It’s Germany vs Spain in the Champions League semi finals and we have some mouth-watering games to look forward to. Some may argue the point against but it’s fair to say we have four of the best attacking teams in Europe on show, each fighting for a spot at the Wembley final in May. Let’s take a look at how the teams match up.
Bayern vs Barca
Beaten finalists at the hands of Chelsea last year, Bayern will feel they have a point to prove after losing the Champions League final on home turf. That defeat would have hurt badly for the newly crowned German champions who have run away with the league this year. Securing the domestic title means Bayern can focus all their attention to these next two games.
The Bayern team is a balanced cocktail of youthful talent and vastly experienced heads. Dispatching Juventus in the quarter finals was no easy feat but the Germans played a lethally clinical game resulting in a 4-0 aggregate win. Eyes will again be on Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos to provide the creativity for Mario Mandžukić up front, and not to forget the cunning guile and pace of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben on the flanks.
Barcelona are getting the job done. It may not be the most fluid Barca team we’ve witnessed this season but no one can deny the mercurial talents of Leo Messi who is the mighty ace in this highly talented Catalan pack. The domestic title looks a forgone conclusion as Barca canter to the championship so focus can be given to European exploits.
Messi-aside the Barca team is laden with diamonds in midfield. Cesc Fàbregas is on red-hot form right now while Xavi and Iniesta relentlessly drive the game of tiki-taka forward. Timing is everything and the odds look to be in favour of Barcelona right now. Coach Tito Vilanova has returned from cancer treatment in the US while defender Eric Abidal returned to action after more than a year out following a liver transplant. The impact of these returns will be seen as a big boast in moral amongst the team, and we’ve seen how Barcelona players love playing for each other.
Dortmund vs Real
The Germans have been a joy to watch as coach Jurgen Klopp’s brand of fast attacking football has gained many admirers this season. Dortmund left it very late in their win against Malaga in the last round, but sometimes you need luck on your side – an omen for things to come perhaps?
The strength of the Dortmund team is the attacking trident of Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski – plenty of pace and dynamic interchange which can bamboozle any defence. Having already beaten Real in Dortmund 2-1 in the group stages and drawing in the Spanish capital, this tie should hold no fears for the German team, although they will need to be on top of their game to win.
Real Madrid endured a tricky second leg against Galatasaray to win 5-3 on aggregate. Jose Mourinho will have studied for countless hours as he tries to devise a game plan to take down the Germans. Mourinho has a special love affair with the Champions League and now that he’s declared he won’t be manager of Real next season the only thing remaining is for him to win the Champions League as a leaving present. Sounds easy, but as we know, winning the Champions League is anything but.
The key man for Real is inevitably Cristiano Ronaldo. The forward continues his blistering form in the Champions League and hopes rest on his shoulders. But he thrives on the pressure as we’ve all seen. Supporting acts from Mesut Özil and Angel Di Maria ensure there will be plenty of opportunities to plunder.
Both ties are very hard to call but Elysium Magazine thinks an El Clásico final between Barcelona and Real Madrid would be a fitting spectacle for a Wembley showpiece celebrating the 150th anniversary of the English FA. This would also mean Jose Mourinho is back on familiar turf once again. But before we get ahead of ourselves lets feast on the football entertainment coming up in the semi finals over the next two weeks. Enjoy!
Semi Final first leg fixtures. Second legs to be played 30th April & 1st May
– Bayern Munich vs Barcelona
– Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid