IT seems a fair assumption that everyone is quids in from the last round. After all, who could have failed to predict RB Leipzig would beat Atletico Madrid and Lyon would beat Man City? And of course the correct score for Bayern Munich's 8-2 crushing of Barcelona was obvious. Time to, ahem, reinvest then with two classic favourite versus underdog match-ups in store this week.
Paris Saint-Germain have finally reached their second Champions League semi-final and first of the Qatar Sports Investment ownership era, and what a cathartic way to get there. After so many years suffering at the hands of late, heart-breaking goals, the French champions found two of their own to see off Atalanta. With Neymar putting in a man of the match display and a half-fit Kylian Mbappe looking as menacing as ever from the bench, Paris have every reason for optimism.
But so too do RB Leipzig who, after four defeats in their first eight Champions League games, have now put together a run of seven unbeaten (five wins, two draws). How would they cope without Timo Werner? The Germans outplayed Atletico Madrid, dominated the ball, created more chances, and crucially scored more goals. 33-year-old Julian Nagelsmann can become the youngest coach to reach the final since then 35-year-old Didier Deschamps with Monaco in 2004, coincidentally the last time a French side made the final.
Mbappe averages a goal or assist every 48 minutes in the Champions League in 2019/20. Like Angel Di Maria, he will return to the starting lineup. That's a huge boost for a side that has scored in 33 straight Champions League games, just one behind Real Madrid's all-time record (set in 2011, equalled in 2014). Neymar, who scored two as Paris beat Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in the Last 16, completed a breath-taking 16 take-ons against Atalanta. He also has more UCL assists than anyone since his 2013 debut (23) including the equaliser last time out.
Leipzig will be encouraged by their own performances, not least those of midfielder Marcel Sabitzer who has four goals and two assists in his last six Champions League outings. And although Paris boast the best defensive record in this year's competition, Keylor Navas looks set to miss out with injury, to be replaced by the erratic Sergio Rico. That's another boost.
Ultimately however, can you really make an argument for Leipzig keeping out arguably the best current attack in world football. To quote Andy Townsend: not for me, Clive. Back Neymar and co to get the job done.
Match Odds: RB Leipzig (18/5) Draw (3/1) Paris Saint-Germain (10/13)
Tip: Match multi – Paris Saint-Germain to win and Kylian Mbappe to score (8/5)
Correct score: RB Leipzig 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain (7/1)
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This will be Lyon and Bayern's ninth Champions League meeting, and the first since the Bavarians triumphed 4-0 on aggregate in the 2009/10 semi-finals. Overall, this is Bayern's 12th Champions League semi-final, putting them just one behind record holders Real Madrid, though the Germans have failed to progress from any of their last four appearances.
Bayern can also equal another record currently held by themselves (2013) and Real (2015) of 10 straight Champions League victories. No side has ever won their first 10 matches in a UCL campaign, but a win here would see Hansi Flick's achieve that. On the back of 27 games unbeaten, and 19 consecutive victories (!!!), you'd be brave to bet against them.
Lyon have not won back-to-back games in the Champions League since 2011/12 (four campaigns since then). But their comfortable victory over Man City in the quarter-finals should offer them a tremendous confidence boost, and in Houssem Aouar, they have a creative player approaching world class status. Only Kylian Mbappe (10) and Riyad Mahrez (eight) have more Champions League assists than Aouar (7) since his debut in 2018/19.
Robert Lewandowski was perhaps overshadowed by the likes of Thomas Muller, Ivan Perisic and Alfonso Davies in the seismic destruction of Barcelona. However, he still grabbed his obligotary goal to extend his scoring run to eight consecutive Champions League matches, one behind Ruud Van Nistelrooy (2003), three behind Cristiano Ronaldo (2018). A goal for the Pole seems inevitable here, but even if it doesn't come, Bayern are bursting with offensive weapons. Back the Bavarians to set up a treble-winning opportunity, just like Paris Saint-Germain.