Perhaps it is because I live in South America, where almost all European football talk is limited to Barcelona and Real Madrid. Granted, they are amazing sides, but I have been kind of getting tired of all the hype for a while, and was really hoping we would not get another Real Madrid-Barcelona final. We had many of them last year, and now there has gone a bit of inflation into their matches.
After last night's elimination of FC Barcelona, hopes were nevertheless set high by Real Madrid and its fans, that they finally might take the crown as the world's best team from their archrivals.
But they had to get past Bayern Munich, a side that in spite not having the German title in sight any longer, has been strongly focusing its attention on the Champions League, where the final is set to be played at home, in Munich. This seems to have escaped the attention of many overly-focused to-2-Spanish-league-enthusiasts.
Granted Chelsea had a lot of fortune in its defensive victory over Barcelona, but Bayern Munich was clearly fully up to facing Real Madrid. Today's match was splendid, perhaps the best match of this season's Champions League. Real Madrid seemed to have it all in their hands, just like Barcelona against Chelsea, and like Barcelona, they were not unable to keep the lead. Bayern Munich was still dangerous, and when the game went into extra time, both teams seemed very careful. I understood this more about Bayern Munich, but it surprised me more of Real Madrid. Perhaps it shows that Mr. Mourinho did have careful respect for the German side, him being a far superior footballing brain than most of us.
In the end, the penalties may be a lottery, but if you are smart, you increase your chances. Real Madrid seemed to be solely relying on Iker Casillas' brilliance, while I think Manuel Neuer (who is also a very strong goalkeeper!), had more carefully studied the Real Madrid players, and played more on the psyche of the shooters. The pathetic miss by Sergio Ramos was a case in point, where Neuer could be seen as approaching Mr. Ramos before his shot.
I am happy we will see an English-German final of the greatest European football tournament, and I think it will be a great match. I would put my money on Munich though.
And I wish I could be there to see it...