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Champions League: Semi-Finals Preview

This season's Champions League quarter-finals round was fantastic entertainment, delivery plenty of twists and a lot of goals, so if the semi-finals are to continue in that style then we're in for a treat this week as the first legs take place.

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain are our final four competing for a place at Wembley in this season's final, and since the two clubs with the most European pedigree are set to face one another in these semis, things are nicely balanced.

Here's a brief preview of each tie. Feel free to leave your own thoughts and your Superbru predictions in the comments.

Listed kick-off times are UK

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid

If this feels like a typical, 'worthy' Champions League semi-final between two European giants to you than that's because it is - these two clubs have met in the semi-finals of this competition more than twice as many times as any other pairing. Bayern's dominance of the Bundesliga is finally over due to Bayer Leverkusen's excellent season, but this is still Germany's most successful Champions League club against the most successful Champions League club so we can feel blessed that it will be played over two legs in this semi-final giving us twice the level of entertainment of a final.

As mentioned, this hasn't been a great season for Bayern, but this competition still has the potential to make it more than great and the entire club feels like it has been re-energised by the quarter-final tie with Arsenal. Since drawing the first leg of that game at the Emirates with a strong performance, Bayern have won four straight matches including the second leg to progress, leading to considerable enthusiasm for this semi and some fans calling for Thomas Tuchel to 'do a Xavi' and U-turn on his decision to leave this summer (unlikely since it was a mutual decision between him and Bayern rather than Xavi's personal one).

The issue for Bayern is that they're up against Real Madrid who are also in fantastic recent form and are having a great season overall with the LaLiga title all but confirmed. Madrid have lost just two games in this entire campaign - both against neighbours Atletico Madrid. The sheer resilience that underpins the quality of this team has been more evident than ever in recent weeks, with a gritty 1-1 draw and penalty shooutout win to eliminate defending champions Manchester City in the quarter-finals followed by a Clasico win over Barca to seal the LaLiga title and a 0-1 win away at a strong Real Sociedad side despite playing a rotated XI in preparation for this game.

Despite an awkward fixture list, Real Madrid have continued their lengthy unbeaten streak in the build-up to this tie.

Personally, my initial reaction when looking at this tie is that Real Madrid will progress, but it does feel like Bayern are building up to something just when this looked like being a very disappointing season. Thomas Tuchel has proven he is an excellent manager in this knockout competition by reaching the final with Paris and then winning it with Chelsea, but as he has said himself this week, when you're up against Real Madrid you're taking on an aura as well as their quality squad. I'm excited to see what happens, but with my own prediction I'm likely going to stick with my instinct and back Real Madrid for a narrow win even in this first leg at the Allianz Arena.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Paris Saint-Germain

There's a different feel to this semi-final, as it's very much a case of two clubs looking to create history as opposed to almost maintaining it as is the feel with Bayern and Real Madrid. Borussia Dortmund won this competition back in 1997, but this will be their first semi-final appearance since 2013, while PSG have famously never won the Champions League. Star man Kylian Mbappe is heavily expected to leave Paris this summer, meaning if the club feel that he is the man to power them to the trophy they've craved for such a long time, it has to be now.

We've already seen these teams meet a couple of times this season in the group stage of this competition, though the meeting in Dortmund isn't too representative of what we might see this week considering BVB had already had their progression to the knockouts confirmed prior to that match taking place.

The group stage meetings between Dortmund and PSG earlier this season along with the % of Superbru players that picked each outcome.

This time, Dortmund will of course be giving absolutely everything in their final Champions League game in front of the Yellow Wall this season. Edin Terzic's team have been considerably better in this competition than they have been in the Bundesliga all year, so it's perhaps unnecessary to look too much into their 4-1 loss away at RB Lezipig on Saturday, but that result is reflective of them being far harder to beat at Signal Iduna Park than anywhere else. If they're to reach the final for the first time since that 2012/13 campaign, they're almost certainly going to need a first leg lead given their unconvincing away results.

Paris, on the other hand, have won each of their away knockout games so far in this tournament, and they're starting to look like a really well balanced side under Luis Enrique. In my opinion, Enrique has done a really good job since taking the reigns in Paris and they feel like a real 'team' for the first time in a while. A big part of that feeling has come from Enrique already preparing for life after Kylian Mbappe by limiting Mbappe's minutes in Ligue 1 (which they've just won again) ever since reports have suggested his transfer to Real Madrid is all but done. As well as sending a message to Mbappe, this approach has the added benefit of meaning the forward is in prime condition for Champions League fixtures which naturally remain the absolute priority.

The pressure that has been built by Paris repeatedly failing to win this trophy remains and is a significant factor to consider that will make them underdogs in a potential final if they make it, but I was impressed with how professional PSG were in eliminating Barcelona following Ronald Araujo's red card and like most people I think they're fairly strong favourites to progress. This first leg is clearly going to be tough, but I think Paris are strong enough to manage a draw (which is what I'll probably pick) and perhaps even a win.

As I said in the intro, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. Enjoy the games!
716 caps
Real madrid 4-1 bayern munich
Psg 3-2 dortmund
30 Apr 11:09
6,960 caps
Good guess I rate
30 Apr 13:11
94,038 caps
Hoping for an upset.....
30 Apr 13:20
1,729 cap
Dortmund win
1 May 21:32
48,792 caps
it doesn't count if you're making the predictions after the game has finished! 2 May 18:56
1,729 cap
Wasn't predicting it just saying a great result 10 May 09:55
716 caps
BC when you ask you shall receive
2 May 07:20