Bayern Munich reaches Champions League semifinals
MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich reached its sixth Champions League semifinal in seven seasons with a 0-0 draw against Sevilla in the second leg of their quarterfinal on Wednesday.
The Bavarian powerhouse, which clinched its sixth consecutive Bundesliga title on Saturday, progressed to the final four of Europe’s premier competition thanks to its 2-1 win in the first leg in Spain.
Bayern will face one of Liverpool, Roma or Real Madrid in the semifinals.
“It’s a step away from the final,” Bayern winger Arjen Robben said. “But it won’t get any easier. It’ll get harder.”
In the night’s other match, Cristiano Ronaldo scored an injury-time penalty for Madrid to progress despite a 3-1 home loss to Juventus, with a 4-3 aggregate score.
“There is no team that you’d rather have,” Bayern captain Thomas Mueller said of Friday’s semifinal draw. “We’ve earned it for ourselves and of course want to get through.”
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes sent out his strongest lineup in Munich with Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez and Mueller flanked by Robben and Franck Ribery.
James went close with a free kick before Robben shot just wide of the far post as the home side made a promising start.
Sevilla also had opportunities, however, first for Pablo Sarabia, then Joaquin Correa.
“They had chances that they could have used better,” Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich said.
Sevilla’s players were showing more bite, winning more challenges with some leaving their mark - Lewandowski was left with large swelling under his right eye, while Javi Martinez, James and Rafinha also needed attention.
Bayern had better chances before the break through Mats Hummels and Franck Ribery, who shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Lewandowski hit the side-netting after the interval before Sevilla showed more ambition getting forward. Correa struck the crossbar with a header before the hour-mark.
But it was as close as the visitors got, and Sevilla’s hopes were already over when Correa was shown red card in injury time for a bad challenge on Martinez.
“What we need to cling on to tonight is the tremendous amount of work we did,” Sevilla captain Sergio Escudero said.
Bayern, which faces Bayer Leverkusen away in the semifinals of the German Cup next Tuesday, is going for a repeat of the treble it won in Heynckes’ last season in charge in 2013.
The veteran coach has overseen a major improvement in Bayern’s performances since being coaxed out of retirement in October for his fourth stint in charge.
“Nobody thought at the time that we’d win the league with five rounds to spare and a 20-point lead, and that the team would also reach the semifinals of the Champions League,” Heynckes said.