by ‘Ifreke Inyang
On Wednesday night, Bayern Munich and Barcelona joined Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the penultimate hurdle of Europe’s elite club competition. There are no surprises really, as it was only Dortmund who failed to make the last four in last season’s competition. More importantly, it is the first time in Champions League history, that two teams from two nations are in the semi-finals.
I’m tipping one of the German teams to lift the trophy in Wembley. Bayern Munich have played some sparkling football all season and by the time the Bavarians opened up a nine-point lead over Dortmund in December, it was only a matter of time before they were crowned Bundesliga champions. Fast forward to early April, with six games left, they have claimed the title and have all the time in the world to focus on Europe. Little wonder they dispatched Italian champions Juventus, with embarrassing ease.
Dortmund on the other have impressed mightily. Their passing has been prescient, the movement wonderful, but their finishing has been painfully bizarre. Jurgen Klopp’s men could have easily eliminated Malaga 10-0 on aggregate over the two legs, but it was two late goals at home that saved them. However, you just get the feeling that with Marco Reus and Mario Gotze pulling the strings in the middle and Robert Lewandoski upfront, they can only get better.
I would not completely overlook the Spanish giants though. Real Madrid have not looked too solid all season and were almost thrown out in Turkey, even with a 3-0 lead from the first leg. Barcelona are a special team, but it is Lionel Messi that adds magic to them. The Catalans huffed and puffed until the Argentine, who was evidently not fully fit was introduced from the bench. Within minutes, he evaded a PSG player and laid a neat pass into David Villa’s path. Villa touched the ball on for Pedro and he slammed it passed Sirigu.
The world is secretly awaiting an El Clasico final, but we were disappointed last season, when Chelsea dumped Barcelona out and Bayern ousted Madrid via penalties. If the La Liga teams are kept apart in Friday’s draws again, I might just put the smart money on an all-German final.