Football Editor's Further European Focus

With one round of semi finals finished in UEFA's premier competitions, I weigh up what lies in store in the games that decides who are finalists and who are forgotten.

Football Editor's Further European Focus
90 minutes away from being a European finalist.

The Europa League produced some high tempo and exciting games with Atletico displaying the sheer force of their fire power by beating Valencia 4-2 and they look the favourites to make it into the next round. Valencia have experience in their ranks and won't make it easy but if Atletico score first then it could be curtains.

Sporting Lisbon continue to defy the odds and once again went out and beat Spanish opposition. This club and it's passionate supporters have very little else to play for this season and it looks as though they have one eye on the Bucharest final already.


Chelsea did it, they ground out a victory that drew us back to the days of Mourinho while Drogba and Co. proved there is still juice in the tank.

The team were strong going forward and even stronger when defending and scuppered  all Barcelona attacks. In my previous European article i mentioned how Chelsea's players know this could be their last chance and are capable of an upset and it seems they are doing all they can to leave their mark on a season that has been one to forget until now.

With the second leg only days away Barcelona now know this is the game they have to win as Real have all but surely won La Liga. Guardiola is aware that exiting at this stage and coming second in the league would be a disaster of a season and the frustration on the players faces leaving Stamford Bridge showed that they will not roll over in the Nou Camp. The second tie will be intriguing if Chelsea can produce another performance like the first leg then we be seeing an unlikely finalist but you can be sure that Messi, Xavi and Puyol will not give in until the final whistle blows. This tie is wide open.

Real Madrid were left frustrated by a powerful Bayern Munich who are back where they feel they belong, at the latter stages of Europe's top competition and after a determined performance against Mourinho's men few can argue against them.

Real having all but sown up the League title should and will pour all their energy into scraping through this game. The away goal cushion does offer some leeway and comfort and for a man who has won the champions league  with two different teams he is surely looking for an emphatic double with Madrid before moving on to his next challenge.