Champions League Semifinals: 3 Journalists’s Predictions

Europe’s version of the bubble comes to an end in less than a week after a short period of 7 total matches. While some 2020-21 UEFA Champions League qualifiers are already being played, the 19-20 season is just about to come to a close. With two German and two French teams left, the supposed “farmers leagues” of Europe have proved their worth against the continent’s best. With just four teams left and three games to go, Julian Alcaraz, Armaan Sodhi, and yours truly will be predicting the semifinal matchups.

UEFA Champions League bracket, schedule: Historic last four ...
The knockout round bracket

Let’s start off with a quick recap of last week’s action. There were some shocking results in the quarterfinals, with upsets, comeback victories, and one absolute thrashing you just h8-2 see (Pun intended). First, PSG scored a pair of late goals to knock off Atalanta in a 2-1 victory. They will face RB Leipzig, who advanced thanks to an 88th minute goal from American Tyler Adams, as they beat Atletico Madrid 2-1. On Friday, Bayern Munich delivered a horrific beatdown on Barcelona, by a score of 8-2. Expect a new era in Barca if major change doesn’t happen soon, and even Messi reportedly wants out. Lyon also upset Man City, thanks in part to a wide-open miss by City’s Raheem Sterling.

Shocking Raheem Sterling miss for Manchester City leads to botched ...
Sterling’s miss cost City a place in the semis

Preston’s Picks:

PSG vs RB Leipzig:

Two teams each without a UCL win to their name face off in the first semifinal on Tuesday. Leipzig’s Cinderella run has been a big story of this year’s Champions League, but without Timo Werner, they will have a tough matchup against a deep PSG team. On paper, PSG are the much better team, with Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria, and a defense. I expect PSG to come out on top, after finally cracking through late in the second half, but this game could easily fall into the hands of Leipzig with an early goal.

Prediction: PSG 1 – 0 RB Leipzig

MOTM: Mbappe

Bayern Munich vs OL Lyon:

After Lyon stunned the world by knocking out Juventus, they did the unthinkable yet again against English giant Man City. However, it would require a miracle to stop Bayern on their reign of terror, as the Bavarians are the best club in Europe right now. Despite all the internal and surface-level problems with Barca, it takes class to drop 8 goals on a top 10 European team. Lyon are no Barcelona, and they will face their toughest opponent yet. Expect Bayern’s dominance to continue with multiple goals from Robert Lewandowski.

Prediction: Bayern Munch 5 – 1 OL Lyon

MOTM: Lewandowski

robert-lewandowski-bayern-munich-2019-20_m9cdee7hqy4w19z9cntmmoyl4.jpg
Robert Lewandowski leads the UCL in goals, and he should add to his total against Lyon

Armaan’s Picks:

PSG vs RB Leipzig:

Late heroics for both PSG and Leipzig put them in this position, with a place in the final at stake. Mbappe, Di Maria, and Verrati will all be available for PSG this week after missing the full time in last week’s game. Mbappe changed the complexion of the game and his pace combined with Neymar’s creativity will be something Leipzig have yet to face. It will be a tough task for Leipzig’s Upamecano and company but at the end of the day, the attacking prowess of Icardi, Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria will prove to be too much for the Leipzig defense.

Prediction: PSG 2 – 0 RB Leipzig

MOTM: Neymar

PSG
PSG survived against Atalanta, but they will arguably have an easier matchup against Leipzig
Bayern Munich vs OL Lyon:

Bayern are the most in form team in the world currently with an unbeaten streak of 26 games. They will be more organized as a team and will be clinical in front of goal, especially with Lewandowski leading the way. However, they can hurt their opponent from anywhere, as seen last week against Barca. Their pace up top with Gnabry and Perisic combined with the overlapping runs of Davies and Kimmich will pose trouble for Lyon, especially with their 3 in the back formation.

Prediction: Bayern Munch 4 – 1 OL Lyon

MOTM: Lewandowski

Julian’s Picks:

PSG vs RB Leipzig:

Defensively, Leipzig is coming in strong after Upamecano shut down his side of the defense and played his best game ever. PSG couldn’t seem to set up against the counter attack and struggled a bit to defend set pieces. Although PSG has elite talent across the board, Leipzig to me is better playing as a team and for each other. If they can dominate the midfield and assert their style of play the way they did to Atletico, I can see them getting the first ticket to the Champions League Grand Finale.

Prediction: PSG 1 – 2 RB Leipzig

MOTM: Upamecano

1591702756_980355_noticia_normal
Upamecano has been crucial in Leipzig’s unlikely run
Bayern Munich vs OL Lyon:

I expect Memphis Depay to have a better game than against Man City, but it’s a tough assignment defending Bayern. Lyon will be too occupied trying to stop Robert Lewandowski (leading scorer of 19-20 Champions League), and Thomas Mueller, who picked apart Barca’s defense. With this I expect a much looser and daring Serge Gnabry who can use the lack of defensive assignments on him to flourish against Lyon. This result will give us the first all-German final in Champions League since the Dortmund-Bayern Clash in 2013.

Prediction: Bayern Munch 3 – 1 OL Lyon

MOTM: Gnabry