The first two semifinalists of the Champions League season were decided after thrilling games in Madrid and Munich. Chelsea and Bayern were left behind by Real Madrid and Villarreal, respectively.

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema scored the goal that sent Real Madrid into the Champions League semifinals. (Image: Twitter/championsleague)

Last week, Real took home a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea made them suffer for qualification. The defending Champions League trophy holders went ahead after 15 minutes thanks to Mason Mount’s goal before Rudiger put two goals up in the 51st minute. Timo Verner stunned Bernabeu with his 3-0 goals before Real boss Carlo Ancelotti sounded the alarm.

Shortly after being subbed on, Rodrygo scored Real’s first to push the game to overtime. Madrid hero Benzema then came to the scene. In the sixth minute of extra time, the Real captain netted his first of the night and third of the Chelsea double to push his team through to the semifinals.

“Amazing night, a special night at the Bernabeu,” Real’s Luka Modric said after the game. “We were dead, the score was 3-0 in the second half. But the fans were there and kept pushing and pushing,” Modric stressed.

“We deserved to go through, but it wasn’t meant to be. We were simply unlucky,” Chelsea’s manager Thomas Tuchel commented in his press conference. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time, we are very proud of what we’ve done today,” he concluded.

Real Madrid will play the winner of Manchester City and Atletico Madrid for a place in the final. City won the first leg 1-0 in Manchester.

Bayern, stunned at home by Villarreal

Villarreal, surprisingly, won the first leg in Spain last week 1-0, but Bayern was expected to activate its merciless version on home soil. Playing a brave counter-attacking strategy, Villarreal could have gone in front in Munich in the first half. Bayern was the first to punch, though, with Lewandowski putting the hosts ahead after 52 minutes.

The Bavarians continued to attack, but left spaces uncovered at the back. Samuel Chukwueze scored in the 88th minute to silence Munich and put Villarreal through.

The Europa League winners now hope to make the most of their journey when they’ll meet the winners of the Liverpool vs. Benfica clash in the semifinals. Liverpool won 3-1 in Lisbon and are big favorites to progress.

“We’re out of the German Cup and the Champions League. I don’t think this is good enough for Bayern,” Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, said after his team’s elimination. Across the two legs, Bayern had 45 shots at Villarreal’s goal, out of which eight were on target. In comparison, the Spanish side had just 16 shots, with two on target. Both were goals.

The first legs of the semifinals will be played on April 26 and 27, with the return legs on May 3 and 4.

Liverpool is now ahead of Manchester City in the odds race to win the Champions League this season. Jurgen Klopp’s side stands at +120, with City at +140. Real Madrid is at +500, while Villarreal is at +1800.

Despite having just a one-goal deficit from the first leg, Atletico Madrid is regarded as an improbable semifinalist. They are at +700 to defeat City.

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