 victory over Manchester United saw Germany’s biggest club through to their eighth semi-final. The holders will learn the identity of their next opponents on Friday in the draw for the last four at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, starting at midday. runs the rule over the last three remaining teams.

After taking on Manchester City in the group phase, Arsenal in the round of sixteen and Manchester United in the quarter-finals, FCB have a one in three chance of meeting another English team in the next round, namely Chelsea. The 2012 winners knocked out French champions Paris St. Germain to book a place in the semis for the seventh time. After going down 3–1 in the French capital, the team coached by José Mourinho sealed the necessary 2–0 victory at Stamford Bridge in West London with goals from former Bundesliga stars André Schürrle and Demba Ba.

The other two potential opponents come from the Spanish capital. Real Madrid overcame last season’s finalists Borussia Dortmund in the last eight to maintain their dream of the Decima, their tenth Champions League/European Cup triumph. The team coached by Italian Mister Carlo Ancelotti lost the return 2–0 in Dortmund but prevailed thanks to a 3–0 victory at home, sending Real through to the semi-finals for the fourth time in a row.

However, the surprise package of this season’s Champions League season are undoubtedly Real’s city rivals Atlético Madrid. The La Liga leaders upset the odds to defeat Barcelona on aggregate and make the last four for the first time in their fourth tilt at Europe’s elite club competition. After battling to a 1–1 draw at Camp Nou, the ensemble coached by Argentine supremo Diego Simeone deservedly won Wednesday’s return at their Estadio Vicente Calderón by the only goal of the game. Atlético are the only team in the competition yet to lose any of their ten games.

“There’s something special about all of the teams. Real have outstanding individuals, Atletico are passionate, and the Chelsea coach has so much experience,” commented Pep Guardiola. “Bayern are hardly the team the others are hoping to draw,” remarked Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. According to Jérôme Boateng, “it doesn’t matter who we meet in the semis. We just want to make the final.“

The semi-final first legs take place on 22 and 23 April, with the returns a week later on 29 and 30 April. The final in Lisbon takes place on 24 May.