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Champions League heats up as Leipzig, PSG, Bayern, Lyon battle for place in the final

Champions League trophy

The UEFA Champions League fireworks return on Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 August 2020 as four teams battle for a place in the final. The semifinals open with the clash between RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. Both teams won their quarterfinal ties in dramatic circumstances:

RBL scored a late winner to defeat Atletico Madrid 2-1 – with Tyler Adams’ deflected effort deciding the game in the 88th minute – while PSG left it even later to come from behind against Atalanta, with Marquinhos and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting netting in the 90th and 93rd minutes respectively to claim a stunning 2-1 victory.

The clash will pit two German coaches against one another: the rising star, Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann, was once coached by Thomas Tuchel, before injuries cut his career short and he became a scout for the current PSG manager.

“Games against Thomas are always very interesting,” Nagelsmann said. “Because he has a very good idea of how to play football. I hope that I will also come up with a good idea against him and that my boys will perform as they did against Atletico. Then we will play a very good game.”

Wednesday 19 August will feature the second semi-final from Estadio Jose Alvalade, as Olympique Lyon face Bayern Munich in a second Bundesliga v Ligue 1 clash.

Munich put in an awe-inspiring performance in the quarters, annihilating Barcelona 8-2 to make a major statement of intent – if they weren’t considered the tournament favourites before, they certainly are now!

Ominously, Bayern coach Hansi Flick refused to bask in the glory of their showing against Barca, instead insisting that only the next match matters: “It is a win and we wanted to reach semifinals. Okay, it is impressive, we set a small marker, but the experienced players know that the next game awaits and we will need the same performance. Let it sink in, analyse and then prepare for the semifinal.”

Lyon, meanwhile, are very much the dark horses after goals from Maxwel Cornet and Moussa Dembele (two) saw them shock Manchester City 3-1 in their quarterfinal. Manager Rudi Garcia is not setting any limits for his team as they head into the clash with the German heavyweights.

“We know who we are coming up against next,” said Garcia. “We eliminated a Juventus side who were one of the contenders to win the Champions League, and a Manchester City side who were contenders to win the Champions League.

“Bayern will be exactly the same, but on the basis of what the players have shown, logically we can still hope to get through another round and that is what we are going to prepare to do.”