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Champions League 2022: against which team will Real Madrid play in the semi-finals?

Real Madrid head into the 2021/22 Champions League semi-finals after seeing off Chelsea. It is the 30th time that Los Blancos have made it this far.

Benzema, tras marcar en el Real Madrid - Chelsea.

It’s easy to see why Real Madrid consider the Champions League as “their competition”. They have won the tournament more times than anyone else and are heading into this year’s semi-finals after beating Chelsea in a topsy-turvy tie which was eventually settled in stoppage-time of the second leg.

In 66 editions of the Champions League (including its previous incarnation, the European Champion Clubs’ Cup), Real Madrid have made it as far as the semi-finals 30 times, and appeared in 16 finals, winning 13 of them. They also top practically of the all-time stats - they are the club with the most appearances (47), the most matches played (461), the most victories (275) and the team to have scored the most goals (1014). It’s no wonder they consider it their special tournament, although getting to this year’s semis exceeded even their own expectations.

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All eyes on the Wanda Metropolitano and Anfield

The remaining two quarter finals will be resolved later this evening. Whoever emerges, it will be a team that Madrid are familiar with. Liverpool go into theirs against Benfica holding a 1-3 advantage from last week’s first leg in Lisbon. That tie looks pretty much cut and dried - few teams put three past the Reds at Anfield, but then again, this is the Champions League… Inter Milan beat Liverpool on home turf in the last round and Atalanta put two past Jürgen Klopp’s team, without reply, in November 2020. Strange things happen in football but overall Liverpool look the likelier of the two to go through.

What to expect in the other quarter final is not quite as straightforward. Manchester City scraped a 1-0 win in the first leg, at home to Atlético Madrid. With the away goals rule now abolished, Atleti only need to score once to level the tie - providing they don’t concede - something which they are very good at. City will have to block out a raucous home crowd, who Simeone will be egging on from the touchline. Guardiola’s team however are in the driving seat and are 7/4 favourites to lift the trophy.

That’s not good news for Real Madrid, who are 5/1 with the bookies and would prefer to avoid the big favourites in the next round. As the semi-finals route was determined in last month’s draw, Madrid will meet either Premier League champions City or neighbours Atleti in the semi-finals with Liverpool or Benfica to face Villarreal.

Familiar foes

Madrid have met City and Atlético many times in the Champions League. In total, they have faced City six times, with an overall balance that couldn’t be much tighter - two wins each and two draws. The most recent meeting was in the 2019/20 Round of 16 which City won home and away, taking the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

Real Madrid and Atlético have crossed paths in the tournament nine times in total, most notably in the 2014 and 2016 finals. The balance of those meetings favours Madrid - five wins, two draws and two defeats. The most recent Champions League Clásico was in the 2016/17 semi-finals which Madrid won 2-4 on aggregate.


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