It’s all to play for in the Champions League semi-finals
It’s been a dramatic week for football fans, to say the least. After Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich saw them crashing out of the UEFA Champions League in spectacular fashion on Friday, their competitors have stormed through to the semi-finals. While the Spanish team have been struggling for some time – despite boasting a player widely considered the best footballer of all time, Lionel Messi – their squad is ageing and arguably past its peak. Their German rivals appear to be on top form, and could well be in with a shot for the title.
Indeed, Bayern Munich’s odds got even better on Saturday after another shocking quarter-final result. Though Manchester City were favourites to claim the trophy, they too conceded victory in a somewhat surprising fashion, losing 3-1 to Lyon. Man City made a few uncharacteristic errors, including Raheem Sterling’s missed shot at an open goal, and also fell victim to a controversial VAR decision, with a goal being awarded to former Celtic player Moussa Dembele despite an apparent foul moments before. Nonetheless, Lyon’s determined play saw them to victory and secured them a place in the semi-final against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Before that, though, the first of the two heats will take place tomorrow in a clash between Paris Saint Germain and RB Leipzig, meaning it’s set to be an all-out battle between France and Germany for the 2020 title. On Wednesday, the Parisians took on Cinderella team Atalanta in a game that saw the French trailing behind the Italians before delivering two dramatic goals in the closing minutes – an equaliser in the 90th minute followed by a winner in the 93rd. RB Leipzig knocked out the first of two Spanish sides on Thursday in a 2-1 victory to Atlético Madrid, delivering another impressive late goal to seal their position in tomorrow’s game.
Given that that last week was so full of surprises, the Champions League title really could belong to any of these teams. This unpredictability is what makes great football and also the reason why there are so many businesses (read here how does Football Index works) dedicated to game results. There’s nothing that quite matches the edge-of-your-seat thrill of watching two quality sides in a game that could turn at any minute. After all, though Bayern Munich have taken over as favourites, if the past few days are anything to go by, this could well be the year of the underdog. At this stage, it’s still possible that we could be looking at an all-French or all-German final.
Though it’s hard to call, football fans the nation over are having their say, with many getting their hands on a UK bonus code for bet365. Given that there are no British teams left, it might take a lot of the weight off for many viewers, meaning that despite their disappointment, they can now watch every twist of the game without risking the devastation of falling at the final hurdle. By Sunday, we will know which of the four European teams is the of the 2020 Champions League. The question only remains: will we be seeing red, white and blue, or black red and gold?
The editorial unit