Almost reaching the month of May many competitions, both domestic and international, enter the stage when every game is important. Local leagues start deciding which teams will fight for the championship, which will look for European tournament spots and which will try to escape relegation. This makes every game, goal and point count. In international competitions, the final stages are being played, reducing the field to only those who will reach the finals. This week, the second leg of UEFA Champions League and Europa League semifinals will be played, leaving only 2 teams to fight for each Cup.
Champions League. After defeating Barcelona 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, English club Chelsea will travel to Camp Nou looking to finish the series. They will play against a team that has suffered 2 consecutive losses, especially the one last Saturday at home against their archrivals Real Madrid. This loss increased the merengue’s lead to 7 points with only 12 still on the line, which makes everyone believe La Liga is over. This means Chelsea will face a hurt team that will look to qualify for the final as a means to heal the wound. Speaking of Real Madrid, they will face Bayern Munich at Santiago Bernabéu stadium, trying to defeat the German team and qualify after losing 2-1 in Munich. Madrid only needs to win 1-0 to reach the final, thanks to Mesut Özil’s away goal. The German team is only one step away from reaching the final, which will be played at their home turf, the Allianz Arena. 2 years ago, Bayern played the final at Bernabéu Stadium, and Madrid will try to “return the favour” and play on their rival’s stadium.
Europa League. Atlético Madrid will face Valencia in Mestalla stadium with a 4-2 advantage, trying to reach their second final in 3 years. Valencia will try and take advantage of their 2 stoppage-time away goals to reach the final of the only competition they have a chance of winning. Valencia has scored 4 goals on each of their last 2 games at home, against Dutch teams PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar. The other Spanish team, Athletic Bilbao, will also try and revert the situation and reach their second final of the season (Copa del Rey, against Barcelona), after losing 2-1 in Lisboa against Sporting Club. They too will try and make the away goal count, after seeing Sporting tie and then take the lead on the last minutes of the first leg. The Portuguese will try and prevent the final from becoming a Spanish one, and leave the Cup in Portugal after Porto’s win last year.