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Apr 27, 2014

Real Madrid, Chelsea hold edges in UCL semis

The Champions League semifinals conclude this week, setting the stage for the May 24 final in Lisbon. Here is a statistical look at both matches this week, complete with Soccer Power Index projections:

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid (Tuesday) Real Madrid won the first leg 1-0 at home and is now the favorite to both advance to the final and win the tournament according to SPI. While Bayern Munich is favored to win the second leg, doing so 47 percent of the time, nearly half of that (23 percent) is by a one-goal margin. Any such final score other than 1-0 would send Real Madrid to the final on the away-goals tiebreaker. As a result, Real Madrid advances to the final 71 percent of the time according to SPI, and wins it 44 percent of the time.

While Real Madrid won the first leg, the stats don't make that apparent. Madrid had 453 touches, its second-fewest in a La Liga or UCL match this season. It was also Madrid's second-fewest in any La Liga or UCL match not involving Barcelona in the last four seasons. Bayern, on the other hand, had 903 touches and 793 pass attempts, both of which are its most in a loss in a Bundesliga or UCL match in the last four seasons.

Madrid managed only nine shots, which is tied for its fewest in a La Liga or UCL match this season. It’s also tied for its fewest in a La Liga or UCL match at home in the past four seasons. Madrid attempted 317 passes, its fewest in a La Liga or UCL match this season. Not only that, its passing accuracy of 75.1 percent was its worst in a UCL match this year, and third-worst when including La Liga matches (season average: 83.3 percent).

Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid (Wednesday) After a scoreless first leg, Chelsea returns home as a slight favorite to advance to the final. Chelsea is favored to win the second leg match, doing so 50 percent of the time, but any draw other than 0-0 sends Atletico through to the final. As a result, Chelsea advances to the final 54 percent of the time according to SPI.

Though the first match was scoreless, Atletico Madrid created 22 chances, tied for its most in a La Liga or UCL match since December 2011. A good portion of those came from its 46 crosses, its most in a La Liga or UCL match this season.

Atletico had 429 of its 703 touches in the attacking half (61 percent), its second-highest percentage in a La Liga or UCL match this season. Chelsea had just 434 total touches, its fewest in an EPL or UCL match this season. The only matches in the past four seasons where Chelsea had fewer touches were both legs of its UCL semifinal against Barcelona in 2012.

Chelsea had 91 of its touches in the defending penalty area, its second-most in an EPL or UCL match this season. Chelsea’s only match with more this season was Sunday’s win over Liverpool. Substitute goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer led the team in touches with 49 and pass attempts with 33. Chelsea managed only five total shots, its third-fewest in an EPL or UCL match in the past four seasons.