UEFA Champions League: Madrid Fiesta Ahead


The 2013-2014 edition of the UEFA Champions League has its two finalists. The biggest club competition in the world never ceases to amaze the world of football. Even before the start of the tournament, betting houses, fans, critics, players and coaches start speculating on who will win the desired trophy. Since the cup changed its name to Champions League back in 1992, no team has ever won back-to-back titles, and this year was no exception. In addition, the team that has been crowned more times than anyone else will be making a new appearance at a final after 12 long years, while the other one will appear again after 40 years. To top it off, for the first time in history, two teams from the same city will be the finalists.

After a 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid would head to the Allianz Arena to defend its lead and gain a spot in the final. Bayern Munich, defending champion, was in front of them and would not make things easy. With arguably the best manager in recent football history, the German side resorted to their 12th man to make the arena a living hell and intimidate Madrid. However, Guardiola’s men have taken a serious hit in their form after winning the Bundesliga a month ago. This was noticeable in the first leg, since the team had an extremely high ball possession, but failed to even startle Casillas. The second leg looked like it was going to follow the same format, with Bayern monopolizing the ball and Madrid hoping for a mistake here or there to complicate things. As it turns out, Madrid chose to follow the tactics used in the Copa del Rey win over Barcelona, and they proved to be successful once again. With the team really being a team and working smoothly in defense and offense, they found their prize early on as Ramos dived twice inside the box to beat Neuer before the 20th minute. Bayern had to score four goals in order to be in the final. Madrid’s defending was solid, something that had been very unusual in past years, but Ancelotti has managed to master this season. Before the end of the first half, a perfect counterattack found Bale sprinting towards Neuer and assisting Ronaldo so he could pleasantly score the third one of the night. Shortly after this, and with the game virtually decided, Xabi Alonso performed a tackle that cost him a yellow card that will forbid him from being present in the big final. The second half saw Madrid continue a solid performance and Bayern desperately trying to force a miracle. This would not occur as Ronaldo scored a free kick before the final whistle. 0-4 and the Spanish giants make it to the final two after 12 years waiting for it. Carlo Ancelotti proved that he’s quietly making Madrid a force to be reckoned with.

In the Wednesday match, Atlético Madrid headed to London in order to fight Chelsea for a spot in the final. The 1st leg ended up with an insipid 0-0 draw. Atlético stayed true to its style and Chelsea parked the bus. However, things had to be drastically different this time if the teams really wanted to be in the final. Diego Simeone has taken Atlético to levels that it hasn’t reached in a long time. Seen as the 3rd biggest team in Spain, only in recent history have we seen it win trophies, and this season has been its finest in La Liga in decades. The game started off very equal, with both teams staying true to their style. Near the end of the first half, a good Chelsea play saw Willian giving Azpilicueta a ball that he perfectly gave Torres so he could beat Courtois. The former Atlético forward was a perfect gentleman as he refused to celebrate the goal against a team that put him on the map over a decade ago. It didn’t take long before the Spanish side equalized, since Adrian took advantage of a good play and a mess inside the Chelsea box in order to put things 1-1. Things stayed very equal in the second half, but Atlético was more aggressive. In a dangerous play, Diego Costa tried to control a ball inside the box, but Eto’o tackled him and gave the Madrid side a penalty. Costa took a powerful shot and Schwarzer could not do anything; 1-2 and Atlético were one step closer to the final. Not long after this the Spanish side approached the opposite side and Arda Turan had space to put in the back of the net. Chelsea could not fight off this result and were once again out of the semi-finals. This is the 4th consecutive time that Mourinho is kicked out of a semi-final, an absolute record.

Madrid has a huge reason to celebrate, not only do its biggest teams will fight each other for European glory, but the final will be held in Lisboa, which is geographically perfect for both Atlético and Real’s fans to fill up the Estádio da Luz. With three more game left for Atlético and four for Real, La Liga is almost over, but will serve as a means to fight for another title and stay in solid shape before the big feast on May 24th. Expect big things from this final.

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