Real Madrid and Bayern Munich paired together in the European Champions League semifinals
Atletico Madrid and Chelsea to meet in the other last four tie
Bayern looking to become the first team to defend the Champions League title
The final will take place in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon on May 24
Two European football heavyweights will collide in the UEFA Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland on Friday.
Bayern, winners of the competition last season, and nine-time champions Real will both be looking to book a place in the final, which will take place in Lisbon on May 24.
The other semifinal paired Real’s city rivals Atletico Madrid with Chelsea, who lifted the trophy for the first time in their history in 2012.
The semifinal first leg matches will take place on April 22-23, with the ties concluding with the second legs on April 28-29.
German champions Bayern are looking to become the first team to defend the European Cup in the post-1992 Champions League era.
Led by former Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola, Bayern fought from behind to defeat Manchester United on Tuesday.
Real will appear in the semifinals of Europe’s premier club competition for the 25th time in their illustrious history, with Cristiano Ronaldo and co. out to secure Los Blancos a record 10th triumph.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team survived a spirited comeback from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday to reach the last four with a 3-2 aggregate win.
The two teams met at the same stage of the competition in 2012, with Bayern prevailing after a nerve-shredding penalty shootout.
Bayern went on to lose to Chelsea in the final two years ago. The London club’s manager Jose Mourinho is bidding to win the tournament with a third different club after previous successes with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.
Chelsea needed a late goal from striker Demba Ba to register an away-goals win over Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight.
Atletico Madrid could be without the services of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is on-loan at the Vicente Calderon stadium from Chelsea.
Rumors surfaced on Thursday that an agreement between the two teams meant Courtois would only be able to play in both matches against his parent club if Atletico pay Chelsea €6 million ($8.3 million.)
European football’s governing body UEFA announced Friday that any such agreement would be “null, void and unenforceable.”
“Furthermore, any attempt to enforce such a provision would be a clear violation of both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and would therefore be sanctioned accordingly,” read a statement from the organization.
While Chelsea are appearing in the semifinals for the seventh time in the last 11 seasons, Atletico haven’t reached this stage since 1974.
Atletico’s coach Diego Simeone has led something of a renaissance at the club, leading them to the top of the Spanish league table with just six games left of the campaign.
A goal from talented playmaker Koke was enough to see off four-time European champions Barcelona in Tuesday’s quarterfinal second leg.