UEFA: Bayern, Chelsea Chase Final Tickets

With just one goal scored in last week’s UEFA Champions League semi-final openers, the return legs ought to serve up plenty of drama and intrigue on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Bayern Munich tackle Real Madrid for the 22nd time needing to score at least one goal to salvage their dream of retaining the title, whereas Los Merengues are the only club in the last four able to defend first-leg gains.
As for Atletico Madrid, the sole team still unbeaten in the competition, their incredible adventure continues away against a Chelsea side brimming with belief.
The first semi-final holds on Tuesday 29 April between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. The first leg ended 1-0 in favour of Real Madrid.
The scoreline did not tell the whole story during Bayern’s 5-2 win against Werder Bremen on Saturday as Josep Guardiola’s men put in a Jekyll and Hyde display, labouring in the first half before hitting their stride after the break.
The good news was that Franck Ribery seemed to rediscover his form, and the holders have history on their side as they prepare for their 200th European encounter.
Bayern have never lost at home to Real Madrid, recording nine wins and a draw, though it is true too that Merengues coach Carlo Ancelotti has never lost to the Bundesliga champions, overseeing five victories and a pair of stalemates.
In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo gave himself a timely boost of confidence with two sumptuous long-range efforts in Saturday’s 4-0 success against Osasuna.
Having now struck 30 Liga goals this term, the reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or winner is back at the peak of his powers.
The second semi-final will take place on Wednesday 30 April, as Chelsea battle Atletico Madrid, whom they played 0-0 with in the first leg.
Both Atletico and Chelsea enjoyed successful domestic outings between the two legs of their European joust. Los Colchoneros continue to lead the way in La Liga after sealing a vital 1-0 success at Valencia courtesy of a Raul Garcia header, while the Blues reinvigorated their Premier League hopes away against Liverpool.
Giving another masterclass in rigour and opportunism, Jose Mourinho’s men prevailed 2-0 thanks largely to a slip by Steven Gerrard and a late counter-attack.
Despite missing a number of regular starters, Chelsea fielded an ironclad defence at Anfield, with Mark Schwarzer imperious and various stand-ins excelling themselves.
Tight at the back and devastating on the break, Atletico and Chelsea boast similar strengths, and the slightest error could prove fatal as final ticket beckon for the best of the two teams.


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