Champions League 2019/20: Semi-Final Predictions
“And then there were four…”
The Champions League has almost reached its penultimate stage as only four teams remain in the competition.
This is also the first time that the semi-final of the Europe’s biggest competition will see sides from only Germany and France, with no involvement from the usual contenders from nations like Spain, England and Italy.
The representative from French Ligue 1 are expectedly Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and shockingly Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon). Both the clubs have made it to this stage of the competition for the first time in this century and it is a great feat considering the fact that for almost 2 decades now, the French league has been called a one-sided race with PSG’s reference.
On the other hand, Germany have their best bet in the competition too. Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich find themselves in the best position to clinch the treble, while they are accompanied by fellow German counterparts RB Leipzig. This is the biggest season in Leipzig’s history as they were founded in this very century and have even managed to reach the top four clubs of Europe this season.
Today we take a look at the predictions for both the semi-final fixtures from a tactical as well as statistical point of view.
RB Leipzig vs Paris Saint-Germain
The first semi-final of the Champions League shall be played between Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain at the Estadio da Luz on the 18th of August 2020 at 20:00 BST.
There was no chance anybody would have rated Leipzig to come up as the better side against the mighty side from Madrid, Spain — Atletico. But against all the odds and in the dying moments of the match, the Germans clinched the fixture courtesy of a Tyler Adams strike.
On the other side of Portugal, Paris Saint-Germain were being rattled fair and square by the rampant Italians from Atalanta. For more than 70 minutes into the fixture, Atalanta found themselves in the driving seat of the game heading to cause a huge upset in the Champions League.
But fate had other plans as Paris Saint-Germain came up clutch just before the 90-minute mark as an equalizer from Brazilian defensive-mid Marquinhos meant that the sides were levelled going into extra time.
While the entire Europe expected the tie to go to Additional Extra Time, a moment of magic from Neymar and Kylian Mbappe released Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to win the game and seal the semi-final berth right in the last breath.
Both Leipzig and PSG are extremely similar sides when it comes to tactics and playing style. Either of the sides likes to play a possession-based direct style of football, with emphasis on creating goals rather than quick aggressive counter-attacking.
The biggest talking point going into the game will be the absence of PSG goal-keeper Keylor Navas, as he was the stabilizing factor in the team when they were struggling against Atalanta in the last round. The shot stopper is also a 3-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and will be missed on Tuesday.
There will be goals on both ends for sure in this one. But it is Paris Saint-Germain who shall prove to be the side which will outscore their opponents. The front-three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi in addition to the advanced playmaker from Argentina, Angel Di Maria will be too much for the German club to contain for 90 minutes.
This shall be a battle of two inexperienced sides with highly technical coaches and talented young players, but the Parisiens should see this game through.
Lyon vs Bayern Munich
The second semi-final is between two teams which more or less created history in their own style to progress to this round. Lyon take on Bayern Munich on the 19th of August 2020, at the Estadio Jose Alvalade at 20:00 BST.
Miraculously, Lyon has caused two upsets in the last 4 weeks in Europe. By eliminating Mr. Champions League Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus in Turin and then outclassing Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the French club has literally erased the fact that they finished 7th in the Ligue 1 this season.
Two goals from demolition substitution Moussa Dembele fired Lyon 3–1 against Manchester City as the blue half of Manchester were sent home weeping from Portugal last week. But the major focus of the night was on the Lyon defence, who showed the world’s resilience to shut the doors for City’s talented attacking force.
Well, Lyon’s defenders will face the test of their lifetime as they are coming up against the favourites Bayern Munich next.
Bayern Munich were simply invincible and ridiculously great in their 8–2 rout of Barcelona in the quarter-final. With 6 different scorers on the score-board, the Bavarians proved their might against a club which has an equal or more better Champions League history — FC Barcelona.
The Lionel Messi led side equalized after a Thomas Muller goal in the opening 10 minutes, but the tie went down-hill from that point onwards for the Spanish giants as Bayern were scoring for fun in the second half as they ripped apart the Catalans.
Lyon have nothing to lose anymore, reaching the semi-final of the Champions League in a season which could be called catastrophic when their domestic record is considered. A side which has nothing to lose is always one of the toughest sides in football, and with the tie being a single-legged fixture — Lyon shouldn’t be underestimated by the German Champions.
Bayern Munich, on the other hand, tick all the boxes of an ideal football team which deserves to win every competition they participate in. A world-class goal-keeper, World Cup winning defenders, creative midfielders, and Europe’s best front-three — Bayern has got it all.
The semi-final between Lyon and Bayern should be quite straight-forward with the Germans being in the driving seat since the kick-off whistle. Lyon will have to defend for their lives but sooner or later, the backline will be broken by the rampant Bayern.
This is Bayern Munich’s semi-final to lose.
You can catch a more detailed preview to both the semi-final games and even betting tips for the same on Mighty Tips.