On Tuesday Real Madrid destroyed Bayern Munich 4-0 in their own backyard, followed 24 hours later by Atletico Madrid who outclassed Chelsea, to set up a sizzling all-Spanish affair in Portugal. As a result, La Liga has been propelled to the top of the European pedestal, and the fact that both teams are from the same city only adds to the frenzied excitement already building around May’s showpiece Final. Twelve months ago the talk surround the supremacy of German football and how the Bundesliga was set to dominate for years to come. Well, step aside German football, Spain has never been too far behind and it would appear it is La Liga who currently sits aloft the European football perch.
Here’s some musings from the Semi Finals.
The wait for a successful title defence goes on
Bayern Munich’s dramatic and humiliating collapse at the hands of Real Madrid ended the Bundesliga side’s hopes of becoming the first team to successfully defend the Champions League since its inauguration in 1992/1993. Pep Guardiola’s men were ruthlessly ripped apart in the second-leg at home to Los Blancos, despite being favourites according to the online oddsmakers at Sports Betting Dime, in a strikingly similar fashion to the way they tore through Barcelona at this stage last season. However, they are sure to bounce back in 2015 and expect them to be gunning for revenge should they clash with Real in the latter stages but has the tide turned and is Guardiola then great coach everyone thinks he is?
More agony for John Terry
A distraught John Terry was once again reduced to tears of devastation after he endured yet another heartbreaking night in Europe. The exit at the hands of Atletico extended the Chelsea skipper’s semi-final falterings to five, while the defender will need no reminding of his mortifying penalty miss in his one and only appearance in the Final of the competition back in 2008.
The Blues did of course go on to memorably win the Champions League four years later in 2012, however Terry was forced to watch from the sidelines after stupidly getting sent off in the semi-final second-leg against Barcelona. A year later, the former England international was once again absent from his side’s participation in a European Final, that of the Europa League – but this time it was a persistent ankle injury which prevented him from playing in the 2-1 win over Benfica.
At the age of 33 and despite a decorated domestic career, time is ticking away for Terry’s search for European glory…
All Spanish Final
For the first time in the history of the famous competition, two teams from the same city will lock horns in the Final. On May 24th, the second successive final involving teams from the same country will take place at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz with La Liga with Spain in the spotlight this time around as Atletico take on Real Madrid.
In terms of accolades, Real are streaks ahead of their rivals having amassed a record of nine European Cups, although their last success seems like an eternity ago (2002) for a club seemingly synonymous with the competition. Meanwhile, Atletico have actually never won the prestigious trophy, instead settling for a solitary runners-up spot way back in 1974.
Real head into the eagerly anticipated encounter as favourites to lift ‘La Décima’ once again and will in turn take their already sizeable tally into double figures. However, opponents Atletico, who have enjoyed a sensational season and are on the verge of winning their first league title for 18 years and simply cannot be underestimated and there is just something that perhaps suggests that it may well be Diego Simeone’s year.