The Final Four of the Champions League


Star players (from left to right) Kylian Mbappe, Christian Pulisic, Karim Benzema and Kevin De Bruyne are hoping to help their teams reach the Champions League Final.(Courtesy of Twitter)

Over the past two weeks, both legs of the quarterfinals of the Champions League were played. The four quarterfinal matches were Chelsea vs Porto, Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Liverpool vs Real Madrid and Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund. 

As a reminder, whichever team wins on aggregate will advance into the semifinals. If the aggregate is even, then it will go to the team that scored the most away goals. If that is equal, then it goes to an additional 30 minutes of extra time in the second match, followed by a penalty shootout if necessary.

One of the most anticipated matches was Bayern Munich vs PSG, a rematch of last year’s final. Before this, Bayern’s chances were dented when star striker Robert Lewandoski was revealed to be injured for a month, ruling him out of both legs. 

When the first leg kicked off, PSG striker Kylian Mbappe resumed his hot run of form with a brace as PSG won the first leg 3-2, putting them in the driver’s seat with their three away goals. This meant that Bayern would need to win by a two goal margin in the second leg since the first leg was in Germany. 

In the second leg, PSG missed so many chances. Star forward Neymar hit the post and the crossbar, which gave Bayern a chance. Bayern was able to score a goal but was unable to get that clinching second goal. The second leg ended in a 1-0 Bayern victory, but a 3-3 tie on aggregate. PSG advanced to the semifinals due to the away goals rule.

The next quarterfinal was Chelsea vs Porto. Coming into the first leg, Chelsea were the clear favorites under their new coach Thomas Tuchel. Chelsea lived up to expectations with a 2-0 away win in the first leg with goals from midfielder Mason Mount and defender Ben Chillwell. In the second leg, they gave up a late goal and lost 1-0 on the night, but advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 aggregate. 

The third quarterfinal was Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund. City were the favorites entering the tie, but they have had problems advancing past the quarterfinal stage since 2015. City opened up the scoring early in the first half with midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. However, Dortmund equalized in the 84th minute with midfielder Marco Reus.

It seemed that Dortmund would have that crucial away goal that would give them the advantage over City in the second leg. However, it was not meant to be. 

In the 90th minute, City midfielder Phil Foden scored, giving them a 2-1 victory in the first leg. This meant that for Dortmund to advance, all they needed to do was score a goal and keep a clean sheet. In the second leg, they started out perfectly with midfielder Jude Bellingham scoring a beautiful shot to give them the 1-0 lead that they needed to advance and eliminate City. 

However, there was more drama. A controversial penalty was awarded to City and forward Riyad Marhez converted to equal the scoreline on the day and give them the lead on aggregate. Foden then put the final nail in the coffin with an absolute rocket in the 75th minute to give City a 2-1 victory on the night and get them to their first semifinal since 2014 with a 4-2 aggregate scoreline. 

The final quarterfinal was Real Madrid vs Liverpool, a rematch of the 2018 final. In the first leg in Spain, Liverpool’s vulnerabilities in the back cost them, losing 3-1 with forward Mohammad Salah scoring the away goal. In the second leg, Liverpool was on a mission. They were pressing effectively and creating so many chances. However, they were unable to finish any of their chances. The second leg ended in a 0-0 draw, and with their defensive mistakes in the first leg being punished, they were eliminated 3-1 on aggregate, ending Liverpool’s chances of winning a trophy this season.

With semifinalists announced, it is time to take a look at the upcoming semifinal legs. PSG is set to face Manchester City and Real Madrid will face Chelsea. The first leg of the Chelsea match will be on Tuesday while the PSG match will be on Wednesday. Then for the second leg, the days are reversed with PSG playing on Tuesday and Chelsea on Wednesday.

Both of these semifinal clashes are amazing. In one match, PSG brings their attacking capabilities against City, who love to play free-flowing football to find the open space and attack. City’s dream of a quadruple is now impossible, but a treble is still on the cards so they will give it everything. Both of these teams are equal in quality so it would be foolish to try and predict a winner. 

The same goes for Chelsea and Real Madrid. Madrid’s midfield is top tier and with that, they can control the pace of the game as well as create chances for the forwards to score. As for Chelsea, they have become a defensive fortress under Tuchel. Once again, it would be impossible to predict a winner. All we can do now is wait and watch as the final four teams are now one step away from the Champions League final. With everything on the line, these matches will not disappoint.