The 2013-14 Champions League has reached the semi-final stage – and the one-off showdown many people were hoping for now takes place over two legs instead.
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Real Madrid v Bayern Munich would have been a highly popular final in Lisbon on May 24, but at least football fans will now get to see these two superb teams face each other twice as they also did at the same point of the competition two years ago.
On that occasion it was Bayern who came out on top, securing a final in their own stadium which they agonisingly lost on penalties to Chelsea FC before making amends at the expense of compatriots Borussia Dortmund at Wembley last season.
Spot-kicks also had to be used to decide the 2012 semi-final because both Bayern and Real won 2-1 at home, the extra half hour at the Bernabeu Stadium failing to produce a winner after Cristiano Ronaldo’s early double had been cancelled out on aggregate by an Arjen Robben penalty.
It could, therefore, be a repeat of the 2012 final, this time in Lisbon, if Chelsea can give their manager Jose Mourinho a return to his homeland having scraped into the last four thanks to Demba Ba’s late goal in the quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.
Demba Ba (second right) scores the goal that sent Chelsea through to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals (Getty Images)
But another possibility remains an all-Spanish encounter to determine the kings of Europe because Chelsea’s opponents in the semi-finals will be Atletico Madrid, who have been the surprise package in both La Liga and the Champions League – and could still pull off a double nobody would have predicted at the start of the campaign.
Diego Simeone deserves huge commendation for the way his side have sustained their challenge right to the end of the two biggest competitions they are involved in, and few would begrudge them a place in the final against Bayern or their city rivals.
Bayern Munich are the 6/4 favourites to retain the trophy with bookmaker Ladbrokes
, who offer 9/4 for Pep Guardiola’s side to face Chelsea in the final and the same odds for it to be a German-Spanish showdown at the Estadio da Luz.
You can read our full previews and get our betting tips for each match by clicking on the games below where they appear in blue.
UEFA Champions League schedule 2013-14 (all kick-off times 19:45 GMT)
Semi-final first-leg games
Tuesday April 22
Wednesday April 23