It was tough, but Bayern München have made it to the semifinal for the third year in a row. The possible opponents die Roten could face are more heterogeneous than a year ago, making the draw all that more intriguing.
What used to be a preditermined fate is now in the little plastic footballs the UEFA presenters will ceremoniously open. The opponent is more imperative than ever, and the locations of each leg could be just as critical. Here are the participants left.
|Team||UEFA Coefficient||Titles||2012/13 Finish|
Two Spanish teams enter the field for the fourth year in a row (explaining the uptick in their respective UEFA Coefficients), but both come from Spain's capital for the first time since the fourth European Cup in the 1958/59 season. Chelsea meanwhile carry with them England's relevancy in European football, having won both the Champions League and Europa League in the last two seasons.
All possible ties would be rematches of historical proportions, so the BFW writers break down who they want Bayern to face on the road to Lisbon.
Ryan Cowper: Real Madrid
After watching back-to-back ties against teams employing a bunker-press-counter strategy the prospect of drawing Atletico Madrid or Chelsea, who are sure to employ the same tactics, is enough to make me scream in frustration while rending and ripping the stuffing out of any teddy bear I can get my hands on. Rather then resorting to such inhumane and unhealthy stress release measures, I'd like to see Bayern Munich draw Real Madrid. While their highly charged and potent attack is certainly extremely dangerous, their recent tie with Borussia Dortmund also showed the cracks in their armor. Their centerbacks are a liability, and their central midfield really suffers without the presence of Sami Khedira. It just happens to be these areas are where Bayern Munich can bring it biggest differences in strength to bear.
Directly contrasted to that are Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid and Jose Mourinho's Chelsea who are defined by their organization and impressive defense. Going up against either of those two teams, with the stressful results this Bayern Munich attack has had against staunch defensive teams in mind, makes Bayern Munich's prospect of making the final more unlikely.
Samrin Hasib: Real Madrid
I am kind of split. I personally do not want to play any but I think I will go with Real Madrid because as the old saying goes "you have to beat the best to be the best". Yes, more often than not, the press over-hypes Real and they were really one-good-call-by-the-ref-for-Lewa away from being knocked out if you know which incident I am trying to get at from the Round of 16 or one-Mika-conversion away. Atletico is a dark horse and Diego Simeone scares me a bit. Chelsea is not my favorite opponent. Also, Bayern seems to need a wake up call to release their best- Real will be giving them plenty of those.
Phillip Quinn: Chelsea
Personally, I still want revenge on Chelsea for the 2012 Champions League Final, and I don't consider our victory last summer in the UEFA Super Cup to be adequate enough revenge. Plus, it would be kind of cool to be responsible for the elimination of Manchester City (Hey, we finished ahead of them in the group and forced them to play Barcelona), Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea.
Davis VanOpdorp: Atlético Madrid
Holding Barcelona to just one goal over two legs deserves a trophy in itself, and Atlético Madrid possesses one of the best out-and-out strikers in the world at the moment in Diego Costa. The fact remains that of all the teams left in the Champions League, Atléti have the least experience. Winning two of the last four Europa League does not hurt their case, but taking down Fulham and Athletic Bilbao is different from taking down Bayern Munich. Diego Godín and Miranda can handle the flash-and-dash of Lionel Messi and Neymar, but what happens when Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Müller storm their turf? If Bayern get up in the first leg, Atlético Madrid will not have the firepower to get back into the tie, especially if Diego Costa and Arda Turan are hampered by injury. The dark horse will have a tough time dealing with Europe's German thoroughbreds.
The draw will be at 6:00 AM EDT on Fox Deportes and Fox Soccer 2Go in the United States (Television and Streaming here). What do you think? Cast your vote and tell us what you think in the comments below (or just complain about how outrageous we are).