RE­TURN TO MADRID FOR HEYNCKES, BACK TO ROME FOR SALAH

It’s hard to say who will make it to the win­ner’s cir­cle when Real Madrid face Bay­ern Mu­nich for a spot in the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal

CityPress - - Sport - PETER AUF DER HEYDE sports@city­press.co.za

Bay­ern Mu­nich and Real Madrid got the draw they were hop­ing to avoid in the Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nal.

The Madrid gi­ants sur­vived a scare against Ju­ven­tus in the quar­ter­fi­nal re­turn leg.

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s penalty was the home goal Real needed as Ju­ven­tus were lead­ing 3-0 and had lev­elled the ag­gre­gate score.

Mean­while, Bay­ern failed to put on a good per­for­mance, but their goal­less draw was enough to elim­i­nate Sevilla. Bay­ern had pre­vi­ously beaten Sevilla 2-1 in Spain.

Liver­pool will take on Roma in a match that fea­tures two sides that were grate­ful to make it to the last four af­ter draw­ing against Manch­ester City and Barcelona, re­spec­tively.

But even if Liver­pool and Roma make an im­pres­sion, the stand-out fix­ture is def­i­nitely the match be­tween the Bay­ern Mu­nich and Real Madrid, a re­peat of last year’s quar­ter­fi­nal.

Bay­ern are still an­gry about the ref­eree’s er­ro­neous de­ci­sions. Ar­turo Vi­dal was sent off for a clean tackle and two off­side goals were al­lowed. Bay­ern were lead­ing 2-1 at the time.

It is the 12th time that the two teams have been drawn against each other in Europe’s premier club com­pe­ti­tion.

Their pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters were in the knock­out stages.

Although the sta­tis­tics favour the Bun­desliga cham­pi­ons, the La Liga club has the ad­van­tage when it comes to ad­vanc­ing to the fi­nals.

Roma have pro­gressed to the next round six times, while the Ger­mans have only done so on five oc­ca­sions.

That not with­stand­ing, Bay­ern’s Jupp Heynckes – who has won the com­pe­ti­tion with both clubs and could be­come the third coach to win the ti­tle three times – said he was “cau­tiously op­ti­mistic”.

“It’s a cracker of course, a clash of gi­ants in a pos­i­tive sense. But I think we can pre­vail,” said Heynckes.

Bay­ern will play the first leg at home be­fore trav­el­ling to Madrid for the re­turn. While that might be enough to scare even the most sea­soned coach, Heynckes said he was not wor­ried.

“I do not think that was a bad draw,” he said. In 2013, Heynckes won the tre­ble, which is made up of the Ger­man league and cup, as well as the Cham­pi­ons League. At the time, the team had to play sev­eral of their re­turn legs away from home.

Heynckes, who is call­ing it quits at the end of the sea­son and will be re­placed by Frank­furt coach Niko Ko­vač, said he hoped the last game of his ca­reer would be against Jür­gen Klopp’s men. Klopp, who was touted as the next Bay­ern coach, recre­ated the 1984 fi­nal that the Reds won on penal­ties.

Their path to the last four could not have been more dif­fer­ent from Roma’s. Liver­pool have scored 33 goals, the most in the cam­paign, while the Serie A team have only seen the back of the net 15 times.

Roma have the low­est num­ber of goals among the semi­fi­nal­ists.

Former Roma player Mo­hamed Salah joined the Reds at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.

He re­ceived a mes­sage from his old club af­ter Fri­day’s draw. Roma tweeted: “We’ll be op­po­nents for 180 min­utes, but what­ever hap­pens, we’ll re­main friends for life. Look­ing for­ward to see­ing you again.”

Salah has al­ready scored eight goals in the com­pe­ti­tion.

With 29 goals each, he and Lionel Messi are Euro­pean foot­ball’s top goal scor­ers.

Be­fore the draw, Salah said he had been speak­ing to his former team-mates. Ac­cord­ing to the Egyp­tian for­ward, they said they did not want to face Liver­pool. Salah said: “It would be nice to go back to Rome. It’s [where] my old club [is]. I love the fans there and they love me too. I still talk to most of the play­ers there. We were very close.”

It would ap­pear the Egyp­tian got his wish. If Heynckes gets his way, it will be a Bay­ern Mu­nich ver­sus Liver­pool fi­nal in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26.

It’s a cracker of course, a clash of gi­ants in a pos­i­tive sense JUPP HEYNCKES

PHOTO: NICK POTTS / PA IM­AGES

FRIEND TURNED FOE Liver­pool’s Mo­hamed Salah will play against his former team-mates

PHOTO: RO­DRIGO JIMENEZ / EPA

STAR PLAYER Real Madrid for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo steered his club to the semi­fi­nals

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