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CL semifinal draw pairs behemoths Bayern, Real

The Associated Press NYON, Switzerland (AP) — A UEFA Champions League semifinal draw steeped in the competition’s rich history paired Real Madrid and Bayern Munich on Friday, and then matched Liverpool with Roma.

Two-time defending champion Madrid will first play Bayern in Munich on April 25 in a clash of powerhouse clubs with a combined 17 European titles.

“It’s clear who are favorites. We’re up against the Champions League winners,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Madrid and Bayern have never met in the final — despite a combined 25 appearances in the 63-year-old competition’s title game — but this will be their seventh semifinal meeting.

In contrast, Liverpool and Roma played in the 1984 final, the only other season in which the Italian club advanced as far as the semifinals. Liverpool won that match in the Italian club’s Olympic Stadium home.

Anfield will stage the first leg on April 24, when Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will reunite with the Roma teammates he left last June in a €42 million ($50 million) transfer.

“Everybody knows how big Mo’s impact on our season has been,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said in comments published on the club’s website. “Where would they [Roma] be if Mo was still there?”

The pairing of American-owned clubs pits a Liverpool team tied to the Boston Red Sox against Roma president James Pallotta, who has a stake in the Boston Celtics.

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