UEFA Champions League preview: Real, Bayern on pace for semis

AP Photo/Paul White

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich watched two of the biggest obstacles toward their reaching the UEFA Champions League Final fall on Tuesday, and now will hope to avoid losing their first leg advantages.

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Real Madrid vs. Juventus
First leg: Juventus 0-3 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo’s reigning champions bring three away goals home from Turin, and it’s difficult to believe even a club as storied as Juve can collect a three-goal win given the opposition and the venue of the Bernabeu. But if Juventus can score early, and it won’t be off the boots of suspended Paulo Dybala, maybe they can bring the whistles out in Madrid.

Manager Zinedine Zidane didn’t want to hear his side proclaimed favorites even before Man City and Barcelona bowed out of the tournament.

“I’m not interested in talk of favorites, I prefer to show it out on the pitch and we must respect all clubs and all aspects of football. In the match against Atlético we could have lost and I can’t give an explanation for that. That’s how the game goes. In any move you make, there is the chance to mess it up. If we put in a great performance and we focused throughout the match we have a good chance of battling through, but we must keep that idea in mind.”

Bayern Munich vs. Sevilla
First leg: Sevilla 1-2 Bayern Munich

Sevilla winning by one isn’t a crazy thought, especially considering the turned the same scoreline on Manchester United in the last round. Arjen Robben has been impressed by the game tape.

“They played really well in Manchester. They’re still a really good team.We have to be prepared for everything and concentrate in particular on ourselves. We won’t be playing for a draw. We always play to win. You always need top performances in the Champions League, and the same goes for tomorrow.”

James Rodriguez has plenty of experience against Sevilla, scoring four times in seven matches during his time at Real Madrid. He’s in the first year of a 2-year loan from the Madrid powers.