Bay­ern coach raves about fac­ing Real in ‘gi­gan­tic’ semi-fi­nal clash

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BAY­ERN MU­NICH will face Real Madrid and Liver­pool will take on AS Roma in the semi-fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons League fol­low­ing the draw at Uefa’s head­quar­ters yes­ter­day.

The first legs will be on Tues­day 24 and Wed­nes­day 25 April, with the re­turns on May 1 and 2.

Ger­man cham­pi­ons Bay­ern and hold­ers Real have met 24 times in Europe’s pre­mier com­pe­ti­tion and have eleven wins each from those en­coun­ters.

The pair clashed at the semi- fi­nals stage in 2014 when the Span­ish club won 5-0 on ag­gre­gate. They also met last sea­son in the last eight when Real tri­umphed 6-3 on ag­gre­gate.

“I have to say, it’s a crack­ing tie. A gi­gan­tic fix­ture, in a very pos­i­tive way,” said Bay­ern coach Jupp Heynckes, whose club have been knocked out by Span­ish op­po­si­tion in the last four sea­sons.

Hav­ing be­come the first side to win back- to- back ti­tles in the Cham­pi­ons League era last sea­son, Real Madrid want to be the first club since Bay­ern (1974-76) to claim three suc­ces­sive Euro­pean Cups.

Emilio Bu­tragueno, Real Madrid’s Di­rec­tor of In­sti­tu­tional Re­la­tions said: “We need to get a good re­sult in Mu­nich to then take it back to the Bern­abeu. At this stage of the com­pe­ti­tion it’s im­pos­si­ble that you don’t suf­fer.

“If we have to do so in or­der to get to the fi­nal, so be it. We re­ally want to be there. It’s been a tough Cham­pi­ons League thus far draw­ing Paris (St Ger­main), Juve and now Bay­ern.”

Liver­pool will have happy mem­o­ries of their meet­ing with Roma in the 1984 Euro­pean Cup fi­nal which was played in the Ital­ian cap­i­tal with the English side win­ning on penal­ties.

The game will re­u­nite Liver­pool’s top scorer this sea­son, Mo­hamed Salah, with his for­mer club.

Roma reached the semi­fi­nals af­ter over­turn­ing a 1-4 first leg deficit against five-times cham­pi­ons Barcelona by win­ning 3-0 at home and pro­gress­ing on the away goals rule.

Liver­pool man­ager Juer­gen Klopp was at pains to play down any sug­ges­tion that the Se­rie A out­fit was the eas­ier draw for his side, who de­mol­ished Pre­mier League lead­ers Manch­ester City to reach the semi-fi­nals for the first time in 10 years.

“Which­ever op­po­nent we would have got, I would have said there is a chance be­cause it is foot­ball - so there is a chance against Roma,” Klopp said at a news con­fer­ence.

“But if any­body think this is the eas­i­est draw then I can­not help this per­son; they ob­vi­ously didn’t see both games against Barcelona.”

Liver­pool will host Roma at An­field on Tues­day, April 24 with Real at Bay­ern on Wed­nes­day, April 25.

Bay­ern visit the Span­ish cap­i­tal on May 1 with Roma’s Olympic Sta­dium host­ing Liver­pool on May 2. – Reuters

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