Previewing the Champions League semi-final first legs

By on April 30, 2024

Rodrygo real madrid

The first legs of the Champions League semi-finals take place this week as Bayern Munich take on Real Madrid while Borussia Dortmund entertain Paris Saint-Germain. Let’s take a closer look at both games:

Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

On Tuesday night, Real Madrid head to the Allianz Arena for the first leg of their semi-final with Bayern Munich and it promises to be an enthralling game.

Bayern booked their place in the last-4 with a narrow 3-2 aggregate victory over Arsenal in the quarter-finals. The two clubs played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium, setting up a tense return leg in Munich.

It was an evenly matched contest but Arsenal struggled to create clear cut chances and Bayern won it thanks to a header from Joshua Kimmich. The Gunners gave a good account of themselves in their first Champions League quarter final appearance in 15 years, but Bayern’s experience was probably the difference in the tie.

The Bavarians won’t have any such advantage over their next opponents; record European Cup winners Real Madrid. The Spaniard’s have vast experience at this level and they just know how to get the job done in the Champions League.

That was proven once again after they edged past Manchester City in the quarter-finals. A thrilling 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu set-up an intriguing return leg at the Etihad Stadium. Many expected City to progress to the semi’s and they dominated for large parts of the game. However, Madrid ground out a 1-1 draw before winning the tie on penalties.

Madrid warmed up for the semi-final first leg with a 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad to move one step closer to retaining the La Liga title. Carlo Ancelotti could secure another memorable season if he could win the Champions League and La Liga double.

Bayern on the other hand also secured a league win at the weekend after beating Frankfurt 2-1. However, they have endured a disappointing domestic campaign by their standards as they trail already-crowned champions Bayern Leverkusen by 12 points.

Team news

Bayern Munich will be without a number of players for the first leg. Sacha Boey, Bouna Sarr, Tarek Buchmann and Gabriel Marusic all remain on the sidelines while Kingsley Coman will also sit this one out with a thigh injury.

Matthijs de Ligt and Konrad Laimer face late fitness tests after picking up knocks at the weekend. Leroy Sane and Dayot Upamecano will also need to be assessed but Serge Gnabry is expected to be passed fit.

Madrid have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from as David Alaba is the only injury absentee as he continues to recover from a serious ACL injury. Although Dani Carvajal is unavailable due to suspension.

Likely line-ups

Thomas Tuchel is expected to stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation with Manuel Neuer once again between the sticks. Eric Dier’s resurgence continues and he should keep his place in defence. Kim Min-Jae could get a start along with Noussair Mazaraoui and Alphonso Davies.

That would see Kimmich starting in midfield alongside Leon Goretzka with Thomas Muller in the attacking midfield role. Harry Kane will lead the line up front with Jamal Musiala and Gnabry offering support.

As for Madrid, Ancelotti is likely to recall Andriy Lunin in goal while Lucas Vazquez could start in defence along with Antonio Rudiger, Nacho and Ferland Mendy.

Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga could all start in midfield with Jude Bellingham in the attacking midfield role. Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo will start in attack for the visitors.

Likely Bayern XI: Neuer; Mazaraoui, Kim, Dier, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka, Muller; Musiala, Gnabry, Kane

Likely Madrid XI:  Lunin; Vazquez, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Valverde, Camavinga, Bellingham; Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo


This should be a fascinating game between two true European heavyweights. Bayern will always be strong at home and know they need to take a lead to the second leg. However, Madrid are a formidable side themselves and it won’t be easy for Bayern to beat them. We’re predicting a 1-1 draw and fans can still buy last minute tickets at Seasnet.com. Bayern Munich 1-1 Real Madrid

Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint-Germain

The second semi-final sees Borussia Dortmund entertain PSG at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday night.

The two teams have already met in the Champions League this season having been drawn together in the ‘group of death’ along with AC Milan and Newcastle United. PSG got the better of the head-to-head meetings but Dortmund finished top of the group with the French side second.

Dortmund booked their place in the semi-finals with a thrilling win over Atletico Madrid. After losing the first leg 2-1 in Madrid, Dortmund came back to win the second leg 4-2 at home to progress to the semi-finals 5-4 on aggregate.

PSG also enjoyed a thriller with Barcelona in the quarters. The Ligue 1 champions lost the first leg at home 3-2 leaving themselves with a mountain to climb in the return leg in Spain. Barca extended their lead with an early Raphinha goal to lead 4-2 on aggregate. However, Ronald Araujo’s sending off in the 29th minute turned the tie on it’s head and PSG stormed back to win the game 4-1, progressing 6-4 on aggregate.

Dortmund lost 4-1 to RB Leipzig so their preparations for this game weren’t exactly ideal. PSG also had a disappointing domestic result at the weekend after drawing 3-3 at home to Le Harve, so both sides will be hoping for improved displays on Wednesday night.

Team news

Dortmund are set to be without Ramy Bensebaini and Sebastien Haller due to injury while Donyell Malen is also a major doubt. Mats Hummels and Ian Maatsen picked up knocks at the weekend but are expected to be fit.

PSG will continue to be without defender Presnel Kimpembe due to a long-term injury. Layvin Kurzawa and Sergio Rico are also missing for the visitors.

Likely line-ups

BVB will line-up with Gregor Kobel in goal while the back four should consist of Nico Schlotterbeck, Hummels, Maatsen and Julian Ryerson. Emre Can, Marcel Sabitzer and Julian Brandt could all start in midfield while on-loan Man Utd attacker Jadon Sancho will look to continue his return to form on the wing.

Karim Adeyemi is likely to get a start on the left flank with Niclas Fullkrug leading the line up front in the absence of Haller.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal for PSG with Achraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Lucas Hernandez and Nuno Mendes backing up the back four.

Vitinha, Warren Zaire-Emery and Fabian Ruiz are expected to be the midfield trio for the French outfit. Luis Enrique appears to have settled on Bradley Barcola and Ousmane Dembele as his wingers with Kylian Mbappe the obvious dangerman up front.


This should be another exciting game but it’s safe to say PSG are the heavy favourites to reach the final. Dortmund know they desperately need a positive result at home if they’re to progress but PSG are always a threat with the likes of Mbappe and Dembele in attack. We’re predicting an exciting draw. Dortmund 2-2 PSG