The prospect of an all-German or an all-Spanish European Champions League final next month remains alive after yesterday’s semi-final draw.
But with the Spanish and German teams kept apart when European football’s governing body UEFA made the draw for the last four, the Wembley showpiece could just as easily feature yet another Germany-Spain clash.
Last year’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich, who have already secured the Bundesliga title, take on Spanish league leaders Barcelona.
In the other match, Borussia Dortmund will play Real Madrid, as representatives of Europe’s current dominant footballing powers go head-to-head. Remarkably, the four semi-finalists can boast a total of 18 European titles between them.
Real lead the way with nine victories, although their last success dates back to 2002. Their arch-rivals Barcelona and Bayern both have four and Borussia weigh in with their single victory in 1997 when they upset favourites Juventus 3-1 in the final.
Neutral fans were probably hoping for a Bayern vs Barcelona final, promising a feast of football between arguably the continent’s two top teams of the moment.
The semi-final is given added piquancy in that former Barca coach Pep Guardiola is to take over the helm at Munich’s Allianz Arena next year. But Jupp Heynckes, the man he is to replace, will have reason enough of his own for wanting to reach the final — and not simply in order to bow out on a winning note in London.
Mark This Dates...
. April 23 and May 1: Bayern Munich vs Barcelona
. April 24 and April 30: Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid
. May 25: Champions League Final