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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Apr 11, 2014

Real face Bayern in blockbuster semi

Gab Marcotti expounds upon the intriguing story lines that the Champions League semi-finals present.

Champions League holders Bayern Munich have been drawn against Real Madrid while Atletico Madrid take on 2012 winners Chelsea in this season's semifinals with first legs on April 22-23 and return matches on April 29-30.

• Marcotti: Sit back and enjoy the ride
• Poll: Who'll win Champions League?
• Lomas: Bayern's big names bare teeth
• Hunter: Atletico exultant after Barca win
• Marcotti: Mourinho's gambles pay off
• Uersfeld: Madrid scrape past brave BVB

Bayern are aiming to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy and beat Manchester United 3-1 on Wednesday to book a place in the last four.

For Real it is a clash with German opposition for the third successive round after they narrowly saw off Dortmund in the quarterfinals and blew past Schalke in the last 16.

The tie sees Pep Guardiola renew acquaintances with Real -- who play the first leg at home on April 23 before going to Munich on April 29 -- having faced them numerous times as coach of Barcelona, including a Champions League semifinal triumph over Los Blancos in 2011.

Both Guardiola and Real coach Carlo Ancelotti have won the competition twice previously and should one of them triumph this year he would become only the second coach after Liverpool's Bob Paisley to lift the European Cup on three occasions.

Also gunning for that honour is Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who won the competition with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.

He takes his Chelsea side back to Madrid -- where he worked as coach of Real for three years -- on April 22 to face an Atletico team currently sitting top of La Liga and on the crest of a wave after beating Barcelona to claim a spot in their first semifinal in the competition since 1974. The return leg at Stamford Bridge is on April 30.

A major player in Atletico's progress to the last four has been goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan from semifinal opponents Chelsea.

It had previously been thought that, due to a clause in the loan contract, the Belgian would not be able to play against the Blues. However, UEFA on Friday claimed that any attempts to prevent Courtois' involvement would be "unenforceable."


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