We were treated this week to two classic Champions League matches that set the stage for a Dortmund vs. Real Madrid final. These matches gave us plenty to talk about with all of the drama and controversy that was embroiled in them. This round of matches gave us everything we could hope for in the form of entertainment.

PSG v Dortmund

This game just felt like a must win for Luis Enrique and PSG and a one goal deficit was not the toughest ask for a team of PSG’s caliber. Failing to reach the final in a somewhat favorable draw would be a massive disappointment for the Parisians. It felt like Dortmund was playing with house money after the first leg and many people, including myself, expected them to lose and get knocked out. Credit to them as they held PSG scoreless over two legs, which is an incredibly tough ask for any team. In a game where PSG had almost 70% of the possession, they could not solve Kobel and the Dortmund defense, and that is not for a lack of trying. PSG with the woodwork 4(!) times in this game, and it makes you wonder how different the game could have been if any of those shots end up in the back of the net. Since the start of the game PSG looked to exploit the space in behind Dortmund’s full backs, and it seemed like if they were going to get a goal it was going to be through those spaces. Dortmund did a good job at keeping the middle of the field clogged up, forcing PSG to find alternative routes to goal. PSG created some good chances in the first 45 minutes, but none were really that big. I felt the best chance of the first half came with Karim Adeyemi on the break, using his elite pace to create some separation from the defender to get a shot off. If he’s not reaching and sliding for the ball when he goes to shoot and can actually make clean contact, I think that the shot would cause Donnarumma much more trouble than it actually did. Still a good save none the less, but could’ve been better for Dortmund. PSG came out of the gate in the second half flying, Warren Zaire-Emery hit the post shortly after half time, and it was a chance that he really should have scored. Finding himself wide open at the back post after a deflected Mbappe cross, the ball fell to him and he tried to calmly side foot volley it but hit it straight at the post, bailing Dortmund out. It can be difficult to get that shot right especially with bodies flying around you, but I still think he should have scored. No long after Mats Hummels became the oldest German player to score in a Champions League game after nodding home a brilliant Julian Brandt corner. I think as good as a ball and header this was, PSG will be kicking themselves as they completely lost Hummels at the back post and Beraldo miss timed his jump allowing Hummels a free header on the edge of the six-yard box which he easily dispatched past Donnarumma. PSG kept pushing after conceding and Goncalo Ramos had a couple chances that he really should’ve at least got on target, but sent over the net instead. Nuno Mendes came close on a shot from outside the box that saw him hit the outside of the post. Later, Mbappe had a shot from close range ever so slightly tipped onto the bar by Kobel. PSG kept pushing and in the last 15 minutes had 83% of the ball. Vitinha also hit the crossbar on a shot from range that had Kobel wrong foot, but ultimately bounced out off the crossbar. Despite their best efforts, PSG just could not solve the Dortmund defense and crashed out of the Champions League. As I said early, I feel that this is a massive disappointment for PSG as most everyone expected them to go through. Dortmund are back in the final for the first time since 2013 and will seek to win their second UCL title.

Real Madrid v Bayern Munich

This was the game that everyone was expecting fireworks in after the 2-2 draw in Bavaria last week, and did it live up to expectations. The first half of this match was a bit cagey, it felt like neither team wanted to take too great of a risk early on in the game. The biggest chance came to Vinicius Jr who took up a good space inside the box and got a shot off, which Manuel Neuer needed to react to, getting just enough of it to take it off the inside of the post before regaining his composure to stop Rodrygo on the follow up. Vinicius Jr again forced a big save from Neuer on the hour mark after cutting in from the left wing and showing off his world class dribbling ability. Bayern’s game plan was clear, soak up pressure from Real and hit quickly on the counter using the pace of their attackers. In the 68th minute their plan was manifested as Harry Kane found Alphonso Davies in space on the left wing. Davies brought the ball under control before cutting inside on his weaker right foot and smashing one past Andrey Lunin to give Bayern a 1-0 lead. It seemed that Bayern’s lead did not last for long as Valverde put a ball into the box that Nacho redirected off of Davies into the back of the net. After a VAR check it was determined that Nacho had fouled Kimmich in the moments prior to the goal and it was chalked off. Real would keep pushing and eventually a seemingly routine shot from Vinicius bounced awkwardly off of Neuer and Joselu was in the right place at the right time and turned in the equalizer past Neuer. A bit of a nightmare for the legendary German goalkeeper, and now the tie was turned on its head. Only a couple minutes later Real had a corner that Modric swung in, the ball came out to Vinicius who crossed it in and after bouncing around it fell to Nacho who found Rudiger in space who delivered a peach of a ball which found Joselu. The initial celebrations were muted because the linesman raised his flag for offside, but after a VAR check it was determined that Joselu was onside and Real was ahead in the tie 4-3. It was going to be hard for Bayern to find and equalizer since they had already made numerous defensive subs to try and protect their lead, but they kept pushing and they thought they found the equalizer through De Ligt, but the linesman had already raised his flag for offside. Here’s where the controversy lies, Mazrouai wasn’t actually offside despite the linesman flagging him. Typically, the linesman will wait before in case there is any doubt in their minds and that’s what they’re instructed to do. Personally, I think that Bayern have every right to complain and be frustrated in this case. The linesman clearly got it wrong and the referee decided to stop play instead of letting the play unfold. Regardless, the Kings of the Champions League advance to yet another final after another dramatic late win that was not without controversy.