This week the footballing world turns its attention to the last four of the UEFA Champions League. Maiden semi-finalists Manchester City face the most successful club of cheap fifa 16 ut coins all time in the competition, Real Madrid, while the tie between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich could well offer up some tactical treats. FIFA also takes a look at the decisive role Chilean Arturo Vidal could play in this week’s action.
Tuesday 26 April
Manchester City – Real Madrid
Wednesday 27 April
Atletico Madrid – Bayern Munich
Match of the day
Manchester City – Real Madrid, City of Manchester Stadium, 20:45 (CET)
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When it comes to measuring sides’ experience of big matches, fans and pundits tend to compare the histories of the two clubs. Compared to events actually happening out on the pitch, this is little more than a side note for statisticians of course, but it is difficult to ignore the gulf in know-how when it comes to this week’s clash between Manchester City and Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have reached the last four of Europe’s most prestigious club competition in each of the cheap fifa coins last six seasons. Despite that formidable record, City – taking part in their first European semi-final since 1971 – can take heart from the fact that Los Blancos only progressed to the tournament decider once in that time, in 2013/14.
“Big players decide big games,” said the Citizens’ manager Manuel Pellegrini, who is set to leave his post at the end of the season. “A lot of players have to be at their best. It’s very important for them to buy fifa 16 coins win the Champions League because if you want to be a big team, you always have to be involved in the last stages of the Champions League and sometimes win it.” With that in mind, reaching the last four means Manchester City have taken another step forward in their long-term project. Madrid fans will breath a sigh of relief at the news that Cristiano Ronaldo – whose 16 goals put him far ahead of his rivals in this year’s UEFA Champions League goalscorers’ list – will make the trip to Manchester despite doubts over a thigh injury. “I think the most important thing is to score away from home; it’s also very important not to concede,” said the Spanish side’s winger Gareth Bale. “At the Santiago Bernabeu we are very strong and obviously we will have a lot of chances there.”
In the spotlight
Atletico and Bayern meet in the other semi-final in a pairing many fans have been looking forward to ever since Pep Guardiola took charge of the record German champions. Los Colchoneros were one of few sides to trouble Barcelona during the 45-year-old Spaniard’s reign at the Catalan club. “I know just how special this Atletico team is and how much passion they play with,” acknowledged Guardiola.
While Bayern Munich currently bear the unmistakable hallmarks of Guardiola’s coaching philosophy, they have not exactly sparkled in recent weeks. Nonetheless, the Bavarian side boasts a certain directness not shared by Barcelona. That attribute was perfectly demonstrated by the two headed goals that proved so crucial in their narrow last-16 win over Juventus, and could prove vital again versus Atleti. With Guardiola set to leave the German champions this summer after three seasons at the helm, can he steer his team to the final after two Champions League semi-final defeats in the past two campaigns?
Player to watch
Before the season began, Arturo Vidal was not necessarily at the top of his coach’s wish list. Vidal is hardly typical of the midfielders usually found in Guardiola teams, but the tactician must be glad to have the combative Chilean in his ranks after he found the net in both legs of Bayern’s quarter-final win over Benfica. Many observers in Germany believe Vidal will play a key role against Atletico too, even if he overstepped the mark in a Bundesliga game in Stuttgart two weeks ago. The 28-year-old was substituted after just 26 minutes to prevent him from picking up a red card. One thing’s for sure: Guardiola and Bayern will be wanting the midfielder at his very best against Diego Simeone’s charges.
Did you know?
Manchester City are the tenth English semi-finalists in the history of Europe’s most prestigious club competition, meaning that England have provided more representatives than any other country. Manchester United, Leeds United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal preceded the Citizens in reaching the last four during the UEFA Champions League era while Aston Villa, Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur made it to the semi-finals while the competition was still known as the European Cup.
17 – The highest number of goals scored by an individual in a single UEFA Champions League season is 17, a record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013/14. The Portuguese star defeated Wolfsburg almost singlehandedly with his hat-trick in the second leg of the quarter-finals to take his tally for this campaign to 16 strikes and give him the opportunity to beat his own record in the last four.
What they said
“We heard that [Atletico’s] stadium is one of the three most atmospheric arenas in Europe. I love playing in front of crowds like that. Whether you’re at home or away, that kind of match is incredible for any player. Even if the fans are cheering against you, it spurs you on and gives you a real adrenaline boost.”
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski