Champions League semifinals schedule, live stream, storylines

Champions League semifinals schedule, live stream, storylines
Fecha de publicación: 
29 April 2024
Imagen principal: 

A star-studded edition of the UEFA Champions League semifinals kicks off on Tuesday with a spot in the June 1 final at London's Wembley Stadium within reach for the last four teams standing.

The proceedings begin with Real Madrid's trip to Bayern Munich, arguably the headlining act of the penultimate round. Both teams will arrive at the Allianz Arena with some high-profile names like Vinicius Junior and Harry Kane, which makes the faceoff just as much a test of each side's defensive resolve as it is their attacking prowess.

Play resumes a day later in Germany when Borussia Dortmund welcome Paris Saint-Germain. This will be Dortmund's first Champions League semifinal since their run to the final in 2013, but they will come up against a PSG side that is beginning to prove they are much more than a one-man team -- even with Kylian Mbappe on the field.

Storylines for the semifinals

Bayern's last stand?: By most accounts, this has been a season to forget for Bayern Munich, whose 12-year streak atop the Bundesliga is officially over and a consolation prize in the domestic cup is not even an option. And yet, the weakest version of Bayern in recent memory finds themselves in the Champions League semifinals, offering a very noticeable silver lining on a cloudy season. There's just one problem -- they arguably have the hardest road to the final than any of the last four teams remaining.

They are tasked with beating Real Madrid, now the tournament favorites after Manchester City's elimination and a team with a knack for getting away with consistency time and time again. It has required a range of tactics, including an overreliance on different players depending on the game state. Against City, Los Blancos leaned on their defense but against Byaern, the expectation is that they will aim for an attacking field day with the likes of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham in fine form.

This forces the question: Are Bayern ultimately up to the task? Harry Kane is a reliable goalscorer with 42 goals in 42 games and can keep them in the running throughout. Their defense is the opposite, though -- Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Dier have been responsible for several shaky moments in the back, including their first-leg draw at Arsenal in the quarterfinals. The pairing had arguably its best showing in their second-leg win over the Gunners, but Real Madrid's goalscorers might be an entirely different story.

The Mbappe factor: The last several months at PSG have essentially been the Mbappe farewell tour, particularly in the Champions League, where he continues to be positioned as their main man. Luis Enrique's team, though, have demonstrated an ability to succeed on Mbappe's good days and his bad days, making them the heavy favorites against Dortmund.

Their recent performances raise this question, though: How big a role will the World Cup winner actually play for the rest of this Champions League campaign? As the quarterfinal triumph over Barcelona proves, goals can come from a lot of different contenders -- Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha, for example, were the standouts in the last round. PSG are less and less reliant on Mbappe, which is good news for their prospects in the immediate future and might lead to some arguments that they are a surprisingly effective team that cannot be counted out in terms of winning the whole thing.

Mbappe undoubtedly makes PSG better when he's at his best, and the end of his journey with his hometown club has arguably been the biggest storyline of the Champions League season. With a high-profile end in London in sight, could he turn up as the headline-making player of the semifinals as he chases his first Champions League title, or will PSG begin to solidify their look without him in the process?

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.