The draw for the Champions League semi-finals has thrown up two Germany vs. Spain contests.
Bayern Munich faces Barcelona in one semi-final, while Dortmund and Real Madrid clash in the other semi-final.
I have to admit that I am looking forward to the semi-finals. It really is hard to pick which teams will progress from either semi-final.
All four teams have the quality to go all the way, but have to negotiate the semi-finals first.
The four teams left in the competition are arguably the strongest teams in Europe. There is usually a surprise qualifier for the semi-finals. However, I do not think that it is a surprise that any of the teams have made it to the last four.
There may be a big difference in the point’s tallies in La Liga and the Bundesliga between the teams, but really, there is not much between them in quality.
Bayern won the Bundesliga crown last weekend. The Bavarians are currently 20 points clear of Dortmund at the top of the table.
Barcelona are 13 points clear of Real Madrid in La Liga. In reality, the gap between the teams is far less than the numbers show.
Dortmund will head into their clash with Real Madrid in good spirits. Dortmund was slightly lucky to defeat Malaga in the quarter-finals, but have throughout the tournament showed how well they can perform.
Jurgen Klopp’s side took four points off Real Madrid in the group stage. Many teams go into clashes with Real Madrid with an inferiority complex, Dortmund definitely will not.
Dortmund are the outsiders with the bookmakers for the tournament, despite the fact that they are the only unbeaten team left in the competition.
Bayern Munich have looked like the real deal all season-long. They are arguably the most complete team in the semi-finals of the competition.
They do not depend on one player in particular, as Barcelona does with Lionel Messi or to a slightly lesser extent Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Their team is worth more than the individual is and that could be their best asset against Barcelona in the semis.
Barcelona were unconvincing against a very good PSG side, but still managed to make it through to the last four. The Catalan giants are still favourites for the competition. However, they are not exactly the same power they once were.
If Barca plays as they did against Malaga when they face the German champions then they will be in trouble. Bayern look to be at the peaks of their powers, while Barcelona looked listless against Malaga until the introduction of the half-fit Lionel Messi.
Barcelona’s defensive problems could be exposed by a very well drilled and set-up Bayern team.
For all the talk about Barcelona now showing weaknesses, they still have the magical Lionel Messi to call upon. The World Player of the Year has an almost magical effect on his team. With him Barcelona are an almost unstoppable team.
Without him, Barcelona looked lost. Fortunately for Barcelona Messi should be back for the first leg against Bayern Munich. Barcelona will be relieved to have the little genius back in the team.
The Champions League has been Real Madrid’s priority since Jose Mourinho took over at the Bernabeu. This season they haven’t been able to match Barcelona’s form in La Liga and have instead turned their full attention to the Champions League in recent months.
Everybody involved with Los Blancos seem obsessed with the European Cup. However, Real haven’t won the trophy in over a decade. Real Madrid has a strong squad, but Cristiano Ronaldo is still the star of the team.
The Champions League semi-finals are very unpredictable. I really would not even hazard a guess at who will qualify for the final. The two German sides are the outsiders, but have the quality to defeat their highly-rated Spanish opponents.
The two semi-finals are sure to be exciting and I am sure they will do the Champions League justice.
Who will make it to the Champions League final?