Champions League draw: Semifinals
After the quarterfinals there are only four teams left and time for the draw. Real Madrid, AS Monaco, Atletico Madrid and Juventus are the teams left. There are no seedings, country protection or any other conditions. The man that was picking the balls was non less then former Liverpool player Ian Rush.
In the first semifinal Real Madrid will face Atletico Madrid, that means two great Madrid derbies to look forward to. The first game will be played at the Santiago Bernabue, Real Madrids home ground since they were drawn first. And the second leg will be played at Vicente Calderon. The first leg will be played 2nd of May and the return leg will be played at the 9th. These teams know each other very well, facing each other in two finals over the last three years. Adding to it the two league games and cup games and you understand how tight these games will be. Last time they met the game ended 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabue were Griezman scored the equalizer late in the game to stop the Champions League holders.
Real Madrid will be playing Valencia at home on the 29th of April, a game that has shown to be difficult and if they lose El Clasico it means they have to play the regular team. Meanwhile Atletico Madrid will travel to the Canary islands and play Las Palmas, a somewhat easier game. Then on the 6th of May Real Madrid will be facing Granada away and Atletico Madrid will be playing Eibar at home. Now the most interesting thing is that Real Madrid have to play Sevilla right after the second leg.
El Classico will be truly decisive. If Real Madrid wins this game they will have more breathing room and are able to rotate as they wish during the final stages of the season. A loss there and they will have Barcelona breathing down their neck with only the league to focus on. Atletico Madrid though are out of the cup and have almost no shot on the league so they will put all their focus on the derby. Will Zidane manage to triumph again of Diego Simeone? Or will the tight schedule and the fight on both fronts become too much for Los Blancos.
In the second semifinal, AS Monaco will take on Juventus. Just like Real Madrid Monaco were drawn first and will start at home and the return will be played at Juventus Stadium. Monaco are chasing their second final since losing to Mourinho´s Porto in 2004. Juventus are meanwhile looking for their second final in three years after losing to Barcelona 3-1 in Berlin in 2015. Two games between two different teams. The Italians will show and hope that their strong defense will hold. Meanwhile Monaco with a young team will be hoping to smash through that defense.
It will be an important game especially for two players. Dybala and Mbappe. They are the two youngsters that every top club are looking at right now and proving yourself at this stage of the competition will definitely earn you a new great contract in Mbappes case or a move to Barcelona or Madrid in Dybala´s case.
Two great semifinals to look forward to. Until then enjoy El Classico.