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Champions League Semifinals: 10 Interesting Facts You Need to Know

Ryan BaileyFeatured Columnist IVOctober 14, 2016

Champions League Semifinals: 10 Interesting Facts You Need to Know

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    The tedious speeches have been made, the balls have been released and re-plucked, and the results of the Champions League semifinal draw are finally in.

    The Germans and the Spaniards have been kept apart, setting the stage for either an El Clasico or Der Klassiker at Wembley on May 25 (or perhaps an additional round of Spaniards against Germans).

    Here's 10 key facts you need to know ahead of the big games.

     

Barcelona Have a Strong Record Against Germans

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    Barcelona have never been beaten by a German club in a knockout tie, winning each of their last seven attempts (via @OptaJoe).

    Their last meeting with a Bundesliga side was a 7-1 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012, in which Leo Messi scored five goals. Be afraid, Bayern defence.  

Madrid Could Triumph at Home but Struggle in Germany

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    Real Madrid's home record against German opposition reads W18 D4 L2, including a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu in last season's semifinal.

    However, Los Blancos lost the return leg on penalties and they have an undesirable record on German soil.

    They have won just once in their last 24 matches in Germany and their record in Bundesliga territory reads W1 D7 L17.

    In Madrid's 50 matches against German sides, the overall goal difference is 85-83 in their favor (via @InfostradaLive).

When Barca Beat Bayern, They Win the Trophy

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    Barca have only met Bayern Munich in two two-legged encounters. The victor in each instance reached the final (as will be the case here!) but only Barcelona lifted the trophy.

    The Spaniards won 5-1 on aggregate (including a 4-0 victory at the Nou Camp) in the 2008-09 quarterfinals on their way to winning the competition.

    Die Roten defeated them twice in the 1998-99 group stage on their way to the final, which they lost to Manchester United in the dying minutes, lest they be reminded.

BVB and Real Madrid Head-to-Head

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    Real Madrid have met Borussia Dortmund six times in this competition, but have failed to beat them in the last three attempts, including their two fantastic meetings in this season's "Group of Death."

    In those six meetings, BVB have won once and Madrid twice. 

Borussia Dortmund's Unbeaten Run

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    Borussia Dortmund are the only undefeated team left in Europe this season. The last team to win the Champions League unbeaten was Manchester United in 2008 (via @InfostradaLive).

    BVB's semifinal record isn't as promising, though. They have won two and lost one, and the last team they played at this stage was Real Madrid in 1998, who beat them and went on to win the final.

Leo Messi Is Undefeated to German Opposition

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    In nine attempts, Leo Messi has never lost a match to German opposition (via @barcastat). He has won six and drawn three, scoring 12 goals.

    Only one man has scored more against German opposition in this competition, and that's the man who helped out with the semifinal draw, Ruud van Nistelrooy (via @InfostradaLive).  

Cristiano Ronaldo's Stunning Form

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    Cristiano Ronaldo is this season's current Champions League top scorer, with 11 goals in 10 matches. Amazingly, he has scored against every team he has faced.

    The Portuguese star has scored three Champions League goals against German opposition. One was a penalty and two were assisted by Germany's own Mesut Özil. 

Jose Mourinho Is Catching Up with Sir Alex Ferguson

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    This will be Jose Mourinho's seventh European Cup semifinal, a record equalled only by Sir Alex Ferguson.

    The Special One has won two out of six so far, but went on to win the final both times he was successful.

    Mou was lucky to avoid Barcelona at this stage. When his side have played a team from their own league in the semifinals, they have lost (with Madrid against Barcelona in 2010-11; with Chelsea against Liverpool in 2004-05 and 2006-07).

Setting Up a Same-Country Final

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    The draw has given us the potential for either an El Clasico or Der Klassiker in the final.

    If the stars align, it will be the fourth time two clubs from the same country have met at this stage, and the first since Manchester United faced Chelsea in Russia in 2008.

    The first time domestic rivals met in the final was when Real Madrid faced Valencia in Paris in 2000. Los Blancos picked up their eighth European Cup thanks to goals from Raul, Steve McManaman and Fernando Morientes.

    Two of the three same-country finals have gone to penalties—the aforementioned Premier League face-off and Milan's victory over Juventus in 2003.

Busting the Home Leg Disadvantage Theory

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    Most people believe it is advantageous to play the second leg of a Champions League tie at home. Yet Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (pictured) doesn't believe this—and he might be right. 

    In three of the past four seasons, the teams that have played the first leg at home have all progressed to the final. That's good news for the German teams, who both start at home.

    Interestingly, in the past six Champions League seasons, the fate of the home team in the first leg of each semifinal has mirrored the other—both teams who had the first leg at home have either gone through together, or faltered together. This pattern suggests a same-country final is on the cards.  

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