Champions League semi-finals: Which two teams will make it to Kyiv?
Four sides, from four different nations, will contest this season's Champions League semi-finals; the first time this has happened in Europe’s elite competition since 2010.
It is also the first time the semi-finalists have been from these particular four leagues since 1981 (coincidentally, the winners were Liverpool, the runners-up Real Madrid, and the Reds beat Bayern Munich in the semis).
Whatever this season's semi-final ties, it was bound to be epic. The quarter-final second legs saw three pulsating ties. which were examples of frantic, counter-attacking football at its finest.
But the question now is, are more shocks awaiting us? Liverpool, Roma, Bayern and Madrid could all conceivably make the final. Here's a look at both ties.
Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
The five-time winners versus the twelve-time winners. Between them, they have won four of the last five editions. The last semi-final that featured neither team was back in 2009. After last year, the Bavarians are looking for revenge, while Madrid aim to prove their superiority.
Bayern have been one of Europe's form teams since Jupp Heynckes returned. They eased past Besiktas and Sevilla in the previous rounds. The German giants also have a born goalscorer in Robert Lewandowski to lead the line.
Three times winners in the past four campaigns, Real hold the current longest ongoing streak for semi-final appearances with eight. Possessing Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored in every Champions League game so far this season, another trophy is possible. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is making a mockery of his age. At 33, he is on course for his best ever Champions League tally.
Los Blancos were spared their blushes in the quarter-final second leg. Ronaldo’s 97th-minute penalty avoided extra time, in which Juventus looked to have enough to score more than the three they deservedly got on the night.
Domestically, a double looks certain for Bayern. Can Heynckes make history as the first manager to win consecutive trebles, or will Zinedine Zidane be the first manager to win three consecutive Champions League titles? To borrow a phrase from boxing parlance, somebody's '0' has got to go.
Liverpool vs. Roma
Liverpool have been the competition's dark horses since the turn of the year. They sent out a statement with their dismantling of Porto in the Dragao Stadium, followed by the 5-1 aggregate humbling of Pep Guardiola’s domestically all-conquering City side. With a triumvirate of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, all other sides would prefer to avoid the Reds. With Jurgen Klopp creating arguably the most settled Liverpool side since before his reign began, no defence is safe.
Meanwhile, their opponents Roma were not given a chance in a group containing Atletico and Chelsea. However, the Giallorossi finished top. With their recruitment led by backroom guru Monchi, they’ve put together a great mix of youthful flair in Cengiz Under and Lorenzo Pellegrini, with the experience of Edin Dzeko up top, as well as Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan in central midfield. The Italians are a dangerous side.
Will this be a happy homecoming for Mo Salah, or will Roma overturn their notoriously poor record against English teams?
Which teams will make the final?
On paper, Liverpool are favourites in their tie. Meanwhile, in the other contest, the evenness is similar to how balanced it was when the sides met in 2012. Since then, however, Bayern and Madrid have never had a greater chance to make history.
Expect Real Madrid and Liverpool to met in the final. For the Reds, the other three Champions League semi-finalists are littered in history. In their 1981 triumph, they beat Bayern in the semis and Los Blancos in the final. Three years later, Liverpool beat their semi-final opponents Roma to lift the trophy. Will history repeat itself, or will history be re-written?