UEFA Champions League semi-finals previews and predictions

RB Leipzig vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Date: 18/8/2020

Venue: Estadio da Luz, Lisbon

Time: 8:00pm

The first of two semi-finals in the UEFA Champions League takes place between German surprise package RB Leipzig and French champions Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.

Leipzig got the better of favourites Atletico Madrid in the previous round, capitalising on the Spaniards’ late loss of midfield shape and discipline which handed substitute Tyler Adams the opportunity to strike the winning goal.

However, that time and space wouldn’t be afforded against a PSG side that parade one of Europe’s finest tacklers, Idrissa Gueye.

The Senegal international will likely continue together alongside Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria (back after serving a one-match suspension) who takes the place of Ander Herrera in midfield, as Marco Verratti continues to be sidelined due to a calf injury picked up in training in the build-up to the quarter-final clash against Atalanta.

Asides the reinstatement of Di Maria to the line-up, Thomas Tuchel also has to make some big calls, Sergio Rico taking the place of Keylor Navas in goal (the Costa Rican went off with an hamstring injury against Atalanta) and the fit-again Kylian Mbappe in for Pablo Sarabia, a switch which could afford the Parisians better opportunity to break down the opposition defence ably marshalled by the impressive Dayot Upamecano.

This should be a highly tactical game, both teams managed by German coaches. The French team have scored in 33 successive Champions League games, conceding in 17 of their last 20 knockout fixtures in this competition, while the Germans likewise have been prolific, scoring in 13 of their 15 matches but have only kept three clean sheets in the competition.

On evidence of the all-round strength of performance in the last round and factoring the big miss in goal for PSG (Navas), we tip Leipzig to earn yet another big win as they seal an historic first-ever UEFA Champions League final placement.

Prediction: Leipzig 2 – 1 PSG                                                       

Lyon vs. Bayern Munich

Date: 19/8/2020

Venue: Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon

Time: 8:00pm

Lyon and Bayern Munich face off in the second and final UEFA Champions League semi-final fixture on Wednesday night in Lisbon, Portugal.

The record German champions were in frightening form in the previous round, easily discarding Barcelona with relative ease to setup a last four meeting against a Lyon team that defied the odds to eliminate an expensively assembled Manchester City team.

This game should provide a true test for the Hans-Dieter Flick managed Bayern side that face a very physical and hardworking team with totally different characteristics to Chelsea and Barcelona.

The major concern for Bayern is going to be the availability of players in the Lyon squad (Memphis Depay, Karl Toko Ekambi and Maxwell Cornet) who are prepared to capitalise on their high defensive line, as the aforementioned players can match their back-line for pace and strength.

The decisive factor in the game will be in the final third where the Germans have the superior quality and upper hand, competition top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski, the glue to the entire machine Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Ivan Perisic and Kingsley Coman all outstanding footballers.

We expect to see another entertaining game involving both teams in the competition. We predict goals at both ends, Robert Lewandowski to score anytime, over 3.5 goals and a Bayern Munich victory.

Prediction: Lyon 1 – 3 Bayern

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