Manchester City vs Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich will be the two semifinals of the Champions League this season, with the first leg all set to take place this week. While Man City and Atletico will look to take advantage of playing at home in the first leg, both Real and Bayern will target those precious away goals as Europe's elite competition hits its business end.
Playing a first ever Champions League semifinal is always a momentous occasion and the key for City will be to not be overawed by the situation. While the squad is filled with experienced players who have been there and done that, playing together as a team for the first time in a semifinal will bring out a few butterflies. How they handle that pressure will be key when Real Madrid come to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
"We are in a good moment," Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini was quoted as saying by The Guardian. "It's very important when you arrive at this stage in knockout games to be in your best moment. Here, in the Premier League, the last five games, we won four, we draw one. We eliminated Paris Saint-Germain (in the Champions League quarterfinals), so I think we are in a good moment."
Real Madrid, of course, come with bags of experience, with the bulk of the squad involved in the title victory back in 2014. The major concern for Real Madrid going into this match will be the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, who sat out the 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano at the weekend. If Ronaldo cannot recover in time for this first leg – as it stands, he is expected to feature -- Manchester City will really fancy their chances of building a strong lead going into the second leg at the Bernabeu.
The second semifinal is probably the more intriguing one, purely because of the clash of styles. While Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid are your solid-in-the-defence side, Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich are all about the attack. It really is one of those irresistible force vs immovable object clashes, and how well Bayern unlock that Atletico defence will decide the fate of, not only this first leg, but the entire tie.
Atletico Madrid come into this semifinal after dumping the champions Barcelona out of the tournament, so confidence will not be an issue. While Bayern have been far from their best in the Champions League this season, there is little doubt that if they find their rhythm, they will be near impossible to stop.
Champions League semifinal schedule: First leg:
Manchester City vs Real Madrid
Date: Tuesday, April 26.
Time: 7.45 p.m. BST (8.45 p.m. CET, 2.45 p.m. ET, 12.15 a.m. IST).
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
TV listings: India: Ten 2, Ten 1 HD. UK: BT Sport Europe. Spain: TV3 and Antena 3. USA: Fox Sports 1. Canada: TSN. France, Thailand, Indonesia, Middle East, North Africa and Australia: Bein Sports. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport.
Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Date: Wednesday, April 27.
Time: 8.45 p.m. CET (7.45 p.m. BST, 2.45 p.m. ET, 12.15 a.m. IST).
Venue: Vicente Calderon, Madrid.
TV listings: India: Ten2, Ten 1 HD. Spain, France, Middle East, North Africa, Australia, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia: Bein Sports. Germany: ZDF. UK: BT Sport Europe. USA: Fox Sports. China: QQ Sports and PPTV. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport.