The UEFA Champions League semifinals are set for later this month and early next, as Chelsea – Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain – Man City as predicted by everyone.
Okay, maybe not entirely. Reigning champions Bayern Munich stumbled at the wrong time and Liverpool forgot its shooting boots against the injury-riddled defense of Real Madrid.
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All three of the four finalists rank amongst the world’s biggest spenders, led by “new money” Man City and PSG.
Real Madrid, of course, helped set the standard for audacious transfer fees and salaries via the Galactico movement and Chelsea splashed loads of cash this summer before a coaching change put them over the hump.
And here’s a fun fact: All four teams have at least one member of reigning World Cup winners France. Man City has Benjamin Mendy, Chelsea deploys N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud, Real Madrid boasts Raphael Varane, and PSG employs Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe.
How they got here
Man City beat Dortmund 2-1 on Wednesday to complete a 4-2 tie.
PSG held Bayern Munich to a single away goal in a 1-0 Tuesday loss, making their 3-2 win in Germany the difference.
Real Madrid played a scoreless second leg with Liverpool on Wednesday, winning 3-1 over two legs.
Chelsea lost 1-0 to Porto in the second leg Tuesday but its 2-0 away win was enough to send the Blues through to the semis.
Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City
First leg, 3pm ET April 27 — PSG (+220) v Man City (+120) | Draw (+250)
Second leg, 3pm ET May 4 — Man City v PSG
Man City has only played Ligue 1 sides eight times, and the last one is certainly sticking out in supporters’ memories, as City’s incredible chance to run to the final via single-legged ties last August ended at the hands of Lyon.
As for Man City’s history with PSG, the clubs have met thrice and not since the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal when City advanced via a 2-2 draw in Paris and a 1-0 win at home.
The sides also drew 0-0 at the Etihad in the 2008 UEFA Cup group stage. Fun little side note on that game: Kasper Schmeichel was on the bench for City, while Vincent Kompany started at midfield and Daniel Sturridge at right wing. On PSG’s side? Mamadou Sakho played left back and Claude Makelele captained the team.
League status and surrounding fixtures
PSG is three points behind Lille with just a half-dozen matches left, plus has at least one more French Cup match on its docket.
Man City might have its league status on lockdown as the champions-elect, but its quadruple status means four elimination matches including a final in their next six fixtures.
4/18 v Saint-Etienne (13)
4/21 French Cup quarterfinal v Angers
4/24 at Metz (10)
4/27 UCL v Man City
5/2 v Lens (5)
5/4 UCL at Man City
5/9 at Rennes (7)
Saturday – FA Cup semifinal at Chelsea
4/21 at Aston Villa (11)
4/25 League Cup final v Tottenham
4/27 UCL at PSG
5/1 at Crystal Palace (13)
5/4 UCL v PSG
5/8 v Chelsea (5)
Chelsea v Real Madrid
First leg, 3pm ET April 27 — Real Madrid (+115) v Chelsea (+235) | Draw (+240)
Second leg, 3pm ET May 4 — Chelsea v Real Madrid
It has been a long, long time since we’ve seen Chelsea tangle with Real Madrid, so there’s nothing to gather from history. The Blues beat Real in the 1998 UEFA Super Cup and won and drew against Madrid in the 1970-71 Cup Winners’ Cup.
So, yes, Real has never beaten Chelsea, which feels wild.
League status and surrounding fixtures
Real Madrid is set in the top four but sits just one point ahead of third-place Barcelona and one behind leaders Atletico Madrid, while Chelsea has an FA Cup semifinal on Saturday and very uncertain top four status. The Champions League is therefore a potentially pivotal lifeline to the 2021-22 UCL.
Saturday – FA Cup semifinal v Man City
Tuesday v Brighton (15)
4/24 at West Ham (4)
4/27 UCL at Real Madrid
5/1 v Fulham (18)
5/4 UCL v Real Madrid
5/8 at Man City (1)
Sunday at Getafe (15)
4/21 at Cadiz (12)
4/24 v Real Betis (6)
4/24 UCL v Chelsea
5/1 v Osasuna (14)
5/4 UCL at Chelsea
5/9 v Sevilla (4)