Early this morning, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League conducted their Semifinal draws and depending on what you wanted, you either left excited or disappointed. The Semifinal will not provide us with another edition of El Clasico but it leaves the possibility of an El Clasico Champions League Final. Each matchup, no matter how easy it looks like on paper, will provide some shocking and unforeseen results.
Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich – May 6 and May 12
On paper this is going to be the most exciting and most intriguing matchup. Pep Guardiola gets to face his old team for the first time. Pep should relish in the fact that he and his Bayern team hold the advantages in this matchup.
While it looks like an even game, Bayern Munich should have a better time adjusting to the club and continental schedule. By the time Bayern plays Barcelona, they will have clinched the Bundesliga and be able to rest some of their starters to prepare for the gams. On the flip side, Barcelona will have to face Real Sociedad two days before the second leg game and then face Atletico Madrid the weekend after. Barcelona has to do this while also trying to protect a two point lead in La Liga right now. They’re going to have to try and go for both and therefore, may lose a bit of strength in each competition.
Juventus vs. Real Madrid – May 5 and May 13
Juventus and Real Madrid fall under the same predicament as Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Juventus will have likely clinched the Scudetto by then and like Bayern Munich, can rest starters before and after these games.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, is competing against Barcelona and can’t afford to give up any more points. They are currently two points behind Barcelona and while they don’t have to face Atletico Madrid, they do face strong competition in Sevilla and Valencia during this time. That alone will add some strategy and intrigue to these Champions League matchups.
Napoli vs. Dnipro – May 7 and May 14
The two Europa League matchups seem pretty straight forward. The first, pits Napoli and Dnipro against each other. After Napoli’s dominance against Wolfsburg, facing Dnipro would seem like a mere formality. While Napoli does look like the more talented team, don’t discount Dnipro. It is always tough to play in Ukraine and this will not be any different.
Sevilla vs. Fiorentina – May 7 and May 14
The defending champions are going for a record fourth Europa League title and face Fiorentina. As it was mentioned before, Sevilla faces Real Madrid during this time. With the new rule in place, Sevilla has two chances to get into the Champions League next year. Sevilla can get in by winning the Europa League or by getting into the top four of La Liga. They are two points behind Valencia in 5th.
Fiorentina isn’t even in the Europa League at the moment. They are 6th and one point out of qualifying for the Europa League in Serie A. A win in the Europa League will vault Fiorentina from outside the Europa League to the Champions League.