UEFA Champions League semifinals: Paris Saint-Germain vs. RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich vs. Lyon offer intrigue

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It's France vs. Germany for soccer supremacy in Europe.

This would make total sense had the UEFA Euro 2020 competition taken place this summer and the previous two World Cup winners had met in a final.

(Fact is, Germany and France were drawn into the same Euro group -- along with Portugal -- in what should be quite the show when the tournament is played next summer.)

Focusing on the now, the UEFA Champions League semifinals to be played Tuesday and Wednesday feature two clubs from France (Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon) and two from Germany (Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig). For just the second time since 1955, no teams from England's Premier League, Italy's Serie A or Spain's La Liga advanced to the semifinals. Also, for the first time since 2005, neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will play in the Champions League semifinals.

Instead, there are three teams seeking to reach the Champions League final for the first time in club history. And then there's Bayern Munich, the five-time Champions League winner and a heavy favorite to win going into the competition's restart. Its last Champions League title came in 2013, when it defeated another German Bundesliga team -- the Jürgen Klopp-coached Borussia Dortmund -- in the final.

Champions League semifinal matches

RB Leipzig vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET (on CBS All-Access; Univision for Spanish-language TV)

Lyon vs. Bayern Munich

Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET (on CBS All-Access; Univision for Spanish-language TV)

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: PSG, Leipzig seek maiden final appearance

SADNESS TO SURREAL: The biggest day in Tyler Adams' career

ROCK BOTTOM: Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona fears grim future after Bayern meltdown

Here are five storylines to follow during this week's Champions League semifinal matches:

Ligue 1 seeking first Champions League finalist since 2004

It's been 16 years since a French team reached the Champions League final (AS Monaco in 2004) and 27 years since a French team won the competition (Olympique de Marseille in 1993).

Paris Saint-Germain has won seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles, but has yet to break through in major European competition. This is as far as the club has advanced, and anything short of capturing the Champions League trophy will be considered a failure. PSG's frontman is Brazilian star Neymar. His national teammate Thiago Silva also features in the starting 11, while 2018 World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé and 2014 World Cup winner Julian Draxler are also key players.

Olympique Lyonnais (more commonly known as Lyon), meanwhile, is a stunning semifinalist after it upset one of the most expensive teams in the world, Manchester City. Lyon needs to win the Champions League to return to the competition next season, as it finished seventh in the coronavirus-shortened Ligue 1 season.

Neymar celebrates during PSG's Champions League quarterfinal win against Atalanta.
Neymar celebrates during PSG's Champions League quarterfinal win against Atalanta.

RB Leipzig's rapid rise

Just 11 years ago, the club formerly known as SSV Markranstädt was playing in the fifth tier German Regionalligas when the energy drink maker Red Bull purchased the club's license and rebranded it as RasenBallsport Leipzig. RB Leipzig is part of a number of soccer teams owned or sponsored by Red Bull, including Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls and FC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig quickly ascended the ranks of the German club soccer pyramid. It reached 3. Liga in 2013 and the 2. Bundesliga in 2014 before earning promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016. Now, in just its fourth season as a top-tier club, RB Leipzig is playing for a spot in the world's biggest club competition. In this short time frame, RB Leipzig has earned the moniker of "the most hated team in Germany."

The Bayern Munich goal-scoring machine

In 50 games played in all competitions during the 2019-2020 season, Bayern Munich has scored an astonishing 155 goals. The team boasts a ridiculous plus-105 goal differential, thanks in large part to one of the game's greatest goalkeepers in Manuel Neuer.

With is 82nd-minute goal in Bayern Munich's 8-2 demolition of FC Barcelona on Friday, Robert Lewandowski scored his 54th goal of the season in all competitions. He bagged 34 goals during the Bundesliga season, which was six shy of Gerd Müller's record of 40 from the 1971-72 season.

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German coaches are all the rage

For the first time ever, German coaches will be at the helm of three Champions League semifinalists.

Hans-Dieter "Hansi" Flick is trying to deliver a continental treble to Bayern Munich, which has already won the DBF-Pokal and Bundesliga (for a record eight consecutive seasons). Now, the team attempts to achieve its first continental treble since 2013.

RB Leipzig's 33-year-old Julian Nagelsmann is the youngest coach to reach the Champions League semifinals.

Thomas Tuchel has led PSG to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles after stints in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, Mainz and FC Augsburg.

Major League Soccer ties in semifinals

Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig are in this position thanks in large part to contributions from players who started their professional careers in MLS.

Alphonso Davies -- who plays internationally for Canada -- made his pro debut as a 15-year-old with the Vancouver Whitecaps, for whom Davies played three seasons before making the move to the Bundesliga. This season, Davies has emerged as one of the best left backs in the world and earned the Bundesliga's Rookie of the Season award. In Bayern Munich's 8-2 destruction of FC Barcelona, Davies posterized Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo en route to setting up his team's fifth goal, which he assisted to Joshua Kimmich.

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U.S. national soccer team player Tyler Adams made his debut with the New York Red Bulls as a 16-year-old in 2015 and played three seasons for the team before going to RB Leipzig in 2019. In the 88th minute of the quarterfinal win against Atletico Madrid, Adams' goal -- his first for RB Leipzig -- put the team in its first Champions League semifinal.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Champions League: PSG-Leipzig, Bayern-Lyon are captivating semifinals