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The best semi-finals

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And then there were four. After one of the most enthralling quarter-finals ever seen, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain qualified for the semi-final of the Champions League. Paris Saint Germain will face Borussia Dortmund in the first semi-final, while Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will face off in the other fixture.

With how the quarter-finals have been played, the semi-finals are sure to offer some scintillating football. Over the years, the final four of the Champions League have served us with some of the best and most iconic games. The semi-final is also important as a brilliant victory provides momentum for a side that wants to win the final and get their names etched on that trophy.

So, without further ado, here are the top five Champions League semi-finals of all time.

Bayern Munich 7-0 Barcelona 2013

At the start of the 2012-13 season, Bayern Munich had one motivation: to win the Champions League trophy they had lost at their home stadium to Chelsea at the end of the previous season. The Bavarians assembled a brilliant squad for it, adding the likes of Javi Martinez (then club transfer record).

The team didn’t disappoint, bulldozing their way into the semi-final, where they faced Barcelona. On paper, the Blaugrana appeared to be the favourites. However, the Germans were flawless in the first leg, winning 4-0. Thomas Muller scored a brace, and Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben added a goal each.

This victory meant Bayern were already going to Camp Nou with a strong lead. However, rather than resting on their laurels, Jupp Heynckes’ men added three more goals in the second half to complete a dominating two-legged display. Bayern Munich would go on to beat Borussia Dortmund to win the Champions League.

Inter Milan 3-2 Barcelona, 2010

The semi-final that gave us one of the most iconic Champions League celebrations by Jose Mourinho as he ran onto the pitch at Camp Nou. The latter were heavy favourites when Inter Milan faced Barcelona in the semi-final. And it was easy to see why, as Pep Guardiola’s men had just completed football’s first sextuple.

Barcelona made their intentions clear when they opened the scoring in the 19th minute through Pedro. Inter fought back, though, as Wesley Sneijder equalised ten minuttikes later. Two second-half goals from right-back Maicon and Diego Milito ensured the Italians went to Noy Camp in a commanding position.

The second leg, though, was the tougher challenge as Barcelona were playing in front of their home crowd. The Italian, though, produced a defensive masterclass of the highest order to repeatedly thwart Barcelona’s attack. Gerard Pique did finally manage to score, but it turned out to be the only goal, which meant Inter triumphed 3-2 on aggregate.

Inter defeated Bayern Munich in the final courtesy of a brace from Milito, which also helped them complete the treble.

Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea 2008-09

Barcelona and a thrilling Champions League final are a match made in heaven. In the 2008-09 season, Barcelona rejuvenated itself into a world-class squad through their famous tiki-taka system. They were already in a commanding lead in La Liga before facing Chelsea in the final four of the Champions League. However, the match would be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The first leg was at Nou Camp, which ended in a goalless stalemate.

Chelsea were considered to be the favourites to win the tie, considering their home advantage. And it took them only nine minutes to score the first goal of the tie through Michael Essien. To make matters worse, Eric Abidal was sent off in the 66th minute, meaning Barcelona were down to ten men.

However, with the game just seconds away from finishing, Andres Initesta unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box that found its way past Petr Cech. However, the game was marred by several unfavourable incidents for Chelsea, leading Didier Drogba to say the infamous ‘It’s a disgrace’ comments live on camera.

Barcelona 3-1 Real Madrid

Every football fan waits for an El Clasico. However, in the 2011-12 season, the excitement for the clash reached its zenith. The reason is that there were four El Clasicos in just 18 days. The first of them came in the league, which ended in a draw. This was followed by a Copa Del Rey final, where Real Madrid triumphed courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in extra time.

So, by the time the first leg of the Champions League arrived, there was already bad blood between the two teams; however, even with the home support of Santiago Bernabeu, Lionel Messi ran the show, scoring a brace. The game also saw two red cards, as Pinto and Pepe were sent off for Barcelona and Real Madrid,, respectively.

This lead, however, gave Barcelona a strong edge in the second leg, where they produced a controlled performance to earn a 1-1 draw. Barcelona would beat Manchester United to win their second Champions League under Guardiola.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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