Champions League

Chelsea avoid European giants

2014-04-11 12:39
Champions League logo (File)
Nyon - Title-holders Bayern Munich will face nine-time winners Real Madrid in a dramatic Champions League semi-final, which was drawn on Friday.

GALLERY: Champions League semi-final draw

Surprise packages Atletico Madrid must take on 2012 winners Chelsea in the second semi-final with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at the centre of a contractual intrigue between the two sides.

Bayern, who knocked out Manchester United on Wednesday, are aiming to become the first club to successfully defend the trophy in the 22-season Champions League era.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said the two leg clash should be the tournament final.

"The top two teams will play each other.

"These games are worthy of being the final. You only have one goal when you are in the semi-final - to reach the final at all costs," said Lahm.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti forecast "a very difficult tie for us, but also for Bayern Munich".

The Italian added: "I think Bayern Munich are a great team. They have individual and collective quality and have had a great season.

"Pep Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world and has a lot of experience.

"Bayern Munich could be the favourites, but our objective is to win the Champions league and if we want to win it we have to beat Bayern Munich."

Guardiola's German champions met Real in the semi-finals in 2011/12. They won that match on penalties in Madrid before losing to Chelsea in the final.

The continental superpowers have met five times in the semi-finals in all, with Bayern winning four.

While Bayern, seeking their sixth European trophy, are trying to reach their fourth final in five years Atletico are aiming to make it to their second, having been beaten by Bayern in the 1974 climax.

The La Liga leaders' reward for their stunning victory over Barcelona in the quarter-finals is a match up against former Real boss Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.

The pair last met in the 2012 Super Cup with Atletico beating Chelsea 4-1.

Mourinho is trying to win the coveted title for a third time with different clubs after Porto and Inter Milan.

Before the draw, UEFA made a veiled warning to Chelsea that they must not stop Atletico using goalkeeper Courtois.

European football's governing body said any provision in Courtois' loan agreement preventing his participation is against the competition's rules.

"Both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match," European football's governing body said in a statement.

"It follows that any provision in a private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as UEFA is concerned."

Courtois has been a key player in Atletico's spectacular season. Atletico beat Barcelona on Wednesday to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo told Spanish radio station Onda Cero after the match however that his side would have to pay "a lot of money" for the Belgian international to face Chelsea due to a provision in his contract.

Spanish media reports estimated the fee to be three million euros per match.

Courtois faced Chelsea once as an Atletico player in the European Supercup last season when the Spaniards ran out 4-1 victors.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay however later insisted there was no dispute.

"The loan was arranged at the start of the season. He could play against Chelsea - that was never in doubt," he told Sky News.

On the semi-final clash he added: "They're all fantastic sides. The important thing to us was to make sure we were in the semi-final.

"We need to make sure we are totally prepared for these games. I'm sure Jose will make sure we are but we have some important games before that."

The Champions League first legs are on April 22/23 with the return legs on April 29/30. The final is in Lisbon on May 24.

The Europa League semi-final draw pitted Spanish duo Sevilla and Valencia against each other. The other semi-final sees Benfica of Portugal play Juventus of Italy with the semi-finals to be played on April 24 and May 1.

Read more on:    champions league
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 September 2014
Liverpool v Ludogorets Razgrad, Anfield 20:45
Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg, Estadio da Luz 20:45
Juventus v Malmö FF, Juventus Stadium 20:45
Olympiakos v Atlético de Madrid, Karaiskaki Stadium 20:45
Real Madrid v FC Basel, Santiago Bernabéu 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal, Signal Iduna Park 20:45
Monaco v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Stade Louis II 20:45
Galatasaray v RSC Anderlecht, Türk Telekom Arena 20:45
17 September 2014
FC Bayern München v Manchester City, Allianz Arena 20:45
Ajax v Paris Saint Germain, Amsterdam ArenA 20:45
Barcelona v Apoel Nicosia, Camp Nou 20:45
FC Porto v BATE Borisov, Estadio do Dragao 20:45
NK Maribor v Sporting Lisbon, Ljudski Vrt 20:45
Roma v CSKA Moscow, Olimpico 20:45
Athletic Club v Shakhtar Donetsk, San Mamés 20:45
Chelsea v FC Schalke 04, Stamford Bridge 20:45
30 September 2014
CSKA Moscow v FC Bayern München, Arena Khimki 18:00
BATE Borisov v Athletic Club, Borisov Arena 20:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Porto, Donbass Arena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Chelsea, Estadio José Alvalade 20:45
Manchester City v Roma, Etihad Stadium 20:45
Apoel Nicosia v Ajax, GSP Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint Germain v Barcelona, Parc des Princes 20:45
FC Schalke 04 v NK Maribor, VELTINS-Arena 20:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.