The Champions League action really heats up again as the last four teams left in the competition do battle for a place in the final.
All four will fancy their chances of going all the way, and each side genuinely has something to aim for other than for the glory of winning.
That said, the Spaniards have some of Europe's best attacking talent at their disposal and all are in great form at present.
It promises to be an intriguing pair of matches.
|2014 Champions League Semi-Finals, TV and Live Stream Information|
|Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea||Tuesday April 22||7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET||ITV 1 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (US)||ITV Player (UK), Fox Soccer 2 Go (US)|
|Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich||Wednesday April 23||7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET||Sky Sports 1 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (US)||Sky Go app (UK), Fox Soccer 2 Go (US)|
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
Holders Bayern Munich are looking to become the first side to retain the trophy in its current format, and after being unbeaten for a year until recently, few would have bet against them.
However, two draws and two losses in their last six games is a sure sign of a wobble.
Prior to that, the Germans had only drawn three and lost two since the beginning of pre-season in July, via WhoScored.com.
Could it be that Pep Guardiola's charges have taken their eye off of the ball? As with his all-conquering Barcelona side, are the Bayern players in danger of becoming too complacent?
A 3-3 draw at home to Hoffenheim and a 0-1 loss away against Augsburg certainly indicate a sea-change in attitude, which is not something that will sit well with the Catalan.
Real need to have Cristiano Ronaldo fit and firing for this one, and Carlo Ancelotti will surely want his side to make the second leg a formality, given their awful form when playing in Germany.
Gareth Bale showed against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final that he is in sparkling form and if Real's midfield can stifle the creativity of Toni Kroos, then Los Blancos have an excellent chance of success in the tie.
Whilst the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery et al bring attacking intent par excellence, it is Kroos who conducts the Bavarian orchestra, as he showed most succinctly at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal earlier in the competition.
Borussia Dortmund showed Real the way with a recent 3-0 victory over Bayern, so Dante and David Alaba best be on their A-game if they want to retain an interest in the competition after the first leg.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-2 Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea
If the west London side thought their passage to the final was going to be easy, they only need remind themselves of the result and performance from the 2012 European Super Cup.
Any Jose Mourinho side is always built on defensive excellence and this year's vintage has proved no different. Both John Terry and Gary Cahill have been superb throughout the campaign, but they will need to be on their toes in this match.
Costa is a reported €60 million target for Mourinho, per El Confidencial, and an interview with Diego Simeone for Al Primer Toque via ESPN.
The naturalised Spaniard is a centre-forward straight out of the old school and would likely have no problems settling into the more physical demands of the Premier League.
Tough and uncompromising, he's no slouch when it comes to hitting the back of the net either. With 33 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions per WhoScored, his effectiveness is obvious.
Atleti goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is actually Chelsea's player and confusion still surrounds whether the Belgian stopper will be allowed to play against his parent club in the two games.
ESPN quote Atleti's president, Enrique Cerezo as saying Courtois will play, whilst Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror notes Diego Simeone's comments in Marca where he expresses a desire not to play the keeper in order that he can keep him on-loan throughout next season.
Should the 6'6" giant don his gloves, then he could well be the difference, as he was against Barcelona in the previous round.
The Spaniards are yet to lose a game in this season's competition and have the best defensive record in La Liga, whilst Chelsea have the meanest back four in the Premier League.
Sky Sports' Graham Hunter believes that Simeone's preparation just gives Atleti the edge in the tie:
There's very little between the two sides, even with both at their best. Chelsea have taught Spanish football to have respect for them.
[...] therefore the detail that Simeone brings to all the preparation, the detail he will use as a magnifying glass to see where Chelsea are, maybe nervous, lacking in confidence or short of goals. That's where he is one of the few people in the world who can equal Mourinho. That's what I would argue.
Both of them play a role but very few people can stand up to examination under Mourinho like Simeone can.
A thoroughly absorbing contest awaits.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Chelsea
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