Champions League team of the week

Posted by Alistair Tweedale,

DortmundOther / WhoScored.comDortmund have done well this week, despite crashing out.

Dramatic midweek matches are a fixture in the Champions League's latter stages these days and this week's round of quarterfinal clashes duly delivered. Chelsea summoned the spirit of 2012 to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit and progress to Jose Mourinho's eighth Champions League semifinal in the last 10 years, while Atletico Madrid continued their astounding season by finally beating Barcelona at the fifth attempt.

The standout performers generally saw their teams through to the next round, and here they are amalgamated into WhoScored. Continue Reading...

Atleti exultant as Barca compromise their style

Posted by Graham Hunter

Neymar rues a missed chance as Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid.GettyImagesNeymar failed to inspire Barcelona, who crashed out of the Champions League.

The first name which flitted into my mind when Howard Webb blew the final whistle was that of Luis Aragones.

His death earlier this year robbed Atletico Madrid of the man who was, arguably, their all-time legend.

On Wednesday night his old club returned to Europe's elite final four for the first time since 1974, when “The Wise Man of Hortaleza” was their principal goal threat, their burly, brilliant, inspirational talisman.

What a fine way to honour his football brain and his immense contribution to this club since the 1960s:

"Ganar, y ganar, y ganar y volver a ganar y ganar y ganar" was one of his favourite maxims; perhaps THE favourite. Continue Reading...

Bayern Munich emphatically respond to Man United's wake-up call

Posted by Stephan Uersfeld

AllsportArjen Robben puches the air after Bayern Munich reached the Champions League semifinals.

After Bayern Munich rallied from behind to win 3-1 against Manchester United to secure their fourth trip to the Champions League semifinals in the past five years, star Arjen Robben reflected on the match's frenetic second half.

“Those first ten minutes after the break were nothing less than a catastrophe,” Robben said.

Robben was pointing to Bayern’s wound -- a moment of weakness shown by the otherwise assured side. It healed quickly, within 69 seconds after Patrice Evra’s hammer-like goal, which sparked the title-holders to a sensational comeback. Continue Reading...

Three things: Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona

Posted by Miguel Delaney

Koke gave Atletico an early lead against Barcelona.GettyImagesKoke gave Atletico an early lead against Barcelona.

Three observations from Atletico Madrid's stunning 1-0 upset against Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, which saw the club advance to the Champions League semifinals thanks to an aggregate score of 2-1.

1. From history to hysterics

Four years waiting to beat Barcelona, 40 years waiting to return to a stage like the Champions League semifinal, but it would be wrong in this case to dwell on the past.

Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone are the future, representing the freshest thing to happen to European football beyond Borussia Dortmund. Continue Reading...

Mourinho took risks at the right time

Posted by Gabriele Marcotti

Rex Features/AP ImagesEven as he celebrated Chelsea's second goal, Mourinho remained focused on the bigger picture of winning the tie.

“Andre Schuerrle comes on and scores ... Demba Ba comes on and scores ... what do you call that?”


That was the exchange between an Italian television reporter and Jose Mourinho moments after Chelsea’s 2-0 victory versus Paris Saint-Germain, which saw them advance to the semifinal of the Champions League.

(Well, sort of. Because Mourinho didn’t say “luck.” Instead, he used an Italian expression which, at once, refers both to good fortune and a body part most people keep covered most of the time. Continue Reading...

Mourinho outwits Blanc in the end

Posted by Miguel Delaney

Jose Mourinho gatecrashes the Chelsea celebrations to get his tactics across.GettyImagesJose Mourinho gatecrashes the Chelsea celebrations to get his tactical message across.

Amid the delirium at Stamford Bridge, as the stadium finally rose to another remarkable Champions League recovery, there was one distinctive display of composure.

Although Jose Mourinho’s skip down the touchline recalled the raw emotion that propelled FC Porto to this trophy back in 2003-04, it was really all about the kind of ice-cold calculation that has kept him so competitive at this level for so long.

