Champions League semi-finals: Villarreal-Liverpool, Real Madrid-Man. city ​​| Champions League

The look, stats, key players and why they can win – UEFA.com rates every player in the semi-finals.

UEFA Champions League semi-finals

Villarreal-Liverpool (0-2, second leg, May 3)
Real Madrid-Manchester City (3-4, second leg, May 4).

Real Madrid vs Man. city

Real Madrid (Spain)

Highlights: man. City 4-3 Real Madrid

Why can they win it
If they manage to turn that showdown against Paris, against all odds, and then survive such an onslaught from defending champions Chelsea, nothing could be further. Karim Benzema in the shape of his life and with Vinicius Jr offering sparkling support, as well as the venerable Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who would dare disqualify the 13-time winners from doing what they do best? Their resilience is back on top once again in the first leg of the semi-finals.

Score against semi-final opponents Man. city: P7 W2 D2 L3 F10 A11

UEFA Ranking: 5
European Cup is betterWinners: (1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1997/98, 1999/2000, 2001/02, 2013/14, 2015/16, 2016/17) , 2017/18)
Last season: Semi-finals (L 1-3 AGG vs Chelsea)
The last semi-finals2020/21 (loss 1-3 kg against Chelsea)

this chapter
Register: W7 D0 L4 F25 A13
Top scorer: Karim Benzema (14)
Semi-finals: 3-4 against Mann. Medina (second leg May 4)
Quarter-finals: 5-4 matches against Chelsea
Round of 16: 3-2 against Paris Saint-Germain
Fourth Group: Winners

All Karim Benzema goals 2021/22 so far

All Karim Benzema goals 2021/22 so far

campaign so far
How could you lose at home to Sheriff, then reach the last four with a massive performance against Paris followed by an epic draw against Chelsea? The roadmap helps explain. Real Madrid did not win anything last season, and by their own admission they desperately need trophies at home and in Europe this time. The 5-0 away win over Shakhtar reset Real Madrid’s GPS in the group stage. Then the defeat in Paris did the same – leading to a different, hard-hitting approach that reaped more rewards at Stamford Bridge. Then came the difficult-to-analyze first leg against City.

how do they play
With a 4-3-3 form, Real Madrid have a strong backbone starting from Thibaut Courtois and running through central defender Edir Militao to the seasoned midfield trio of Casemiro, Modric and Kroos with all that technical quality, vision and experience. And then you get to the brilliant Benzema in the offensive line – a master of the attacking arts of play. They also have the energy of increasingly influential young players like Vinícius Júnior and Federico Valverde – as well as that intangible knowledge that takes them out of their tightest places.

Most important player: Karim Benzema
Many people wondered where Real Madrid’s goals would come from when Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018, but the France striker rose to prominence to become the club’s talisman. He scored Real Madrid’s 1,000th European Cup goal against Shakhtar earlier this season, then reversed the last 16 match with Paris with a hat-trick in the second half before hitting the decisive blow in extra time against the Blues to score four goals in a draw. . His team Panenka against City almost defied faith.

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
The manager who led Real Madrid to the “10th Cup” in 2014 returned last summer for a second term in the leadership. He is one of only three coaches to win the European Cup/Champions League three times.

Did you know?
Real Madrid have qualified for the European Cup semi-finals for the 31st time, 11 more than any other club. They have won four of their last six encounters at this point.

man. City (England)

Pep Guardiola on City's victory over Madrid

Pep Guardiola on City’s victory over Madrid

Why can they win it
Few teams can handle City’s passing and constant pressure. Their profound strength is unmatched across Europe, while their thirst for winning their first Champions League title remains as fierce as ever. After all, they couldn’t have gotten very close in Porto last May.

Score against the semi-final opponents of Real Madrid: P7 W3 D2 L2 F11 A10

UEFA Ranking: 2
European Cup is betterRunners-up (21/21)
Last seasonRunners-up (L 0-1 vs Chelsea)
The last semi-finals: 2020/21 (Winner 4-1, aggregate competition vs Paris)

this chapter
Register: W7 D2 L2 F28 A13
Top scorer: Riyad Mahrez (6)
Semi-finals: 4-3 against Real Madrid (second-leg, May 4th).
Quarter-finals: 1-0 against Atlético
Round of 16: 5-0 vs Sporting Lisbon
Group One: Winners

Key features: Sporting Lisbon 0-5 Man.  city

Key features: Sporting Lisbon 0-5 Man. city

campaign so far
Unfortunately for City’s rivals, there is still room for improvement. The Group A winners lost two of their three away games in the division – albeit by a narrow margin – and only kept their first clean sheet in this season’s competition in their Round of 16 first-leg win in Lisbon. They have held four times in a row, including both legs against Atlético, which highlights how, in addition to their highly acclaimed attacking qualities, they can defend with real resilience as well. The first leg of the semi-final against Madrid was an amazing match.

how do they play
City play Guardiola’s way: a very flexible 4-3-3 team that wants to control the ball and beat teams with the speed of their passing and movement. They defend at high mass and press the opponent hard, looking to hurt them in quick turns. And last but not least, they are blessed with wonderfully talented individuals like Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, who have such awareness, creativity, and powers of execution.

Main Player: Kevin De Bruyne
The 30-year-old forward made more than 250 appearances for the club last season and remains a talisman in midfield despite the riches surrounding him. He has endured something of a slow start to the season but looks set to be back to his best, as he has been scoring in key matches since the end of the group stage including his winning goal in the quarter-finals and opening match in the semi-finals.

Coach: Pep Guardiola
One of the most decorated coaches in the game, the 51-year-old won this competition twice with Barcelona. He won three league titles each at the head of the Catalan club Bayern and City.

