Champions League Semi-Finals Preview
The penultimate stage of Europes favourite club tournament is upon us, and what an exciting round its going to be! It really has it all; a super club in its prime with the best player in the world, an old English great trying to regain its glory, a Dutch underdog that has charmed everyone on the way and a team with great ambitions looking for their first Champions League title. Keep reading for a closer look at our two highly interesting matchups.
The Champions League Semi-finals consist of 2 legs where 1 match will be played at either teams home stadium. All games are kicked off at 9:00 PM CET and the team first mentioned in the subheadline will play at home first.
Tottenham vs Ajax (30/4 and 8/5)
After overcoming the mighty Manchester City in the quarter finals after an absolutely insane second leg, Spurs will feel anything is possible. They have endured a very impressive season so far and know that reaching their first ever Champions League final would go down in the clubs history books forever. The lily whites do have some major concerns ahead of their first game against their Dutch counterparts however. Three concerns to be precise; Kane, who is injured, Son, who is suspended and Ajax, who are on fire. They wont find much confidence in last weekends performance at home vs West Ham either, where they lost 1-0 in a very important league match. Son will be back for the second leg, though and Kane is likely to return in time for a hypothetical final. Manager Pochettino will undoubtedly have a lot on his mind ahead of Tuesdays game and so will every Spurs supporter.
If I told you at the beginning of this season that Ajax Amsterdam would be one of the 4 teams to make this years Champions League semis, you would probably laugh at me. They started out last summer by playing Champions League qualification games against teams like Dynamo Kyiv and Sturm Graz, and over the last few months they have sent Real Madrid and Juventus right out of the tournament. And when beating the latter two giants, they werent just lucky, they completely outplayed them. Led on by fearless teen captain De Ligt and the talented De Jong, who already has a contract with Barcelona for next season, they have taken Europe by storm. Reaching the semis of the Champions League is so big in fact, that the Dutch football association has postponed round 33 of the Eredivisie (Dutch league) so that Ajax can face Tottenham well rested and prepared. Spurs arent just facing Ajax in these games, they are facing the entire Netherlands.
Barcelona vs Liverpool (1/5 and 7/5)
Last years finalists, Liverpool, are having yet another brilliant season. Jurgen Klopp has really got this side ticking louder and louder since taking over in 2015, and to quote an old Liverpool saying; this could really be their year. Salah, Firmino and Mane have once again led the attack and ensured lots of goals and entertainment. Meanwhile at the back, PFA Players player of the year, Van Dijk has been outstanding. The Reds are currently in a fierce battle with Manchester City for the Premier League crown but must now shift their attention to an even bigger obstacle in FC Barcelona. Liverpools road to the semi-finals has included overcoming a stubborn Bayern Munich and a fearless Porto. And after losing out to Real Madrid in last years final, Klopps men would really like to get one back at Spain by beating favourites Barcelona in this round. A fit squad, their recent 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield and the fact that they will play the 2nd leg in front of the Anfield crowd are all major boosts for Liverpool as they prepare for the forthcoming battle. Can they do it?
They secured their 26th La Liga title on Saturday night in front of their home fans at the Camp Nou, the very same crowd that will be cheering them on vs Liverpool on Wednesday. This has been yet another remarkable season for Barcelona, and especially for their biggest diamond, Lionel Messi. He hit an almost astronomical form just as the season progressed into its concluding stages and has been the difference maker for the Catalans on more than one occasion. During a period of just one month, they could secure 3 big trophies and conclude another treble season. And if we look back at what Barca have done so far in this tournament, it gives a lot of reason to believe in them in the semi-finals too. If we combine their four games vs Lyon and Man United in the round of 16 and quarter finals, they won 9-1 combined. But their upcoming opponent from Merseyside is of a far more dangerous calibre and is certain to bring a big challenge to the table. One thing is for certain, though; we are going to see two amazing games between these two.
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