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
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
FRIEND TURNED FOE Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah will play against his former team-mates
STAR PLAYER Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo steered his club to the semifinals