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Big Champions League Draw Awaits Pep and Bayern 

Champions League News Conference - munichFOTO / Mark Lovell

Munich — Following Bayern Munich’s stirring comeback victory over England’s Manchester United in the Champions League in midweek, attention immediately turns to Friday’s draw.

Let’s take a look at Pep’s preferred semi final opponents and the three remaining challengers to the all-conquering Bavarians crown.

Arguably, Bayern will want to avoid this year’s surprise package Atletico Madrid, coached by highly-regarded Diego Simeone. Spain’s Atletico have reached their first major European semi-final for 40 years by disposing of Barcelona in the quarter-finals. Bayern would have everything to lose against the low-budget team who have long lived in the shadow of their noisier neighbours Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola at the press conference after the match -- Mark Lovell

Pep Guardiola at the press conference after the match — Mark Lovell

Without admitting it in public, Bayern would prefer to play against Real rather than Atletico Madrid. Real, themselves, are somewhat in awe of the Bavarian machine and term Bayern ‘’the black beast’’ such has been the fear-factor emanating from Spain. Overall, Real can boast just seven wins in 20 clashes between the two European heavyweights. Madrid only just survived a real scare in Dortmund by the skin of their teeth, and would definitely prefer to avoid another trip to Germany – especially with a worry over Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola is looking forward to the ‘’most pleasant part of the season.’’

 Arjen Robben is getting plenty of plaudits for his playing ability rather than his diving skills. The ‘’incredible’’ Robben has 66.6% chance of drawing former clubs Real and Chelsea in the last four.

Guardiola has his own history and simmering feud with Chelsea’s mercurial coach Jose

In-match tweet from Mark Lovell - you can follow him on Twitter at @LovellLowdown

In-match tweet from Mark Lovell - you can follow him on Twitter at @LovellLowdown

Mourinho, from their respective spells in charge of Barca and Real. We saw glimpses of this intensity spilling-over in August’s UEFA Super Cup in Prague. Of course, Chelsea beat Bayern on penalties in Munich to win the 2012 UEFA Champions League final – alternatively knows as the ‘’Fiasco dahoam.’’ Bayern gained a small semblance of revenge beating the Blues on penalties in August’s Super Cup match up in Prague.

The final four clashes get underway on 22-23 April with the return ties following on 29-30 April. Bayern fans will already have one eye on the final staged at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) ground in Lisbon on 24 May.


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About the author: Mark Lovell

English (NCTJ) bilingual writer, living and working in Germany for over two decades. Accredited journalist, who travels all around the country taking in the 'Beautiful Game'. A regular pundit on TV (CNN) and worldwide radio (talkSPORT) waxing lyrical about the thriving Bundesliga and Champions League. A commissioned writer for BBC Sport on German football. A gifted linguist including cricket commentary in German for Eurosport. Record run scorer and founder of www.munichcricket.net website. As always I am indebted to my beautiful wife Jana for her support and patience, especially when I am away on my travels, attending to my sporting whims. Follow Mark Lovell on twitter @LovellLowdown or contact via email : henrymarklovell (at) aol.com

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