Champions League semi-final draw throws up goalkeeper dilemma

Chelsea warned not to stop Courtois, on loan at Atletico, from playing in Champions League semis; Bayern and Real will meet in other tie

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 10:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 10:36pm


Titleholders Bayern Munich will face nine-time winners Real Madrid in a dramatic Champions League semi-final, after the draw was made on Friday.

Surprise package Atletico Madrid must take on 2012 winners Chelsea in the other semi-final, which could prompt a showdown over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. He plays for Atletico but is owned by the English club.

Bayern, who knocked out Manchester United on Wednesday, are aiming to become the first club to successfully defend the 22-season old competition.

Pep Guardiola's German champions met Real in the semi-finals in 2011/12. They won that match on penalties in Madrid before losing to Chelsea in the final.

The two superpowers have met five times in the semi-finals in all, with Bayern winning four.

While Bayern, seeking their sixth European trophy, are trying to reach their fourth final in five years, Atletico are aiming to make it to their first.

The La Liga leaders' reward for their stunning victory over Barcelona in the quarter-finals is a match up against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. The pair last met in the 2012 Super Cup, with Atletico beating Chelsea 4-1.

Mourinho is trying to win the coveted title for a third time with three different clubs after success with Porto and Inter Milan.

Before the draw, Uefa made a veiled warning to Chelsea that they must not stop Atletico using goalkeeper Courtois.

European football's governing body said any provision in Courtois' loan agreement preventing his participation is against the competition's rules.

"Both the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa Disciplinary Regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match," the body said in a statement.

"It follows that any provision in a private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as Uefa is concerned."

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has said, however that his side would have to pay "a lot of money" for the Belgian international to face Chelsea due to a provision in his contract.

Spanish media reports estimated the fee to be €3 million (HK$32.3 million) per match.

The Champions League first legs are on April 22-23 with the return legs on April 29-30. The final is in Lisbon on May 24.

The Europa League semi-final draw pitted Spanish duo Sevilla and Valencia against each other, while Benfica face Juventus. The matches will be played on April 24 and May 1.