Real Madrid faces Bayern in Champions League semis

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NYON, SWITZERLAND: Defending champions Real Madrid will face Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League while Liverpool play Roma in a repeat of the 1984 finals.

Real, who needed a dramatic late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to scrape past Juventus in the quarterfinals, will travel to Bayern’s Allianz Arena for the first leg on April 25.

Cristiano Ronaldo AFP PHOTO

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side will host Roma at Anfield on April 24 in their leg.

The Liverpool-Roma pairing will pit Mohamed Salah, who has scored 39 goals in all competitions already this season, against his former club. “Looking forward to seeing you again,” Roma tweeted about the Egyptian striker, who moved for £34 million (39.3 million euros, $48.4 million) last summer.


Real, having survived the remarkable Juventus fightback in the Santiago Bernabeu, are searching for a third successive European crown.

Club director Emilio Butragueno said: “It is truly historic to win two finals in a row and so obviously the prospect of reaching another final is an enormous source of motivation.

“We’ll see what we are capable of, but we’re confident.”

Memorable comeback

Newly crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern, who announced minutes before Friday’s draw that former player Niko Kovac will succeed Jupp Heynckes as coach at the end of the season, eased past Sevilla in their quarter-final.

Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said that despite losing to Real in the 2017 quarter-finals, Zinedine Zidane’s side held no fear for the Bavarians.

“They are formidable opponents. We were knocked out by them last year and we want to do better this year,” Salihamidzic said.

“I’m optimistic. We have great respect for them but we’re not afraid.”

Heynckes, who coached Madrid to Champions League glory in 1998, said he hoped Ronaldo “does not have a good day” when the sides meet.

Roma produced one of the most memorable reversals in Champions League history to knock out Lionel Messi’s Barcelona with a 3-0 victory in the Italian capital that gave them an unexpected win on away goals over the two legs.

Liverpool beat runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate to set up their meeting with the Italian side. Liverpool have happy memories of the 1984 final, played in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, which they won 4-2 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 in extra-time.

Klopp said: “I tried to think about what I feel, but it was not that I thought ‘Thank God not Bayern, thank God not Real Madrid, yippee Roma’ or the other way around.

“It is just the draw and I know it is very exciting, but it is good because the most important news is we are still in the competition.

“But if anybody thinks this is the easiest draw then I cannot help this person — they obviously didn’t see both games against Barcelona.”

Roma’s sporting director Monchi said: “This seems the perfect opportunity to achieve the happiness that we couldn’t get all those years ago.

“But we’ll have to take care of our game and do what we did against Barcelona.”

The second legs will be played in Madrid on May 1 and in Rome the following day.

Kiev will host the final on May 26.
AFP

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