Barcelona and Bayern complete loaded semifinals

Posted by Antonio Rusiñol, ESPN Stats & Information

In Wednesday’s Champions League action, Barcelona and Bayern Munich each advanced to complete the all-Spanish and German semifinals.

Spain will be represented by Barcelona and Real Madrid in the semifinals for the third consecutive season, while two Bundesliga clubs are in the semis for the first time.

Barcelona eliminated Paris Saint-Germain by virtue of the away-goals rule to reach the European Cup semifinals for the record sixth consecutive season, breaking a tie with 1956-60 Real Madrid. Barcelona also extended its undefeated streak in Champions League home games to 21.

Pedro scored the goal that sent the Catalan side through, his first UCL goal of the season. The Spanish forward hadn’t scored for Barcelona in his previous seven appearances since Jan. 27. Pedro’s goal came shortly after Lionel Messi came on as a substitute, his first appearance as a substitute in the UCL knockout round.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up Javier Pastore’s go-ahead goal for PSG early in the second half, the Swede’s competition-leading seventh assist of the season. However, Ibrahimovic is still being haunted by his former team, as he hasn’t won in five matches (0-2-3) against Barcelona since leaving Camp Nou.

Barcelona completed almost twice as many passes as PSG (583-300) and was far more effective, completing 86.6 percent of its attempts compared to 75.2 percent for the French club. Xavi led Barcelona by completing 95.1 percent of his total passes (98 of 103), including 92 of 92 in open play.

In Turin, Italy, Bayern defeated Juventus 2-0 to advance to its second consecutive Champions League semifinals and third in the past four seasons. Bayern has finished runner-up in two of the previous three seasons, and the German club could meet Real Madrid in a rematch of last year’s semifinals.

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring for Bayern Munich in the 64th minute after receiving a first-half booking that will keep him out of the first leg of the semifinals. Claudio Pizarro sealed the deal for Bayern in stoppage time; the 34-year-old Peruvian now has 48 goals in European competition, needing two more to be the 12th player to reach 50.

Juventus’ loss to Bayern is the Italian club’s second consecutive loss after going 18 straight Champions League games without suffering defeat. The last time Juventus failed to score in either leg of a UCL knockout round was the 2005-06 quarterfinals against Arsenal.

The draw for these loaded semifinals is Friday morning in Switzerland. The four remaining clubs have won a combined 18 European Cup titles. Real Madrid has a record nine championships; Barca and Bayern have four each; and Borussia Dortmund won in 1997-98.

In the Champions League era (since 1992-93), Barcelona has now reached the semifinals 10 times, two more than second-best Real Madrid and three more than Bayern Munich, which is tied for third with Manchester United and AC Milan.

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