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Holders Barça on the brink

Published: Monday 26 April 2010, 8.37CET
FC Barcelona's title is under threat after a 3-1 defeat by FC Internazionale Milano in the semi-final first leg, while Olympique Lyonnais must overturn a 1-0 loss to FC Bayern München.
Holders Barça on the brink
Maicon scores Inter's second goal against Barcelona at San Siro ©Getty Images

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Published: Monday 26 April 2010, 8.37CET

Holders Barça on the brink

FC Barcelona's title is under threat after a 3-1 defeat by FC Internazionale Milano in the semi-final first leg, while Olympique Lyonnais must overturn a 1-0 loss to FC Bayern München.

The holders' crown being under severe threat and long waits for a UEFA Champions League final appearance are the headlines ahead of the conclusion of the last-four ties this week.

Tuesday 27 April: Olympique Lyonnais (0) v (1) FC Bayern München
Lyon must overturn Arjen Robben's long-range strike if they are to reach the final for the first time, but their impressive form at Stade de Gerland in this season's tournament certainly augurs well for the Ligue 1 club. Should Claude Puel's team make it four successive home wins then they could become France's first UEFA Champions League finalists since AS Monaco FC lost to José Mourinho's FC Porto in Gelsenkirchen six years ago.

Bayern are on the verge of their first appearance in the showpiece fixture since their triumphant 2001 campaign, though they must complete the job without Franck Ribéry and Danijel Pranjić. The former was denied a return to his homeland when he was dismissed in the first half at the Fußball Arena München, and was followed shortly after the break by Lyon's Jérémy Toulalan.

While those three are absent, six Les Gones players are within a yellow card of missing out on a potential appearance in the Santiago Bernabéu final on 22 May: Aly Cissokho, César Delgado, Maxime Gonalons, Kim Källström, Cris and Miralem Pjanić.

Wednesday 28 April: FC Barcelona (1) v (3) FC Internazionale Milano
The holders require at least a repeat of the 2-0 defeat they inflicted upon the Nerazzurri at the Camp Nou in November if they are to remain on course to become the first team since AC Milan two decades ago to win back-to-back European Champion Clubs' Cups. Achieving that will be no mean feat, however; Inter are on a five-game winning streak in the knockout stage and are tantalisingly close to reaching the final of Europe's premier club competition for the first time in 38 years.

Goals from Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito at San Siro have put Inter one step closer to what Mourinho described as their "dream". On a personal level, the Portuguese trainer will also be returning to the club he served as an assistant coach, striving to reach the final for the second occasion in his career having guided Porto to glory in 2004.

Barça will once again be without midfielder Andrés Iniesta, who has a torn right thigh muscle, as well as the banned Carles Puyol. Inter's Dejan Stanković is absent for the same reason, while both sides have several players within a booking of sitting out the final should they progress: Inter's former Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o, Walter Samuel, Maicon and captain Javier Zanetti, plus the hosts' Daniel Alves and Gerard Piqué.

Last updated: 26/04/10 9.02CET

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