Today’s Champions League Semi-finals First Leg

Bayern, Real Madrid clash in mouthwatering semi-final

Having both doused English hopes of Champions League stardom, German giants Bayern Munich and Spanish titans Real Madrid clash in the first leg of a mouthwatering semi-final at Allianz Arena on Tuesday night.

Thomas Tuchel‘s troops navigated their way past Arsenal in the last eight, while the 14-time winners of Europe’s premier tournament eliminated holders Manchester City in a nerve-jangling penalty shootout.

Bayern Munich

Deposed as perpetual Bundesliga champions, dumped out of the DFB-Pokal at the hands of minnows Saarbrucken and being put to the sword by RB Leipzig in the Super Cup curtain-raiser, Champions League supremacy will be Bayern’s only saving grace before Tuchel clears out his Bavarian locker.

The narrow beating of the Gunners represented the second victory in a four-match winning sequence for Tuchel’s side, who have since earned back-to-back Bundesliga successes over Union Berlin (5-1) and Eintracht Frankfurt, scraping past the latter thanks to Harry Kane‘s 34th and 35th Bundesliga strikes of the campaign.

Harry Kane To Strike Again

Also hitting the 400-goal career mark with his match-winning brace at the Allianz Arena, Kane’s next mission is to help extend Bayern’s brilliant 15-match unbeaten run at home in the Champions League, and the German giants also have three clean sheets to show from their last three European contests on familiar territory.

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid boss

Not since Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-2 triumph almost exactly three years ago have Bayern emerged on the wrong end of the scoreline in a home Champions League match, and either the French champions-elect or Borussia Dortmund shall lie in wait at Wembley if Tuchel’s men can extinguish Real dreams of crown number 15.

Real Madrid

Also on the brink of recapturing the La Liga title thanks to a mesmerising Clasico success over Barcelona and smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Real Sociedad, courtesy of teenage sensation Arda Guler, Real Madrid arrive in Munich with an 18-game unbeaten run to protect, winning seven of their last eight in all tournaments.

With not a single European loss on their notebook in 2023-24, Ancelotti’s men also enter the semi-finals unbeaten in 10 straight Champions League contests, one shy of their all-time record of 11 successive games without defeat in their triumphant 2016-17 campaign.

The omens will therefore be highly promising if Los Blancos can at least take a draw back to base on Tuesday, and the visitors can proudly boast a six-match unbeaten sequence against Bayern in Champions League action, sending them packing in 2013-14, 2016-17 and 2017-18 before their continental coronations in each year.


Bayern did not miss the banned Alphonso Davies too much in their second leg with Arsenal – Noussair Mazraoui and Raphael Guerreiro marshalled Bukayo Saka to brilliant effect – but the Canada international is now available again after serving his one-match suspension.

That is more than can be said for long-term absentees Sacha Boey (hip), Gabriel Marusic (ACL), Bouna Sarr (ACL) and Tarek Buchmann (hamstring), and while none of the quartet should have started this one anyway, Tuchel is also working around an injury crisis with a plethora of first-team regulars.


Thomas Tuchel, Bayern Munich manager

Konrad Laimer and Matthijs de Ligt were both victims of the win over Frankfurt with ankle and knee issues respectively, but Tuchel is keeping his fingers crossed that the pair will make it for the first leg. Jamal Musiala – absent at the weekend with tendon pain – is in the same boat.

Also taking up beds in the overcrowded Bayern infirmary are Leroy Sane (groin), Serge Gnabry (hamstring), Dayot Upamecano (ankle) and Kingsley Coman (groin), although only the latter will definitely miss the first leg as of now.

Harry Kane, Bayern

Real Madrid’s medical bay is nowhere near as packed as their hosts’, and Ancelotti is expected to receive a major boost with the anticipated return of Jude Bellingham, rested for the duel with Sociedad due to a sickness bug.

Rodrygo (illness) and Ferland Mendy (fatigue) have also recovered from their own afflictions, leaving knee victims Courtois and David Alaba as the only occupants of the Bernabeu treatment room.


Real Madrid were counting their lucky stars to come away with all three points from their battle with Sociedad, but Ancelotti saw fit to rest many of his first-team regulars, and there is no doubt which semi-finalist will be in better shape on Tuesday.

While the Kane-inspired hosts are always a threat in the final third, Bayern’s unenviable injury situation should catch up to them in the first leg against a Real side who almost always find a way in the Champions League, so we expect Los Blancos to take a slender lead back to the Spanish capital.



Silva to leave Chelsea at end of season

Chelsea defender Thiago Silva will leave the club at the end of the season.

The Brazilian, who joined the Blues on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain in 2020, has made 151 appearances for the Blues.

He has won three trophies in that time, including the 2020-21 Champions League.

Silva, 39, says his love for the club is “indescribable”.

Thiago Silva

“Chelsea means a lot to me. I came here with the intention of only staying for a year and it ended up being four years,” he said.

“It is already hard saying goodbye in the most normal of circumstances but when there is a mutual love, it’s even harder. But once a Blue, always a Blue.”

Silva joined the club when Frank Lampard was manager and has since also played under Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Mauricio Pochettino.

He has made 34 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season, including 25 starts in the Premier League.

The former AC Milan centre-back, capped 113 times by Brazil, says he hopes to return to Stamford Bridge in a new role in the future.

“I hope to leave the door open so that in the near future I can return, albeit in another role here,” he said.


Fixture                                                                                                                        Bayern München 20:00 Real Madrid


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