In all three tournaments, at least one Italian team could make it to the final.
The first semifinal matches took place in the European cups. Intrigue is alive in almost all six pairs: in the Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League. Where can we expect the most interesting plots in the return matches?
"Manchester City" - "Real Madrid" (first match - 1:1)
The most prestigious pair of semi-finals. The series between "City" and "Real" is called the "hidden" final of the Champions League. Two teams that are among the top strongest clubs in the world provided great football in the first match. At the "Santiago Bernabeu," they exchanged goals after magnificent long-range shots from Vinicius Junior and Kevin De Bruyne.
The final draw leaves both teams with good chances to reach the final. However, the home field advantage plays in favor of "City" in the return match. The FiveThirtyEight supercomputer agrees with this assessment, estimating the probability of the English team reaching the final at 70% and the Madrid team at 30%. "Real" can never be underestimated in the Champions League. The chances of the Spanish club reaching the final will remain until the end of the return match in Manchester. Nevertheless, "City" is the slight favorite of the pair at the moment.
"Inter" - "AC Milan" (first match - 2:0)
This pair has probably the weakest intrigue before the return match. "Inter" has gained excellent momentum in the Italian championship (four consecutive victories), and in the first 15 minutes of the Champions League semi-final, it destroyed "AC Milan". First, Edin Dzeko opened the scoring on the eighth minute, finishing off a corner kick. And three minutes later, Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the advantage. "Inter" could have scored more, but the implementation let them down. "AC Milan" gradually normalized the game, but the victory of the black and blue team was a well-deserved result.
Although the teams play in the same stadium, in the return match "Inter" is the nominal host. Most of the fans in the stands will come to support Simone Inzaghi's team. "AC Milan" needs to transform miraculously to make up for the two-goal deficit and reach the final. The supercomputer doesn't believe in such a scenario. The probability of "Inter" reaching the Champions League final is 94%, and "AC Milan" is only 6%. The machine has issued an unfavorable verdict to Stefano Pioli's team. Or will the red and black team come together and surprise the whole world?
The chances of clubs to win the Champions League (according to the FiveThirtyEight supercomputer):
"Manchester City" - 51%;
"Inter" - 30%;
"Real" - 18%;
"AC Milan" - 1%.
"Bayer" - "Roma" (first leg - 0:1)
The first game at the Stadio Olimpico was not very spectacular, but positive in result for Roma. The likable Bayer, led by Javier Alonso, played a lackluster game and created almost no danger for the hosts. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Roma academy graduate Edouardo Bove scored his debut goal in European competition. Now Mourinho's team has a convenient scenario for the second leg: sit in a medium or low defensive block and run fast counter-attacks. Given Bayer's unimpressive performance in the first leg, Alonso urgently needs to come up with something to fight for a place in the final.
The FiveThirtyEight supercomputer predicts an Italian victory. The probability of Roma reaching the final is estimated at 64%, and Bayer's chances are at 36%. However, Bayer has the advantage of playing at home and the fact that we did not see the best version of Alonso's team in the first leg in Rome. The second leg is expected to offer a much more interesting plot.
"Sevilla" - "Juventus" (first leg - 1:1)
Juventus saved a draw in the final minute of added time thanks to defender Federico Gatti, who scored a header. The draw leaves "Juve" with decent chances, but it is still "Sevilla" who is favored to win. The team has risen after the appointment of Jose Luis Mendilibar, having beaten Manchester United in the quarter-finals and climbed to tenth place in the Spanish league. And in the first leg against Juventus, the Andalusians looked more interesting.
"Sevilla" - the kings of the Europa League. The team can confirm this status by reaching the final and obtaining a positive result in the home leg. The supercomputer believes in Sevilla's success, with their victory in the pair assessed at 57%, and Juventus at 43%. Massimiliano Allegri's team risks finishing the season without trophies, while the Spaniards are ready to go for their seventh UEFA Europa League trophy.
The clubs' chances of winning the Europa League (according to the FiveThirtyEight supercomputer):
"Roma" - 35%;
"Sevilla" - 25%;
"Juventus" - 20%;
"Bayer" - 20%.
"Basel" - "Fiorentina" (first leg - 2:1)
The Swiss club surprised everyone by defeating the favorite of the semi-final pair away. "Fiorentina" looked slightly sharper, but "Basel" showed better execution. Previously, the Swiss had eliminated "Trabzonspor", "Slovan", and "Nice" from the tournament. Now the team is marching towards the final, with an away victory over the clear favorite being a huge success. But the supercomputer still believes that the chances of the teams are almost equal.
The machine gives a probability of 52% for Basel to go further (taking into account home field advantage in the second leg), and 48% for Fiorentina. Can the "violets" fight for their third European cup in history (including the Mitropa Cup), or will Basel get a chance to win their first international trophy?
"AZ Alkmaar" - "West Ham" (first leg - 1:2)
"The Hammers" secured a hard-fought home victory over the Dutch side. First, they were helped by a penalty converted by Said Benrahma. Then, on the 76th minute, Michael Antonio scored, putting "West Ham" ahead. The Londoners have an advantage going into the second leg, but it won't be easy for them in Alkmaar. Apart from the attractive AZ, they'll have to deal with the rowdy fans.
However, the supercomputer doesn't believe in AZ's success. The machine gives only 26% probability to the Dutch side to progress to the final, and 74% to "West Ham". This is the second-largest gap in percentage points between the semi-finalists of European tournaments (after the "Inter" - "Milan" pair).
Chances of clubs to win the Conference League (according to the FiveThirtyEight supercomputer):
"West Ham" - 49%;
"Fiorentina" - 25%;
"AZ" - 15%;
"Basel" - 11%.