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Preview: Champions League Semi-Final

Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea FC and Real Madrid all eagerly await the Champions League semi-final draw, in Nyom at 12:15 today.

While Bayern and Real reached the same stage last season and the Germans went on to win the competition, Chelsea return to this stage after winning the 2012 campaign and Atletico reach the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years.

Atletico ousted Celtic FC in the 1973-74 campaign of the European Cup, but lost the final in the only replay of the competition’s history to Bayern.

All together it’s Atletico’s fourth semi-final appearance, while their cross-town rivals, Real, appear for a record-breaking 25th time. But despite featuring in the last three semi-finals, they have not reached the final since lifting their ninth European Cup in 2002.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are in the last four for the seventh time in 11 seasons. The Blues only progressed twice to the final and were eliminated four times, having won their only trophy in the 2012 campaign.

Bayern will feature in their 16th semi-final and the European champions want to become the first side to retain the trophy in the Champions League era. It’s Munich’s fourth semi-final in five years, having progressed to the final in all their last three attempts.

It will be an open draw, which means the Spanish rivals could meet each other, which would only be the second all-Madrid semi-final in history.

There is also plenty of history between Bayern and Chelsea, with the latest meeting between them the 2012 Champions League final, which the Blues won in Bayern’s own stadium.

Bayern and Real have met each other five times in the semi-finals and the Bavarians have progressed in four out of the five ties.

The semi-final will also see four of Europe’s top coaches facing each other and their history holds great sub-plots as well. Jose Mourinho could face his old rival Pep Guardiola or Carlo Ancelotti and his former side.

Ancelotti, himself, could face his former club Chelsea. Simeone and Mourinho know each other from last year’s Copa del Rey final, and a meeting between Chelsea and Atletico would also see Thibaut Courtois facing his parent club.

Mourinho, Guardiola and Ancelotti all have won two Champions League titles already, whilst Simeone is yet to win Europe’s biggest competition, but he has won the 2011-12 Europa League.

Which semi-finals would you like to see and who are your favorites to win the competition? Have your say in the comment section below.

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