The Champions League is back with two mouth-watering ties, The Old lady welcomes Los Blancos to Turin and Pep returns to face his first love.
Four giants of European football, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona, will clash over the next two weeks, in a bid to reach the Champions League final.
Tomorrow night (Tuesday 5th May) at 7:45pm Juventus host Real Madrid, while the following night (Wednesday 6th May) Barcelona invite Bayern Munich for the semi-final first legs.
The Italian club is flying at the moment, they sit at the top of Serie A, 15 points ahead of their nearest rivals Roma. Former Manchester City player, Carlos Tevez, is number one in the top scorers chart with 20 goals. And their iconic 37-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon, is in sparkling form.
Their challengers, Real Madrid, are on a definite upswing at the moment, after some patchy form this year. Carlo Ancelotti’s boys are just 2 points behind their nemesis Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Sevilla over the weekend, and they’ve just welcomed back Gareth Bale from injury.
However, there are injury problems for both teams. Juventus will be without their hugely talented french midfielder Paul Pogba while Real will only find out at the last minute if Karim Benzema and Luka Modric will be fit for Tuesday’s game.
The last time these two teams met was in the Champions League group stage last year, it finished 2-2 in Turin.
Midfield wizard Andrea Pirlo said: “We weren’t ready for the Champions League in previous years. But this team has gained experience and we know we can do well and play without fear.”
On Wednesday night, Pep comes home to Barcelona, with his new beau Bayern Munich. Barcelona have been playing effortlessly over the past few months. The front three, Messi, Naymar, and Suarez have not only gelled together, they’re playing like they’ve known each other for years. While new boys Rakitić and Mathieu, are fitting in perfectly within Barca’s old heads Iniesta and Piqué.
Bayern clinched the Bundesliga title with four games to spare, but Guardiola’s joy was short lived after losing on penalties to Dortmund in the German Cup semi-final. To compound the pressure on Pep, his most potent attackers Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery are injured, his influential midfielder David Alaba is out, and there are doubts over Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who broke his nose, chin and suffered a concussion during the semi-final against Dortmund.
If Barcelona lose to their previous coach they’ll have no excuses. Luis Enrique’s team has all the momentum in their favour, however, will it be enough to stop the most talented coach in the world? Pep knows Barca inside out if one man can build a tactical plan to nullify them it’s Guardiola.