Real Madrid's road to a third consecutive Champions League crown will go through Bayern Munich after the two giants were drawn together in Friday's semifinal procedure.
That left Liverpool and Roma to square off with one another, pitting Mohamed Salah's current team against his former one.
Of the four teams, only Roma has yet to win Europe's biggest prize. Real Madrid boasts a record 12 titles–including three of the last four and two in row–while Bayern and Liverpool each have won five.
The first legs of the semifinals are slated for April 24 and 25, while the return legs will take place on May 1 and 2. The final in Kiev, Ukraine, will take place on May 28 as a grand appetizer for this summer's World Cup.
Here's a closer look at the two matchups:
Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid (April 25 in Munich; May 1 in Madrid)
These two powerhouses have met often on the European stage, 24 times in fact, and there are set to be more fireworks between them. Last season, the met a round earlier, with a riveting tie sent to extra time, where Real Madrid eventually went through on a 6-3 aggregate. They are an even 11-11-2 against each other through the years, dating back to 1975, with Real outscoring Bayern 37-36 in that time. In the six times they've met in the semifinals, Bayern holds a 4-2 edge, although they are 2-2 since the turn of the century.
This year, there will be plenty of focus on James Rodriguez, the Colombian star sent on loan from Real Madrid to Bayern Munich this summer for two seasons and a bargain-rate discount for a permanent purchase. After enjoying much success with his new side, he'll surely be out to prove the Spanish giant made a mistake in letting him go.
With the transfer speculation swirling regarding Robert Lewandowski and a potential move to Real Madrid as a replacement for Karim Benzema, there will be loads of attention paid to the Polish striker as well.
Ultimately, though, the spotlight will remain on Cristiano Ronaldo, whose heroics in the quarterfinals–including a breathtaking bicycle kick and series-winning penalty in stoppage time vs. Juventus–marked a continuation of his blistering form. After hearing doubters for the first few months of the season, as Real Madrid limped through La Liga, Ronaldo has managed to score in every single Champions League match this season, extending his record streak to 11 games. In Spain, he's scored in nine of his last 10 matches (an outrageous 18 goals in that time) and is in peak goal-scoring form. In his history against Bayern, he has nine goals in six games, including a hat trick in the sensational quarterfinal second leg last season.
With 15 goals in the competition this season–seven more than the next closest players–Ronaldo, at 33, is still very much the straw the stirs Real Madrid's drink and has Zinedine Zidane's side on course for a three-peat. That's something that no club has done since, you guessed it, Bayern Munich in 1974-76.
Liverpool vs. Roma (April 24 in Liverpool; May 2 in Rome)
These two sides have plenty of ties. First, there's Salah, who broke out a bit with Roma before his €42 million move to Liverpool last summer. In his two seasons at Roma, Salah had 34 goals in 83 appearances–certainly a respectable tally. But it's nothing like the season he has had at Liverpool, which has seen him score 39 goals in 44 matches. His 29 league goals this season match the combined total of his two seasons in Serie A. So, yeah, it was worth the price for Liverpool.
These two sides also boast Boston-based ownership, between Liverpool's John Henry and Roma's James Pallotta.
Unlike Bayern and Real, Liverpool and Roma are relative strangers on the European stage, facing each other just five times. Liverpool boasts a 3-1-1 record, with the most recent result a 2-0 Champions League win in 2002. Liverpool's most famous win over Roma, of course, came in the 1984 European Cup final, with the Reds persevering in penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Neither Liverpool nor Roma was expected to reach this stage when the competition began, and both were perceived to be underdogs in their quarterfinal matchups against Manchester City and Barcelona, respectively. Now, one is guaranteed to be in the final, playing for Europe's biggest prize.