Champions League 2014: Best and Worst Semi-Final Draws for Each Club

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Champions League 2014: Best and Worst Semi-Final Draws for Each Club
Kirsty Wigglesworth

With four teams through to the Champions League semi-finals, attention now turns to Friday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are the heavyweights still in with a shot at European glory, with the trophy up for grabs in Lisbon on May 24.

Let's take a look at who will want to avoid who, and which teams others might fancy their chances against.

 

Chelsea

Best: Bayern Munich

Worst: Real Madrid

Kirsty Wigglesworth

Jose Mourinho's men came back from a 3-1 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in their quarter-final first leg to win 2-0 at home on Tuesday night, booking their place in the last four via the away goals rule.

Martin Samuel of the Mail called it "one of [Mourinho's] greatest nights" and it would be difficult to argue against him—Chelsea were just minutes from going out of the competition before out-of-favour striker Demba Ba struck with a dramatic late finish.

Now full of confidence, Chelsea will fancy their chances against any of the remaining teams, but a matchup against Bayern Munich might be their best chance of reaching the final.

Chelsea beat Bayern in the 2012 final to claim the first Champions League trophy in their history. That should give them the mental edge over Pep Guardiola's men, who have a dubious reputation as chokers when it comes to the biggest nights, per Kelvin Yap of Fox Sports.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

True, Bayern are reigning champions, but that only increases the pressure on them. Famously, no club has ever defended the Champions League title since its advent in 1992, and we can expect that thought to haunt Bayern in the next round.

Chelsea have an ageing defence and lack pace at the back. They could struggle against a team such as Real Madrid, whose powerful forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale would slice through them like a knife through butter. Bayern would be a little easier to contain. As Gary Neville of Sky Sports notes, they are a more "predictable" side, so master tactician Jose Mourinho could well be the man to stop them.

Lastly, who could forget Mourinho's history with Guardiola? The two enjoyed a fierce rivalry as opposing La Liga managers, coaching Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. As Fox Sports explains:

Mourinho and Guardiola were once friends. When Sir Bobby Robson was in charge of Barcelona in the 1990s, Guardiola was his midfield maestro while Mourinho's role was assistant to the former England boss.

But when Mourinho became Real Madrid coach, they became increasingly bitter enemies.

Never one to shy away from a fight, Mourinho would relish the chance to go up against his old foe once again.

 

Bayern Munich

Best: Atletico Madrid

Worst: Chelsea

Matthias Schrader

A 4-2 aggregate win against Manchester United in the quarter-finals flattered Bayern, who did not brush aside David Moyes' men until the final 30 minutes of the second leg. At times, United even looked as though they could win the tie, with Chris Waddle of the BBC saying:

If it had been last year or the year before, I think United would have won. If United had come out at Old Trafford like they did in the second half tonight it may have been a different game. They didn't do it enough over the two games.

Matthias Schrader

Bayern's weakest area is in defence, so logically they will want to avoid teams with the strongest attacks. With that in mind, they could be forgiven for wanting to avoid the Galacticos of Real Madrid or their old nemeses Chelsea.

Atletico seem a much simpler proposition. True, they have the in-form Diego Costa. The Spaniard has scored seven goals this campaign out of a club total of 22, but compare that to Real Madrid's 32 goals and Atletico are not as frightening.

 

Real Madrid

Best: Chelsea

Worst: Atletico Madrid

Martin Meissner

With the pacey Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale leading their front line, Real Madrid are a team set up to hit opponents with speed. Chelsea's defence, anchored by John Terry, lacks pace. Jason Burt of the Telegraph said so way back in 2011:

The fact is that the Chelsea defence lacks pace in the centre. They can be dissected too easily and with speedy strikers they cannot carry on like this, which is why the high defensive line has been shelved.

The chance to exploit that defensive frailty will not be lost on manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Martin Meissner

Despite losing to Dortmund on Tuesday, Real have been impeccable in Europe this season. As James Gaughan of the Mail notes:

In Europe the only foot [Real] have put wrong all season is taking it off the gas away at Dortmund on [Tuesday], almost gifting Jurgen Klopp's side a way back into a tie they looked out of. 

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the key, for obvious reasons. The Ballon d'Or holder drags Madrid through games and is superb on the biggest stage.

While Ronaldo might currently be out of action with knee and bicep problems, per BBC Sport, the Champions League semi-finals come right at the end of his rehabilitation period. Ancelotti will be hoping his talisman is fit for whoever Real face. The same cannot be said of his potential opponents.

 

Atletico Madrid

Best: Real Madrid

Worst: Chelsea

Andres Kudacki

Atletico have been the surprise package of this year's Champions League, knocking out the great Barcelona in the quarter-finals. The neutrals might see them as the weakest side in the final four, but do not write off Diego Simeone's men just yet.

The key to their success comes in the form of a compact defence. They have been miserly in terms of goals conceded, per ESPNFC.com, meaning they will feel confident of containing Real's plethora of attacking players.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Aletico will be particularly keen to avoid playing Chelsea. Drawing them could well mean losing their goalkeeper, the fantastic Thibaut Courtois. On loan from Stamford Bridge, Courtois has been instrumental in keeping Atletico's defence tight this season. However, playing him against Chelsea could incur Atletico a hefty cost.

Club president Enrique Cerezo explained, via ESPNFC.com:

The problem is whether Courtois can play if we get Chelsea in the draw. There is something in the contract. For him to play we would have to pay a large quantity of money, a figure we cannot pay.

The Rojiblancos would much rather keep their money in their pockets than have to shell out a huge fee for the privilege of using their goalkeeper in the final four.

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