Maybe an all-German final doesn’t quite match the edge that would have been present had Barcelona and Real Madrid prevailed in the semi-finals instead. There is genuine, deep-seated animosity between the two Spanish giants but no real history of any real rivalry between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
Did Bayern Munich’s demolition of Barcelona at the Allianz Arena signal a shift in the power base of European football? Spain may still dominate the international scene but Germany aren’t far behind the world champions and their club football is apparently on an upward curve if this season’s Champions League is a reliable guide.
It appears that Jose Mourinho is fated never to win the Champions League with Real Madrid. It’s the one trophy that’s missing from his portfolio at the Bernebeu and it would take an incredible turnaround in the second leg of their semi-final with Borussia Dortmund for the soon-to-be-deposed Spanish champions to make next month’s final at Wembley.
It’s very rare that Barcelona go into any match nowadays as outsiders but we have the Champions League favourites at 11/5 to beat Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena with Jupp Heynckes’ newly-crowned Bundesliga champions available at 13/10. The draw is 9/4.
Borussia Dortmund don’t have the European Cup or Champions League pedigree of Real Madrid but they have won the continent’s premier club competition, beating Juventus in Munich 16 years ago having beaten Manchester United in the semi-finals.
David Beckham may not have the legs to play 90 minutes at the top level anymore but he clearly still has the class to influence matches and you wouldn’t put it past the former England captain to produce a master-class for Paris St-Germain against Barcelona in the second leg of quarter-final in the Nou Camp.
You couldn’t say that Didier Drogba was solely responsible for Chelsea’s remarkable Champions League victory last season but the Ivorian was probably their inspiration. Scorer of a last-minute equaliser in the final and of the winning penalty in the shoot-out, he epitomised the never-say-die spirit of Roberto Di Matteo’s team 12 months ago.
Borussia Dortmund could be a terrific bet at 13/10 to gain a first-leg advantage over Malaga in La Rosaleda. The Borussians were hugely impressive in their qualifying group, winning four of their six games and drawing the other two.
Juventus were barely given a test by Celtic in the last 16 but are likely to find runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich an altogether different proposition in the first leg of their quarter-final in Germany.
21 goals and just two home wins have left qualification for the quarter finals of the Champions League hanging in the balance for several of the pre-tournament favourites.
The likes of Barcelona, Arsenal, Read Madrid and Valencia face an uphill task to qualify for the last eight, as we see next.
Sixteen teams remain in the Champions League and, in an unpredictable year for the competition, the familiar faces are joined by a number of unfancied sides. The likes of Malaga, Schalke and Celtic have made it to the knockout stages while last year’s winners, Chelsea, are already out.
Chelsea’s draw in the Nou Camp was implausible, unbelievable, inspirational and any other adjective you wish to attach. However, it came at a huge price in terms of their chances of going one better than in 2008 and lifting the Champions League trophy. If it wasn’t bad enough that the Blues have to go to Bavaria to play Bayern Munich in their own backyard, they must take to the field without captain John Terry, midfield terriers Raul Mereiles and Ramires and versatile defender Branislav Ivanovic.