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Bayern's Vidal expects 'Herculean' semi-final task

Arturo Vidal insisted Josep Guardiola would remain "fully committed to Bayern" regardless of who they draw, as Bayern face a "Herculean task" to reach the final.

Arturo Vidal scores Bayern's first in the 2-2 draw at Benfica
Arturo Vidal scores Bayern's first in the 2-2 draw at Benfica ©Getty Images

When Bayern drew Benfica as UEFA Champions League quarter-final opponents in Nyon back on 18 March, you could sense the confidence – not only from the Munich representatives in the auditorium but from the fans on social media soon afterwards as well.

Just as they and many others predicted, the Bavarians overcame their Portuguese counterparts to reach the last four – for the fifth successive season. Yet it was not as straightforward as they might have hoped.

After Arturo Vidal's header had given Bayern a narrow, hard-fought 1-0 first-leg advantage, Benfica could easily have turned the tie in the return had their period of pressure at Estádio de Luz resulted in a second goal for Raúl Jiménez.

Alonso: We know we are really close
Alonso: We know we are really close

The Mexican, whose bullet header on 27 minutes levelled the tie at 1-1, fluffed his second big opportunity in the box. It would prove to be fatal as Vidal again came up trumps for Bayern, smashing in a leveller to leave the home side needing two more.

"The equaliser was an important moment in the game because they were encouraged by the opening goal," said Vidal, undoubtedly Bayern's key man over the course of the tie. "I felt good in both games and it was a joy to score again."

The fearsome nature of Vidal's finish was representative of the blow it dealt to Benfica, but to their credit the Eagles battled on to record a very respectable 2-2 draw on the night, Talisca scoring a fine free-kick after Thomas Müller had put Bayern in front. Still, it will be the Bundesliga leaders in the semi-final hat on Friday.

They will be joined by Atlético Madrid, who dumped out reigning champions Barcelona, Real Madrid, who overcame Wolfsburg and, of course, Manchester City, who Bayern boss Josep Guardiola will be joining in the summer.

In the post-match press conference, Guardiola expertly swerved the matter of facing his future employers but Vidal made it clear that the Spanish tactician will be "fully committed to Bayern. He will go to Man City at the end of the season but until then he fully focused on winning the Champions League with us".

The Bavarians have faced City in a couple of recent group stages with balanced results and are also no strangers to Real Madrid, who avenged their 2012 semi-final loss with a 4-0 victory in Munich to reach the 2014 showpiece. Despite that thumping win, Real fans often refer to Bayern as the 'Bestia Negra' (Black Beast), such is their fear of the German giants.

Thomas Müller leads the celebrations in Lisbon
Thomas Müller leads the celebrations in Lisbon©Getty Images

The other Madrid, Atlético, are a far lesser known quantity for Bayern – at least in recent times. Bayern did win the first of their European Cups against the Rojiblancos in 1974 but are yet to face the Diego Simeone incarnation which already has experience of reaching a UEFA Champions League final, just two seasons ago.

Vidal is well aware of their capabilities, telling UEFA.com: "Atlético are a very difficult team – very well organised. Our big aim is to reach the final and win the competition regardless of the opponents we may encounter, but it is going to be another Herculean task because all of the four teams left are very strong."