Wembley Awaits

2 min read

After last week’s tantalising affairs in Munich and Dortmund, anticipation has been building ahead of the second-legs. There’s a change of scenery for our semi-finalists who all swap the German sights for Paris lights and Spanish bites respectively. Fans of both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will be hoping their trips will be a worthwhile ones and that they can overcome tough opposition as they battle for their spot in this year’s Champions League final. Wembley awaits for two of these sides!

The first of these fixtures to get under way is Borussia Dortmund’s trip to Paris. Edin Terzíc and his side head to Paris with a 1-0 lead under their belts after last week’s close battle. It was Niclas Füllkrug who bagged the decisive goal in the reverse fixture after getting on the end of a sumptuous ball from Nico Sclotterbeck and smashing it past Gianluigi Donnarumma to delight the yellow wall behind him. They could’ve had more too, if it hadn’t been for a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping. WIth Niclas Füllkrug himself coming close to a second and Marcel Sabitzer missing a stellar opportunity near the end of the first half. The Parisians had their chances too though, despite superb defending from the Borussia backline and Mats Hummels in particular, chances were always going to come. Kylian Mbappé hitting the inside of the post early in the second-half with Achraf Hakimi following up and hitting the woodwork again, was probably their biggest opportunity to draw level.

One question a lot of fans have for the second-leg however is how will PSG deal with Jadon Sancho? After starring in the first leg and tormenting PSG’s left-back Nuno Mendes, will coach Luis Enrique switch things up or stick with his full-back once more? We will have to wait and see… One thing is for sure though, PSG will be taking the game to Dortmund. After a fixture rest this weekend and a one nil deficit to overcome PSG will be raring to go. With PSG needing to score at least one though, things will get interesting come the second half if they still trail. There will be a need for the home side to push on to find a goal, and the prospect of space in behind appearing when they push will be a delight for Dortmund’s pacy attackers, Jadon Sancho, Karim Adeyemi, and Ian Maatsen! This one is a must watch!

The following night brings us a clash of giants. The second round of Real Madrid versus Bayern Munich. Two European heavyweights with twenty Champions League titles between them, but only one can reach the final. We head into this fixture on a level playing field after last week’s 2-2 draw at the Allianz. Both sides showed the fight they possess as Bayern came from behind to lead early on in the first half through a Leroy Sané strike and Harry Kane penalty, before Vinícius Junior doubled his tally for the evening when he slotted home a penalty late on to equalise. Questions were raised in the first leg for both sides however. Madrid’s fullbacks struggled to cope with the pace of Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sané with Lucas Vázquez conceding a penalty after tripping Musiala, he’s now unlikely to start the second leg with Dani Carvajal returning from suspension. On the other hand, post game Thomas Tuchel criticised his own centre-back Kim Min-Jae and laid blame on him for both Vinícius’ first goal and the penalty which they conceded. 

It will be interesting to see how Tuchel lines up at the back for the second-leg. After his criticism of Kim you’d be doubtful he’d start him, however injury to Eric Dier in their 3-1 loss to Stuttgart this weekend means the options for Bayern are narrow. It’s unknown whether or not Dier will be fit to play, Matthijs de Ligt has still not returned to full training, and Dayot Upamecano has been rushed back, and has had his own troubles in the Champions League previously… We will have to wait and see, but my predictions would be that Kim Min-Jae and Dayot Upamecano start for Bayern. Whoever is at the back Madrid will be hoping to take advantage of the uncertainty and potential lack of full fitness they face. After winning La Liga this weekend the spirits in the Real camp are certainly high, a 3-0 win over Cadiz, and Girona beating Barca 4-2 meant the title was theirs, and they can now fully focus on the Champions League. Madrid would seem to be the favourites, with the second leg at the Bernabeu, along with morale, form, injuries, and history on their side, you wouldn’t bet against them, but anything can happen in the Champions League!