Apr 12, 2013, 7:26 AM EST
The prospect of an all-German or all-Spanish Champions League final is alive after today’s semi-final draw pitted Bayern Munich against Barcelona and Real Madrid with Borussia Dortmund.
The games will be played on April 23 and 24, with the return legs a week later.
“I think we will see two very good games, played at the highest possible level,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “Barcelona are the benchmark for me in Europe. They are the best team in Europe at the moment, with fantastic attacking potential.”
Real made it this far with a 5-3 aggregate win over Galatasaray, despite losing 3-2 in the second leg in Istanbul this week. Barcelona needed Lionel Messi’s inspiration off the bench against Paris Saint-Germain as Pedro scored a 71st-minute equalizer that tied the second leg at 1-1 in the Nou Camp, 3-3 on aggregate, and ultimately put the Spanish league leaders through to the last four on away goals.
Bayern had a much less stressful time against Juventus, winning 2-0 in each leg for a 4-0 aggregate triumph. Dortmund, though, staged an incredible comeback in injury time to oust Malaga, 3-2 on the night after a goalless first leg.
You’ll remember that Bayern – already crowned German league champions – lost on penalties to Chelsea in last year’s final in their own stadium. This year’s showpiece is at London’s Wembley Stadium on May 25.
The most recent Champions League final between clubs from the same nation was in 2007-08, when Manchester United topped Chelsea in a shoot-out in Moscow. Prior to that, A.C. Milan beat Juventus, also on penalties, in Manchester in 2002-03. There was an all-Spanish final in 1999-00, when Real Madrid crushed Valencia, 3-0 in Paris. That preceded a pair of Spain-Germany clashes in the next two years, as Bayern beat Valencia on penalties, then Real overcame Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in a match remembered for a stunning goal from Zinedine Zidane.
Underlining the strengths of La Liga and the Bundesliga, each of the past four Champions League finals has had a Spanish or German presence.
Meanwhile, in the Europa League, Chelsea meet Basel and Fenerbahce face off against Benfica. Those semi-finals are on April 25 and May 2.
Nov 28, 2014, 9:37 AM EST
Spain (4) and Germany (3) are the only nations with multiple members.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:35 AM EST
Manchester United’s legendary midfielder will stay in his assistant coach role for Ireland, spend more time with his family.
Nov 28, 2014, 7:58 AM EST
Vice Sports writer Kevin Koczwara has the story of Alston’s fight with chronic myelogenous leukemia.
New England Revolution, 90 minutes from MLS Cup, must simply avoid second-leg disaster vs. Red Bulls
Nov 27, 2014, 11:15 PM EST
It’s been a long time since the New England Revolution lost by mulitple goals, which the New York Red Bulls must achieve to reach MLS Cup 2014.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:26 PM EST
The big Europa League sides have begun to advance to the knockout round, with a few more very close to joining them.
Nov 27, 2014, 4:09 PM EST
Toffees seal spot in Europa League knockout rounds after terrific away day display.
Nov 27, 2014, 3:17 PM EST
Three FIFA ExCo members and German legend latest to be under the spotlight.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
Brazilian legend hospitalized for second time this month.
Nov 27, 2014, 1:15 PM EST
Whelan charged by FA over accusations of anti-Semitic, racist remarks.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Spanish giants drop Christian symbol as they link up with Abu Dhabi based bank.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:55 AM EST
Can Spurs and Everton make a top four charge? Will Saints stun Man City?
Nov 27, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
Watch the incident unfold, as Brazilian striker is behind bars.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:13 AM EST
Wilshere has surgery on left ankle, as young midfielder set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Nov 27, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Bradley opens up about his first season at Stabaek, his future in Europe and much more.
Nov 27, 2014, 7:28 AM EST
Klinsmann’s men drop further in FIFA’s latest rankings.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:15 PM EST
Is the FA getting too involved in non-events?
Nov 26, 2014, 10:30 PM EST
Wenger was in good spirits following his side’s victory that put an end to his two-match losing skid.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:50 PM EST
Yes, Barkley dove and yes, (news flash) Martinez is overly protective of his players.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:10 PM EST
Thigh injury sidelines Moses for 8 weeks.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:32 PM EST
“I feel that right now I am playing some of the best football of my career,” Fabregas said.
- Pick just three?!? FIFPro World XI midfielder shortlist is Juve-heavy, really good 0
- VIDEO: PST Extra examines huge top four showdowns in Premier League 0
- Huge blow for Arsenal as Jack Wilshere is out for three months 0
- Bob Bradley talks Stabaek, job offers, offseason plans and more 0
- USA drop five places in latest FIFA world rankings; England on the up 2
- Despite their struggles, Liverpool’s season intact as spirit shines through 4