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Four things we learned from the Champions League semi-finals

Four things we learned from the Champions League semi-finals, featuring Jude Bellingham’s Hollywood-style season and Borussia Dortmund’s return to Wembley.

Bellingham script writers add latest chapter

The post-game narrative will rightly centre around Joselu following his dramatic double to rescue Real Madrid this week, though the attention will soon turn back to Jude Bellingham. The midfielder’s debut season with the Spaniards has been a Hollywood script so far, comparable to Goal II: Living the Dream (remember that?) without the off-field tribulations that troubled poor old Santiago Muñez.

Like Muñez, however, Bellingham has been the main character in Real Madrid’s season. Though unable to influence the semi-final as he would have liked, the 20-year-old has taken to Spanish football with ease and is the club’s leading scorer with 22 goals in all competitions.

A La Liga title has been won and briefly celebrated, but business continues in the club’s pursuit of the prize cherished above all else. Carlo Ancelotti’s side will, once again, contest the Champions League final, where Bellingham will take on the side he left last summer – Borussia Dortmund. If that wasn’t enough, the game will take place at Wembley, the home of English football and the midfielder’s national team.

The Football Gods are writing some script for Bellingham this season.

Can Dortmund exorcise Wembley demons?

Borussia Dortmund have exceeded all expectations in Europe this season, overcoming domestic difficulties to reach the Champions League final for the third time.

A disciplined defensive performance over two legs saw Dortmund fail to concede, as centre-back pairing Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck starred. After overcoming the tournament’s Group of Death and knockout ties with PSV, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, Dortmund will return to the Champions League final for the first time in 11 years.

Their previous visit to this stage also saw the final hosted at Wembley, as Dortmund lost an all-German final to Bayern Munich at the death. With nothing to lose against Real Madrid, Edin Terzić’s underdogs will hope to exorcise their demons under the famous arch on June 1.

Mbappe era ends with final failure

Kylian Mbappe will leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer. He will do so as arguably, probably, the club’s greatest-ever player. A record-breaking 255 goals, six Ligue 1 titles, and perhaps soon-to-be fifth Ligue 1 Player of the Year and sixth Ligue 1 leading scorer awards suggest that status.

But after PSG fell short in the Champions League again, his legacy might still be defined by underachievement. Though not solely responsible for the failure to win the Champions League in his seven seasons at the Parc des Princes, there is no hiding from the fact that the signings of Mbappe and Neymar, particularly, were designed to end that quest.

PSG have spent more than €2 billion since their Qatari takeover in 2011 and have no European crown to show for it.

This season more than ever looked like a real chance to end that wait, with a straightforward run in the knockout rounds offering the chance of a final appearance. Gone were the superstars who rivalled his headline status, with the team built around his talent. Mbappe, however, was unable to impact the semi-final as PSG failed to score against a team currently sat fifth in the Bundesliga table. It is perhaps a fitting conclusion to a chapter of Champions League disappointments in Paris.

Strange substitutions backfire for Bayern

Thomas Tuchel was rightfully angry at the late controversy that surrounded Bayern Munich’s defeat at Real Madrid when a premature flag from the linesman potentially denied the Germans a stoppage-time equaliser.

Bayern, however, had led until the 88th minute before imploding at the Bernabeu and Tuchel must take his share of the blame. The introduction of Kim Min-jae and the change of defensive shape invited pressure heading into the final 15 minutes when Bayern had appeared in control until that point.

Then, the decision to substitute Harry Kane when just one goal would have forced extra time was bizarre, leaving Bayern without their chief source of goals when in desperate search of one late on.

Tuchel can point fingers for the defeat over two legs, but some should be directed towards the mirror.

Read – Champions League Awards: Joselu rescues Real!

See more – Tuchel bemoans Bayern ‘betrayal’ after linesman controversy

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