He admitted as much afterwards; that the run after Demba Ba’s 86th-minute tie-clincher was “not to celebrate”. Continue Reading...

Guardiola's philosophy under the microscope

Posted by Raphael Honigstein

Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty ImagesPep Guardiola is unbeaten in three previous Champions League encounters vs. Man United.

Prior to Bayern Munich's first-leg match against Manchester United in the Champions League, the Bavarians' manager, Pep Guardiola, said, “This is like a final.”

The Catalan didn’t use similar language ahead of the round of 16 against Arsenal, presumably because he didn’t quite believe in the likelihood of that tie actually being the end of Bayern Munich’s European campaign. Against the Red Devils, however, failure is very much within the realms of possibility. Continue Reading...

Three things: Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Posted by John Brewin

Demba Ba scores the dramatic 87th-minute goal which edged Chelsea past PSG.GettyImagesDemba Ba scores the dramatic 87th-minute goal that lifted Chelsea.

Three observations from Chelsea's 2-0 second leg win vs. Paris Saint-Germain, which saw them advance to the Champions League semifinals on away goals.

1. Forgotten man saves Chelsea

What was all that about Jose Mourinho hating his strikers? Demba Ba, the least favoured of a unit the manager has shown little but disdain for, provided Chelsea’s moment of the season with a late winner to deny PSG.

To show his approval, Mourinho staged a touchline-length run at Stamford Bridge to celebrate with his formerly forgotten man. Continue Reading...

Chelsea take challenge to PSG

Posted by Miguel Delaney

LAurent Blanc and Blaise Matuidi prematchGettyImagesLaurent Blanc has a lead, but knows he will come under pressure.

There could be no mistaking the shift in tone; the difference in declaration. This time, there was no talk of little horses, no downplaying of expectations.

"If you ask me if I think we’ll win, yes I think so," Jose Mourinho asserted ahead of Chelsea's Champions League second leg with Paris Saint-Germain. "I think we are going to win, really, and, at the end of the two legs, we’ll have scored more goals than them. The only thing I know is that if we don’t score a minimum of two goals we have no chance. Continue Reading...

Champions League quarterfinals: Five talking points

Posted by Kevin Palmer

This week sees the second legs of the Champions League quarterfinals as PSG visit Stamford Bridge and Borussia Dortmund host Real Madrid on Tuesday, while Manchester United travel to Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid welcome Barcelona t the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

1. Chelsea's depleted battalion

• PickCenter: Chelsea vs. PSG Insider

 	Ramires and Samuel Eto'o Chelsea
GettyImagesRamires will be absent through suspension but Samuel Eto'o may feature vs. PSG.

Chelsea will look to rekindle the magic of their improbable run to Champions League glory two seasons ago when they look to overturn a 3-1 first -leg deficit against Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge, yet the current Blues machine appears to be lacking some key cogs. Continue Reading...

Champions League Team of the Week

Posted by Martin Laurence,

Real MadridOther / WhoScored.comReal Madrid have the midfield area swen up.

Having pulled off the surprise result of the round to reach the quarterfinals with a second-leg comeback against Olympiakos, Manchester United were out to prove the doubters wrong again, keeping holders Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Elsewhere Real Madrid strengthened their credentials with a crushing 3-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund, while Chelsea left themselves a lot to do by conceding a late third in a 3-1 defeat to PSG. In the other game, a 1-1 stalemate between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou sets up an intriguing second leg next week. Continue Reading...

Three Things: Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund

Posted by Stephan Uersfeld

Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty ImagesCristiano Ronaldo's goal ensured a Real win that was never in doubt.

Gareth Bale's early goal set the tone as Real Madrid thumped Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at the Bernabeu. Here are three things from their Champions League quarterfinal first leg...

1. Real looking like favourites

They delivered. Again. They always deliver these days, at least in the Champions League. Two La Liga defeats in their last three games have put a lot of pressure on Real Madrid. And, really, Borussia Dortmund have not been the team that Los Blancos have been dreaming of over the past 12 months. Continue Reading...