18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
While it will be Clermont's first foray into the last four of Europe's top rugby tournament, Schmidt will be taking his side to France seeking to stay on course for a third title in four seasons. Leinster beat Clermont in the Pool stages on the way to winning the Heineken Cup last year and almost piped them in the quarter-finals two seasons ago.
And having put Cardiff Blues to the sword in Dublin in Saturday's quarter-final, winning 34-3, the champions laid down a marker in their bid to become only the second side in Heineken Cup history to successfully defend their crown.
"You'd have to say that at the moment Leinster look almost unbeatable. They cruised past the Blues and they always focus well on the Heineken Cup at this time of year," said Cotter.
"We know we will have to produce a performance as good as, if not better than, today to have a chance of beating them. We just hope to come close to pushing them.
"The advantage we will have is playing them in France and the players are really looking forward to having home advantage with our fans singing and shouting. They were pretty vocal at Vicarage Road and the atmosphere in Bordeaux is going to be second to none.
"We always talk about character at Clermont and the players showed that against Saracens by refusing to concede a try at the end. They got their just reward with a semi-final place."
It was the first time in four attempts that Clermont had reached the Heineken Cup semi-finals and gives them the chance to reach their goal of winning the title in their centenary season. The ambition was to mark the anniversary with a Top 14 and Heineken Cup double, but Cotter has revised his plans a little despite being in the semi-finals and being second in the Top 14.
"It is almost impossible to win them both in the same season. We finally won the French championship in 2010, so now the goal is to win the Heineken Cup for the first time. The semi-final is coming up first, so that is where all our efforts will go," admitted Cotter.
"If we lose to Leinster, then we will move on to the Top 14."