Semi Finalists Of Uefa Champions League

  • 27 Apr - 03 May, 2024
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Sports

After losing their Bundesliga crown following 11 years at the top, Bayern Munich is now setting their sights on European glory to prevent their first season without silverware since 2012. Making it back to the Champions League semifinals after four years away comes just when they needed it most. With Kane delivering the elite finishing touch that was absent in Europe last year, there’s a growing confidence that this talented Bayern team could still salvage a tough season by clinching the most coveted trophy in club football.

Bayern Munich has experienced a rollercoaster season, but their championship pedigree is undeniable; a trait they share with their coach, Thomas Tuchel, who is also no stranger to success. With their struggles at home lowering expectations on the European stage, the pressure might feel lighter. Yet, with Kane, a world-class striker leading the line, the six-time European champions possess the kind of talent that could propel them to their seventh title.

Style of play:
Since taking over at the club last season, Tuchel has been a proponent of “fast and fluid” football, which has been evident in Bayern’s sharp vertical passing from the back and their clever combinations in the attack. Kane has emerged as the ideal fit at the front, not only due to his prolific scoring but also because of his capability to drop back and connect plays. This allows Bayern to maximise their speed advantage on the flanks against most competitors.

Key Player
The pairing of the England captain with the German powerhouse has been a resounding success. Harry Kane’s extraordinary scoring pace has transformed Bayern’s signing of the ex-Tottenham striker into one of the summer’s standout deals. More than just a prolific goal scorer, Kane has showcased his knack for linking play through his impressive passing range, elevating the performance of his teammates, and setting a standard with his leadership and involvement across the field.
Bayern v Real Madrid SF Leg-1 May 1st

Few anticipated Dortmund emerging as the first team to advance from the highly challenging Group F. Their campaign began with a 2-0 defeat in Paris and a goalless draw at home against Milan. However, their trajectory shifted with consecutive victories over Newcastle, where they didn’t concede a single goal. A solid performance in their return match in Milan secured their qualification one round early. Dortmund then maintained their composure under severe pressure from PSV in the last-16 return leg, advancing to the quarter-finals, where they narrowly won a thrilling encounter against Atlético de Madrid.

When Dortmund hits their stride, they become a formidable force. Despite initial setbacks in the first legs in Eindhoven and Madrid, BVB rallied, buoyed by the passionate support of their home crowd, to triumph in both instances. The advantage of playing at home has proven significant for them. This season, Dortmund has demonstrated they can overcome any opponent, indicating that their Champions League journey is still very much alive.

How Dortmund play
Aware of the challenge they faced, BVB approached their first group match against Paris with a counterattacking strategy and deployed a back three. However, they adapted mid-game, introducing a traditional No9 instead of two counterattacking forwards, which immediately boosted their performance. Subsequently, they consistently employed a system with a back four and three central midfielders, relying on speedy wingers like Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi, and Jadon Sancho to make an impact. This basic formation allows Dortmund to vary their approach, whether progressing the ball or pressing, depending on the situation.

Key player
Julian Brandt has been a standout performer in the Bundesliga for many seasons, showcasing consistency and skill. The German international made the switch to Dortmund after a successful stint of five and a half years at Leverkusen. Now 27, Brandt has completed four seasons at BVB, maintaining a remarkable record of making at least 40 appearances every season and reaching double figures for goals last season. Despite not being fully fit in the last game against PSV, he once again played a crucial role in the quarter-finals, highlighting his importance to the team.

Dortmund v PSG SF Leg-1 May 2ND

PSG has secured their spot in the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in the last five seasons. Despite a challenging group stage that included a humbling 4-1 loss at Newcastle, expectations for a strong run in this year’s competition were somewhat subdued. However, as the tournament progressed, PSG’s fortunes changed dramatically. With a masterfully executed comeback against Real Sociedad in the round of 16 second leg and a stirring victory over Barcelona, optimism among Parisian supporters is on the rise. The team is proving to be tactically adept and is gaining confidence and momentum with each match they play.

