Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Semi-final of Dreams: Barcelona-Bayern Munich

The second semifinal of this season's Champions League will see two giants of world football face one another: FC Barcelona, with seven finals and four titles in the tournament, against Bayern Munich, finalist 10 times with five titles.
That said, their history of mutual confrontations is only quite recent. First time they faced each other was in the group stages in 1998, where Barcelona were eliminated in the group of death, and Bayern eventually made it to a memorable final against Manchester United.
In 2009 the sides faced one another in the quarterfinals, where an incredible Barcelona first defeated Bayern 4-0 on goals by Lionel Messi (2), Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry (and that attacking trio is as least as scary as the current trio), and then went on to play 1-1 in Munich. After this Barcelona defeated Chelsea and Manchester to become one of the most awesome champions of the European Champions League with a side that has already gone into history. A central man in that history was Barcelona's then-coach Pep Guardiola, who is now managing Bayern Munich, and the clash between Guardiola and the club he was born into is one of the most expected things of this match.
But Bayern Munich have also been part of Barcelona's history even before today's match: in 2013 Bayern Munich had built up a side that thoroughly dethroned the Spanish side in the semifinals of this tournament. In the first match Bayern Munich destroyed Barcelona 4-0 with goals by Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben, and they completed the humiliation winning 0-3 in Barcelona.
In many ways that semifinal signaled the end of an era and the start of a new one: for Barcelona they went away from their characteristic tiki-taka, but have found a new strength with their awesome attacking force and a solid defense around a Pique and Mascherano who complement one another well.
That era also showed an end of Spanish national team dominance, to be replaced by a Germany built around Bayern Munich, who went on to become World Champions in 2014. As Barcelona and Spain seek to reclaim their position, this semifinal clash will be another mighty battle in the epic football history of this decade!!!

Anyone who misses this match will not have the right to speak about football ever again!!!

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