Did you know?
Guardiola has now reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the ninth time – topping eight of his old opponent Jose Mourinho.

When and where is the Champions League final?

The 2021/202 UEFA Champions League Final will take place at Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Saturday 28th May, at 21:00 CET.

The Stade de France was built to host matches in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the Stade de France was also the venue for the 2000 and 2006 UEFA Champions League finals, as well as the 2016 UEFA European Championship final.

Villarreal vs Liverpool

Villareal (Spain)

HIGHLIGHTS: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal

HIGHLIGHTS: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal

Why can they win it
Yellow Submarine may not be imagined by many, but they showed exactly what they were made of when they won the UEFA Europa League last season. When you touch on the fact that they have already beaten Juventus and Bayern Munich, no less, anything is possible now they are only in the Champions League semi-finals.

Liverpool opponents semi-final match record: Liverpool P3 W1 D0 L2 F1 A5

UEFA Ranking: 18
European Cup is betterSemi-finalists (2005/06, 2021/22)
Last season: Europa League winner (1-1, W11-10p vs Manchester United)
The last semi-finals: 2005/06 (L 0-1 AGG vs Arsenal)

this chapter
Register: W5 D3 L3 F18 A13
Top scorer: Arno Danjuma (6)
Semi-finals: 0-2 Liverpool (Return 3 May)
Quarter-finals: 2-1 against Bayern Munich
Round of 16: 4-1 against Juventus
Sixth group: runner-up

Every Villarreal Champions League goal so far

Every Villarreal Champions League goal so far

campaign so far
Punk in the group stage, giant killers in the knockout stage. Unai Emery’s side have missed out on injured Gerard Moreno for most of the season, but you have to credit them for that goal while reducing their impressive top scorer to a superb role for big parts. The team-building deserved much more than just getting out of his group, and the ousting of Juventus in the Round of 16 and Bayern in the quarter-finals was a warning to the rest of Europe. Do not rule out a third scalp, despite the defeat in the first leg at Anfield in the quarter-finals.

how do they play
In a tough 4-4-2 game, Emery prioritizes a solid and well-trained team. Raul Albiol leads a backline that lays the foundation for a side that has mastered the art of calling their opponents before quickly transitioning from defense to attack. The pace of players like Arnaut Danjuma and the distribution of the likes of Daniel Parejo and Giovani Lo Celso are key.

Main Player: Arno Danjuma
His arrival in the summer in the English second tier may not have overly excited the crowd, but the Dutchman has been an inspiration in domestic and European football for Villarreal, as he upset defenses with his skill, speed and directness – and his eye on goal.

Coach: Unai Emery
The former Almeria and Valencia coach made the Europa League his own with a trio of successes in Seville. He led Paris to the treble in 2017/18 and Arsenal to a European final a year later, before joining Villarreal in the summer of 2020 – and immediately winning the Europa League again.

Did you know?
Just under half of Villarreal’s 52,000 residents can fit into a 23,500-seat stadium.

Liverpool (England)

Highlights: Benfica 1-3 Liverpool

Highlights: Benfica 1-3 Liverpool

Why can they win it
The similarity to the 2018/19 Champions League winning season is that Liverpool are domestically chasing rampant Manchester City, and having such a goal always seems to bring the best in Jurgen Klopp’s squad. When they get to the top, and everything works in destructive harmony, it’s hard to see anyone dealing with them. If you add the Anfield factor, anything is possible.

Score against Villarreal’s semi-final opponents: P3 W2 D0 L1 F5 A1

UEFA Ranking: 3
European Cup is betterWinners (1976/77, 1977/78, 1980/81, 1983/84, 2004/05, 2018/19).
Last seasonQuarter-finals (L1-3, AGG vs Real Madrid)
The last semi-finals: 2018/19 (Winner 4-3, aggregate vs Barcelona)

this chapter
Register: W9 D1 L1 F27 A11
Top scorer: Mohamed Salah (8)
Semi-finals: 2-0 Villarreal (second-leg, May 3)
Quarter-finals: 6-4 g vs Benfica
Round of 16: 2-1 aggregate against Inter
Group B: Winners

HIGHLIGHTS: Liverpool 3-3 Benfica

HIGHLIGHTS: Liverpool 3-3 Benfica

campaign so far
Liverpool faced stiff competition – in fact, from their opponents so far, only Atlético had won the championship. This makes it even more impressive that they have a near-perfect record: 11 matches and only one loss in the second leg against Inter. Indeed, it was only the Nerazzurri that constantly upset Klopp’s side, but like any great team they found a way to win. It’s hard to see Villarreal preventing them from reaching the final after the Reds won 2-0 in the first leg of the semi-finals.

how do they play
Klopp rarely deviates from the tried-and-tested 4-3-3 method – a system that has served the Reds admirably since the German’s arrival in 2015. The intense pressure has improved in recent seasons – with little help from smart acquisitions like Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. – But it’s still effective. At their best, they are arguably the best team in Europe.

Most important player: Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian striker has been the face of the Liverpool team since coming from Roma in 2017. A star in Basel, he first landed in England with Chelsea in 2014 but proved a huge talent on Merseyside, with his speed, intelligence and finishing. 33 goals in the Champions League for the club.

Coach: Jurgen Klopp
Head coach of Liverpool since 2015, Klopp led the Reds to continental glory in 2018/19 and to their first English title in 30 years the following season. He became a defensive striker in Mainz, winning two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund before heading to Anfield.

Did you know?
Liverpool have been European champions six times – more than any other English team. This is equal to the number of titles won by Bayern Munich, with Milan and Real Madrid winning more titles.

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