We have finally arrived at the UEFA Champions League semifinals. Like the quarterfinals, each tie will compose of only one match to determine the clubs competing in the UCL Final. This year’s semifinals have a tough act to follow as last year, both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur reached the Final after rallying from three-goal deficits to win in the second legs of their ties.
The first semifinal match takes place between two clubs that have never won the UCL in their history. For RB Leipzig, this has been their first time in the UCL knockout round and they have made the most of it, defeating Tottenham and Atletico Madrid to reach the semifinals.
In their last match, Leipzig defeated Atletico Madrid 2-1 after American midfielder Tyler Adams’ shot was deflected into the net past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the 88th minute. They were the first club to defeat Diego Simeone in the UCL knockout round as Atletico manager without Cristiano Ronaldo being on their squad. Leipzig’ win was very impressive considering they are without their leading scorer the last three seasons in Timo Werner, who left the club to join Chelsea. Defender Dayot Upamecano won Man of the Match as he stifled the rhythm and flow of the Atletico attack.
PSG had even more of a dramatic win in the quarterfinals. For most of the match, they trailed 1-0 to Serie A foe in Atalanta. However, Neymar showed his superstar skill as he set up two late goals from Marquinhos and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to give PSG the 2-1 victory. Winger Kylian Mbappe was not 100% for the match but did not start. He was subbed on in the second half and changed the entire pace of the match. He notched an assist on Marquinhos’ goal. Further credit must go to goalkeeper Keylor Navas for keeping PSG within striking distance with incredible saves in the first half.
Among the two semifinals match, this is the more intriguing match. Leipzig, even without Werner, Leipzig has proven to be a legit club across the pitch. Their backline is much improved and their midfield held up well against Atletico. Upamecano will be key to slowing down a lethal PSG attack. While he can do so, I think PSG’s attack is too good for Leipzig to contain all match long while not having the firepower to keep up. PSG takes it in a close one.
Prediction: PSG 1 Leipzig 0