UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals Preview and Predictions

Reuters/Lee Smith

UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals Preview and Predictions


UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals Preview and Predictions


The resumption of the UEFA Champions League comes with two incredible ties in the semi-finals. Four clubs will be looking to punch their ticket into the final, but only two will advance. Will Manchester City return to the UCL Final for the second time in the last three seasons? Which Italian giant will earn their place in the final? Christian De Block and Aiden Furnish preview and predict the two semi-final matchups. 

Real Madrid (SPA) vs. Manchester City (ENG):

Christian: Year after year, Manchester City has fallen short in the Champions League. Will the English side finally get over the hump against the reigning champions? Real Madrid may be having a down campaign in LaLiga (14 points off first-placed FC Barcelona), but they have not let that affect their performances in Europe. Carlo Ancelotti’s side will have the opportunity to knock Manchester City out of the competition for the second consecutive season.  

Norwegian striker Erling Haaland has 51 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for City, including 12 in eight UCL matches. The 22-year-old has been the best player in the world, scoring goals with ease in his first season under the management of Pep Guardiola. Haaland is sensational, but City has other players who are having great campaigns. Kevin De Bruyne continues to be one of the best creative midfielders, getting 24 assists in all competitions. Jack Grealish has become far more comfortable in his second season with the club. 

Defensively, Nathan Ake, Rúben Dias and Co. have been great at the back. City has had some great teams in the last five seasons, but this may be their deepest one yet. Haaland has been the standout striker in Europe, but Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is not far behind him. The French forward has 28 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions, 20 of which are non-penalty goals. Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo have been great off the wings, providing constant pace and goal threat alongside Benzema. 

Madrid has plenty of flexibility in the midfield, with Federico Valverde, Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni playing critical roles. They have a group that understands what it takes to win the Champions League, something City does not have. Real Madrid have every opportunity to advance to the Champions League Final, but I have to give the slight edge to Manchester City. No defense in Europe can contain Haaland, even one that includes the quality of Antonio Rüdiger and Éder Militão. Benzema and Vinícius will score a couple goals, but it won’t be enough in the end.

Score Prediction: Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid 

Reuters/Lee Smith

Aiden: A rematch of last year’s UCL semi-final tie between arguably the two favorites heading in. This could end up being the match(es) of the year and footy fans all around should be and are thankful that we are getting to see these teams duke it out one more time on this stage. With Real Madrid essentially running it back with the same squad, Manchester City are the ones who went back and reloaded, gaining who could be the newest winner of the Ballon D’Or, Erling Haaland. 

Although grabbing the best number nine on the planet right now is quite the upgrade, I find it hard to see a world where Real Madrid does not show up equipped and then some for anything Guardiola has to throw at them. Carlo Ancelotti hasn’t just been there before, he was there only last summer. Madrid eat, sleep, and breathe Champions League Football regardless of their performances in LaLiga play. Manchester City, despite their refined roster, are on the other side of history here. City may as well be cursed when it comes to this competition. 

In the last 10 years, they have suffered multiple Round of 16 losses, multiple Quarter Final losses, A pair of Semi-Final losses, and a Final loss to Chelsea in 2021 have made many City supporters, and myself, doubtful of their ability to get over the hump. Combine this with them not having Jesus and Sterling, which were both crucial pieces in their run last year, and you have another season of Premier League success, and Champions League disappointment. 

As for my positive for Madrid that will push them over the edge, I believe this will be the UCL where Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo stake their claim as the future of Real Madrid football. Benzema stole the show last season with his otherworldly performances that caused him to not only secure another UCL title, but the Ballon D’Or as well. This year, we have seen a slight regression in play from Karim Benzema, but I don’t think it will matter. The attacking play from the Brazilian wonder-duo of Vini and Rodrygo will be enough to give Real a chance at their 15th European Cup Trophy. 

Score Prediction: Real Madrid 4-3 Manchester City 


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