Champions League semi-finalists: talking tactics, season recap

UEFA.com's dedicated team reporters run the rule over this season's UEFA Champions League semi-finalists.

Hans-Dieter Flick has ensured Thomas Müller exerts plenty of influence at Bayern
Hans-Dieter Flick has ensured Thomas Müller exerts plenty of influence at Bayern UEFA via Getty Images

UEFA.com takes a closer look at how the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League semi-finalists have got this far and what sort of approach to expect from them in the last four.

Semi-finalists in profile

Semi-finals

Tuesday 18 August, 21:00 CET
Leipzig vs Paris, Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Wednesday 19 August, 21:00 CET
Lyon vs Bayern, Estádio José Alvalade

Bayern

Talking tactics: Hans-Dieter Flick put a big onus on fitness during lockdown and it continues to pay off. The intensity of Bayern's press devastated Barcelona, as it has done to many teams before. Robert Lewandowski is the star of the team, but don't overlook 'Raumdeuter' Thomas Müller's influence. He covers the ground, he calls the press and he creates space for the wingers and full-backs to get forward and create an attacking overload. Bayern's defensive line looked a little too high at times, but it's a risk that paid off.

Campaign so far: If you weren't on the Bayern hype train before, you will have been after their quarter-final demolition of Barcelona. They've swept aside every opponent they've faced in the Champions League this season, scoring 39 goals along the way. Bayern are still reluctant to get drawn into treble talk, but it's hard to ignore the comparisons with 2012/13. They must surely fancy their chances now.
Jordan Maciel, UEFA.com Bayern reporter

Leipzig

Watch every Leipzig Champions League goal this season
Watch every Leipzig Champions League goal this season

Talking tactics: Julian Nagelsmann has introduced another measure of dynamism to Leipzig's press, pass and punish recipe that has added a level of threat to a young and ambitious side. The versatility of his players and the flexibility of his formation allow Leipzig to transition seamlessly through a wide range of styles that are aimed at keeping an opponent guessing through the full 90.

Campaign so far: Leipzig are the surprise package in the Champions League this season and there's a lot to like about a side that produces intense and attractive performances. In Tottenham and Atlético, they've knocked out two former finalists with composed and clinical performances. Perhaps more importantly, they've done so in the face of adversity and despite their relative inexperience.
James Thorogood, UEFA.com Leipzig reporter

Lyon

Watch all of Lyon's goals so far
Watch all of Lyon's goals so far

Talking tactics: Rudi Garcia's 3-5-2 has proved its worth with his team happy to leave the ball to vaunted opponents. Marcelo controls things from the back, given security by the pace of Marçal and Jason Denayer alongside him. Maxwel Cornet is a threat breaking forward from left wing back, while the midfield trio work incredibly hard. Despite the ground he covers, Houssem Aouar has the technique and calmness to provide the final ball and OL have proved they are capable of scoring goals with limited chances.

Campaign so far: There has been no shortage of drama. Still under Sylvinho, they won away to Leipzig on Matchday 2 but in the home return needed to come back from two down to draw and join their hosts in the round of 16. Juventus and Manchester City were then knocked out in two tense ties, showing Lyon's ability to punch above their weight and not be floored by heavy blows.
David Crossan, UEFA.com Lyon reporter

Paris

Talking tactics: Thomas Tuchel has tried pretty much everything in terms of formation this season, depending on the players available. Paris had settled on a 4-4-2 before the lockdown, with their 'Quatre Fantastiques' (Fantastic Four) of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Mauro Icardi and Ángel Di María promising to put in more defensive work if they could all play together. When his options are more limited, Tuchel has reverted to a 4-3-3 and now the 4-3-1-2 against Atalanta that featured Neymar in a more central role.

Campaign so far: Beaten away to Dortmund and trailing until the 90th minute against Atalanta, Paris have relied on character and belief to earn their semi-final berth. The French side enjoyed their customary group stage stroll, but whereas in recent campaigns they have wilted in knockout contests, this time they have won the mental battles. And while Neymar and Mbappé remain their greatest threats, this season they have impressed in defence as well, conceding just five goals in nine games.
Chris Burke, UEFA.com Paris reporte
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