Champions League: Bayern And Dortmund Could Stop Mbappe's Showdown With Real Madrid

Harry Kane celebra tras marcar el segundo gol del Bayern Múnich ante el Real Madrid en las semifinales de la Liga de Campeones, el martes 30 de abril de 2024, en Múnich. (AP Foto/Matthias Schrader)
Harry Kane celebra tras marcar el segundo gol del Bayern Múnich ante el Real Madrid en las semifinales de la Liga de Campeones, el martes 30 de abril de 2024, en Múnich. (AP Foto/Matthias Schrader)
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Real Madrid needs fortress Bernabeu to live up to its reputation.

Paris Saint-Germain could do with some magic from the departing Kylian Mbappé.

Otherwise we could be set for a repeat of the 2013 Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who both showed in the first legs of the semifinals that they could yet block a Madrid vs. Mbappé showdown at Wembley Stadium.

That has felt like an ideal finale with Mbappé widely expected to move to the Spanish giant when he leaves PSG as a free agent at the end of the season.

But based on the first legs, Bayern and Dortmund haven’t read that script.

Bayern dominated Madrid for long periods at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday before Vinicius Junior’s late penalty secured a 2-2 draw for the record 14-time European Cup winner.

A day later, Germany striker Niclas Füllkrug struck the only goal of the game at the Westfalenstadion to give Dortmund a 1-0 advantage over PSG.

With such fine margins, there is all to play for in the second legs when Madrid and PSG will both have home advantage.

Madrid is unbeaten at home all season and targeting a record-extending 18th European Cup final - and a ninth in the Champions League era, which is also a record.

While six-time winner Bayern showed its credentials in the first leg, it has endured a troubled season in which its 11-year reign as German champion was ended by Bayer Leverkusen.

PSG’s dominance in France shows no sign of stopping after winning a record-extending 12th league title. But it has not been able to transfer that form to the Champions League despite signing some of the world’s greatest players — including Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mbappé.

Messi and Neymar have departed and Mbappé is set to leave. Which is why it would be the perfect send-off for the forward to finally end the Qatar-backed club’s search for European club soccer’s elite trophy.

Defeat at Dortmund has cast doubt over that, but PSG already produced a comeback to beat Barcelona in the second leg of the quarterfinals and Mbappé will be desperate to avoid an anticlimactic end to the season.


PSG coach Luis Enrique has to rethink his plans in defense with Lucas Hernandez facing a long spell out after rupturing his left knee ACL in the first leg. He successfully underwent an operation on Saturday.

Hernandez was in good form and had also formed a solid central defensive partnership with Marquinhos, helping the Brazilian recapture his best form recently.

Enrique must decide who to select between Lucas Beraldo, utility player Danilo or Milan Skriniar.

The 20-year-old is Beraldo is inexperienced at the highest level, Danilo is reliable and good in the air but lacks pace and mobility, while Skriniar has only recently returned from a three-month injury layoff following ankle surgery.

Skriniar has played only one full game since then and Enrique may not risk him against a physical striker like Füllkrug, who poses a threat with his strong running and direct style of play.

Losing a player of Hernandez’s quaity is a headache Enrique really didn’t need, especially with his side having to score and more likely exposed to counter-attacks.

Enrique will also look for an improved performance from Kylian Mbappé, who failed to impress last week.

Dortmund counterpart Edin Terzić was able to rest his entire team with the exception of goalkeeper Gregor Kobel as his B-side ran out 5-1 winners over Augsburg on Saturday.


Madrid will face Bayern as the newly crowned Spanish league champions after clinching the title on Saturday. With the domestic title all but assured, Carlo Ancelotti rotated his lineup. Defender Nacho Fernández was the only player to start both at Bayern and in its 3-0 win over Cadiz on Saturday.

The club is delaying the traditional celebration of its 36th league title with players and fans in downtown Madrid until Saturday to keep its focus on the Bayern game.

Madrid arrives to the second leg without any critical injuries and with all its scorers clicking. Jude Bellingham scored his 22nd goal overall in the win over Cadiz, while backups Brahim Díaz and Joselu Mato also found the net. Thibaut Courtois is expected to be in the squad, while Ancelotti has said that Andriy Lunin will again be in goal.

Bayern’s preparations were far from ideal with a 3-1 loss at Stuttgart and injury to Raphaël Guerreiro, who had made a good impact after coming on at half time in the first leg against Madrid. Bayern confirmed Sunday he will miss Wednesday’s match.

Bayern defender Matthijs de Ligt missed the first leg with injury but rejoined team training on Sunday.


AP Sports Writers Jerome Pugmire in Paris, Joseph Wilson in Barcelona and Ciarán Fahey in Berlin contributed.


James Robson is at


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