The heavyweight rematch we all want to see is almost here. Real Madrid will travel to Manchester City on Wednesday for the second leg in the semi-finals of the Champions League. In the Spanish capital last Tuesday, it was goals from Vinicius Jr. and Kevin de Bruyne who saw the 1-1 finish. That leaves a pretty simple scenario here – win and move on. Whether it’s regulation, extra time or penalties, there has to be a winner and that team will progress to the final on June 10 to face Inter or AC Milan.
Paramount+ is your home for all things UCL. We’ve got all the pregame and postgame coverage you need, and be sure to check out CBS Sports Golazo Network for tactical cams. Here’s what you need to know about the games, our expert picks and more:
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Wednesday’s broadcast schedule
- UEFA Champions League Today, 2pm, Paramount+ and CBS
- Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m., Paramount+ and CBS
- Tactical Cam: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m., CBS Sports Golazo Network
- UEFA Champions League Post-Match Show, 5pm, Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network
CBS Sports has a brand new daily football podcast, covering everything you need to know about the beautiful game. Make sure to follow House of Champions for coverage of the biggest matches, stories, transfer news with Fabrizio Romano and everything else happening in the world’s most popular sport.
By James Benge
A player to watch: Despite Vinicius Junior making his case one of the best in the world, Karim Benzema was an understated figure. That may be due in no small measure to the imperious one Ruben Dias, which was his usual mix of elegance on the ball and full throttle fighting off it. Throwing himself in the way of any danger that comes in City’s way, he might put Benzema down again.
Underrated X Factor: No one would mistake the Etihad Stadium for one of Europe’s greatest arenas, especially on Champions League nights when supporters tend to express their distaste for UEFA in the loudest of terms. But City are certainly comfortable under the lights and are unbeaten in their last 25 European home games, the most of any English club. Indeed, the English champions have not lost a knockout home game since 2015, when Luis Suarez and the rest of Barcelona pushed them to their limits.
The main reason why they will win: Picking just one attribute to take City to victory is a challenge in itself, but if you have to trust a team to keep a clean sheet in this league, it’s Wednesday’s hosts, who have conceded just five goals so far scored in 11 games. That’s no fluke either, they’ve conceded just 7.8 non-penalty expected goals in the Champions League so far.
The main reason they will lose: Until they actually win the Champions League, the same cliché will have to hold true, that there is something inherent about this particular team that makes them their own worst enemies on the European stage. City’s lack of control in the first leg makes it all the more credible that they could simply lose their composure in the final stages of the first leg.
By Chuck Booth
One player to watch: Karim Benzema. Going back to the first leg, while Real Madrid had their chances, one of the main takeaways was Benzema barely getting a touch on the ball. Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior had their chances wide, but for Real to be at their best there must also be a central threat. Benzema can move a defense even when he’s not at his best because the defense knows what he can do with the ball at his feet, but Real will need at least a goal or an assist from the Frenchman if they beat Manchester City want to pass on home.
Underrated X Factor: Luka Modric. While we can’t call Modric underrated at this stage, that term doesn’t matter once you’ve become a Galactico. But if there’s one player who can turn this match into a Real Madrid route on his day, it’s Modric. Keeping possession moving and creating chances all over the pitch, a vintage Modric game could change the score for Los Blancos, even if Benzema is not given room to work offensively.
The main reason why they will win: Calmness. Real Madrid is a team that has been to this place again and again. Coming from behind to get ahead in the Champions League? They did. Winning away from home as an underdog? They did. Real have experience that will prevent this game from going sideways unless City score several goals early in the game.
Biggest reason they’ll lose: defensive vulnerability. Although Madrid had no problem creating chances against City, they were overwhelmed by City’s attack early in the first leg. Letting that happen with City at home, even if only for a short while, could put the team in a deficit that cannot be reversed. This is also why Camavinga’s health will be critical as the team defense is much better with him in the lineup.
By James Benge
Madrid have proven to be a good match for City, but ultimately Pep Guardiola’s side might have the better quality, especially off the bench, to swing this draw their way with a 2-1 win.