Real Madrid v Bayern Munich Tuesday 01 May, 19:45 Live on BT Sport
Real closing in on greatness
It won't have been lost on Real Madrid's players that their bitter rivals Barcelona just clinched a La Liga and Copa del Rey double with a win at Deportivo La Coruna, and that the Catalan giants are still on course to go through the entire La Liga season without defeat. What better way for Real to eclipse their old foes' achievements than by winning a third consecutive Champions League?
Zinedine Zidane's side are in pole position after a 2-1 win in Munich against a Bayern side that was left to rue errors at both ends of the pitch. Although Cristiano Ronaldo's scoring streak in the competition was halted at 11 matches, Marcelo stepped up with a stunning strike into the bottom corner, and Marco Asensio won it with a composed finish.
Now Real must avoid a repeat of their second-leg collapse against Juventus in the quarter-final. Having built a 3-0 first-leg lead, Real wobbled badly at the Bernabeu, falling 3-0 behind before Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty, and Gigi Buffon's monumental meltdown.
Real have won three and drawn one of their games since that quarter-final was concluded, but they'll be wary of what happened against Bayern last season. They won 2-1 in Munich, but were forced into extra time in the second leg, only coming through after some tight refereeing calls went their way.
Real made ten changes for the weekend's win over Leganes, but they do have some key absentees. Isco and Dani Carvajal will miss Tuesday's game, with Caravajal particularly tricky to replace at right-back.
Injuries threaten to spoil Bayern's big moment
Having forced extra time at the Bernabeu last season, Bundesliga champions Bayern will feel they are capable to salvaging this semi-final. Since returning to the helm, Jupp Heycnkeshas generally instilled the team with a sense of ruthlessness that was missing under his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti.
However, that ruthlessness was absent in the first leg. Bayern missed a number of presentable opportunities to score, and Rafinha gifted the ball to Real for the winning goal. The question that's been asked all season in Germany is whether Bayern could raise their game at the highest level when required, and last week they failed.
Another chance exists, but injuries may hamper Bayern's hopes. Midfield battler Arturo Vidal, defender Jerome Boateng and the excellent Arjen Robben are definitely out. There is some good news, with Javi Martinez and David Alaba on track to recover from injury. Also, Niklas Sule is more than capable of playing at this level at the heart of defence.
Star striker Robert Lewandowski, continually linked with a move to Real, has a point to prove. He drew a blank in the first leg, having scored four goals in his three previous appearances. He has scored 44 goals this season for club and country, but would happily trade a few of those in for a goal on Tuesday night in the Spanish capital.
Back Bayern to push Real all the way
Before the first leg I backed Real to pick up a positive result, and now I'll do the same with Bayern. Real are 2.20 to win the second leg, and that feels too short to me. We can't just dismiss the result they had against Juventus in Spain, or the fact that Bayern made a number of good chances last week.
Real are an outstanding team who have mastered this competition in recent seasons, but if they are to reach a third straight Champions League final, I suspect they'll have to do it the hard way. Back Draw or Away in the Double Chance market at 1.81.
Game could sneak under the 3.5 Goals line
The market clearly expects a shoot-out with Over 3.5 Goals trading at a very skinny 2.04. The last three meetings between these sides have featured exactly three goals in the first 90 minutes, and only two of Real Madrid's last 11 games have featured four goals or more.
It might be a tight call, but I'll back Under 3.5 Goals at 1.90.
Muller worth considering to find the net
The two main attacking threats, Ronaldo 1.61 and Lewandowski 2.02 aren't attractively priced in the To Score market, but if you want a bigger price, Thomas Muller is worth a look.
Muller is 3.20 to score in 90 minutes, and has scored four goals in his last three games, including a hat-trick at Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Cup semi-finals. Five of his last six Bayern goals have come away from home.
Back Draw or Away in the Double Chance market at 1.81