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Four talking points ahead of the Champions League semi-finals

Four talking points ahead of the Champions League semi-finals, featuring PSG’s battle against history and Real Madrid’s formidable home record.

History against PSG in bid to reach the final

Paris Saint-Germain have it all to do to reach the Champions League final after a 1-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their semi-final tie. The French champions overturned a first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona in the quarter-finals, though no team has previously lost the first leg of their quarter-final and semi-final and still reached the decider.

History is against the Parisians, though a packed Parc des Princes will provide the backdrop to their challenge. Kylian Mbappe failed to score in the first meeting a week ago, coming close with an effort against the woodwork, as PSG were punished for a lack of clinical edge in the final third.

Mbappe is the joint-leading scorer in this season’s Champions League (8) and will hope Tuesday’s tie is not his final European appearance in a PSG shirt. Set to leave in the summer, an elusive European crown would be the perfect send-off to his record-breaking time with the club.

Dortmund in reach of Wembley, again

It’s advantage Borussia Dortmund ahead of the second-leg in Paris, after Niclas Fรผllkrugโ€™s fine finish earned the Germans a 1-0 win in the first meeting. Dortmund have exceeded all expectations to reach this stage, with a disappointing Bundesliga campaign having seen Edin Terziฤ‡’s side well off the pace, a distant 24 points behind newly-crowned champions Bayer Leverkusen.

Progress on Tuesday would be a third Champions League final appearance for Dortmund, after previous finals in 1997 and 2013. The former saw Dortmund crowned European champions for the first time, while the second saw a Der Klassiker decider against Bayern Munich at Wembley.

History could repeat itself 11 years later, with Wembley again the host for this season’s final, and Bayern Munich bidding to reach the decider in the other semi-final.

Can Tuchel and Bayern find the answer to defensive woes?

Bayern Munich head to Real Madrid with depleted defensive options this week and saw their injury criss worsen with the loss of Eric Dier and Raphael Guerreiro against Stuttgart at the weekend.

The defensive duo join Sacha Boey, Bouna Sarr and winger Kingsley Coman on the sidelines, while Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano are doubts for the trip to the Bernabeu.

It’s an injury list that will give Thomas Tuchel a major headache as he looks to stop a concerning record of leakiness on the road. Bayern have failed to keep a clean sheet in an away game since beating Manchester United on December 12, a run of 11 games. The Germans have won just four of those games.

Their form on the road in Europe has not been ideal. After thee wins from three away from home in the group stage, Bayern have failed to win in either knockout round tie away from the Allianz Arena. That must change if the six-time European champions are to reach Wembley.

Real Madrid favourites as Los Blancos chase double dream

Real Madrid will start their clash with Bayern Munich as favourites to progress, with the Spanish side boasting the better form and home advantage. Vinicius Junior’s double earned a draw in Munich last week, before Real wrapped up La Liga title success at the weekend.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions and last tasted defeat with a Copa del Rey exit to Atletico Madrid in January. Indeed, their local rivals are the only side to have beaten Real Madrid this season in 49 games across all competitions, also recording a 4-3 win in La Liga in September.

The Bernabeu has become a fortress for Real Madrid who have not lost on home soil this season. It’s been over a year since Ancelotti’s men last lost at home, against Villarreal in April 2023.

Read –ย Premier League race for Europe assessed ahead of decisive final fortnight

See more –ย Premier League weekend: Five things we learned

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