While it would be unfair to place the entirety of Paris’s hopes on Mbappé alone, it’s undeniable that the team from the French capital has in their ranks arguably the best player in the world at the moment. Under the guidance of Luis Enrique, who took charge last summer, the team has seen a resurgence, characterized by energy and youthful enthusiasm. With Warren Zaïre-Emery among their ranks, they also possess one of the most promising midfield talents in the game. Collectively, they are maturing and evolving into a formidable force.

Under Luis Enrique’s guidance, Paris has adopted a system built on tactical adaptability. While nominally set up in a 4-3-3 formation, their approach seamlessly transitions into a 3-4-3 when they have possession of the ball. This shift is facilitated by Lucas Hernández’s tactical intelligence on the left side of the defense, which enables Achraf Hakimi to take on a more advanced role as a supplementary midfielder. Additionally, Vitinha frequently adjusts his position within the midfield trio, often drifting wide to create space for the influential Mbappé to infiltrate central areas and pose a threat.

Key player
Kylian Mbappé made a sensational debut on the European scene with Monaco during the 2016/17 season and has since continued to impress. A key figure in France’s FIFA World Cup triumph in 2018, he solidified his status as one of football’s brightest talents. In the 2021/22 season, Mbappé achieved another milestone by becoming the youngest player to score 30 Champions League goals at the age of 22 years and 352 days, eclipsing the previous record held by his former teammate Lionel Messi. His remarkable achievements underline his extraordinary talent and impact on the world stage.

Dortmund v PSG SF Leg-2 May 8th

Real Madrid continues to captivate audiences with their entertaining style of play, providing plenty of excitement for both, fans and reporters alike. However, while their group stage performance was near flawless, the tension-filled and emotionally charged moments that emerged during the round of 16 and quarter-finals were impossible to ignore. Andriy Lunin, Madrid’s goalkeeper, played a pivotal role in their progression, particularly in the matches against Leipzig and City. His exceptional performances, including a standout display during the penalty shootout victory in Manchester, were crucial in securing their advancement. As they head into the semi-finals, Madrid will be eager to rediscover their attacking prowess and assert themselves as a potent goal-scoring force once again.

Real Madrid embodies the essence of this competition because, well, they are Real Madrid. Under Carlo Ancelotti’s guidance, this team thrives on the pressure, the sense of pride, the relentless ambition, and the ability to conjure up miraculous comebacks when needed – all qualities essential for Champions League success. While there may be other clubs in Europe currently in better form, few possess the same burning desire to lift the trophy. And let’s not overlook the formidable talents within this squad – players like Vinícius Júnior, Bellingham, Toni Kroos, and the potential return of Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão, as noted by the Italian coach. With these big names hitting their peak form at just the right moment, Real Madrid is a force to be reckoned with in the semi-finals.

Game plan
Real Madrid’s current predominant formation can be described as a vivacious 4-4-2, characterised by their dynamic and combative style of play. Under Ancelotti’s stewardship, the team boasts a wealth of midfield talent, and the coach aimed to maximise their presence on the field until injuries disrupted his plans. However, instead of employing a four-man midfield purely for defensive purposes, Madrid’s approach revolves around utilising players like Bellingham effectively. Bellingham’s versatility allows him to shift between the left side when defending and the tip of the midfield diamond when in possession, providing a constant threat in attack. This flexibility enables Madrid to excel in counterattacks and transitions, making them arguably one of the best teams in Europe in this aspect of the game.

Key player
The transfer of the England’s Jude Bellingham to Madrid was one of the most headline-grabbing moves of the summer. With the honor of inheriting Zinédine Zidane’s iconic No. 5 shirt, there were high expectations for one of European football’s most gifted midfielders at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Despite grappling with challenging shoulder and ankle injuries, the young Englishman has consistently impressed with his goals, assists, unwavering determination to win, and his passionate connection with the Madrid supporters during live matches.

Bayern v Real Madrid SF Leg-2 May 9th

Shahzeb Ali Rizvi is a sports aficionado with a keen eye for the intricacies of cricket and football. He can be reached at [email protected]