London prepare yourself, the Germans are coming.
The capital is set to be invaded by German football fans after Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich sunk their La Liga opponents to set up the first ever all German Champions League final at Wembley.
Despite a late Madrid surge Borussia Dortmund stood firm to secure their place at Wembley later this month. Madrid scored a late quick fire double courtesy of Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos but failed to find a decisive third as Klopp’s men held on.
Madrid were quick out the traps passing with purpose and carving the Dortmund defence open at will. Higuaín, Ronaldo and Ozil all could and should have opened the scoring in the opening 15 minutes as Madrid attempted to overcome a three goal deficit. Weidenfeller saved efforts from Higuaín and Ronaldo before Ozil squandered the game’s best chance failing to hit the target after breaking through the Dortmund back line. But the Germans weathered the storm and made it to the interval with their three goal lead still intact.
Within minutes of the second half starting Dortmund could have put the tie to rest. The prolific Lewandowski wasted two glorious chances in as many minutes. First he latched on to a Kevin Grosskreutz pass but failed to hit the target with a rushed effort and moments later he rattled the bar with a vicious strike after a cute through ball by the exciting Marko Reus.
Ilkay Gundogan then missed an absolute sitter. Reus found the midfielder five yards out but he failed to find the back of the net as López, somehow, scrambled across his line to keep the scores level.
With eight minutes remaining Madrid finally found a breakthrough. Ozil broke free down the right hand side, lashed the ball across the six yard box and substitute Karim Benzema was on hand to prod the ball home giving Madrid a glimmer of hope. Moments later the impossible looked possible as Madrid netted a second. Benzema turned provider, picking out Ramos at the back post and the defender expertly slotted the ball home to set up a tense finale. But in the end it was too little too late as the Germans held on to secure their place in the Champions League Final for the first time since 1997.
On Wednesday Bayern Munich looked to join their compatriots in making the final and did so in spectacular fashion. The Bundesliga champions crushed Barcelona for a second successive game, netting three goals at the Nou Camp.
After being demolished in Germany Barcelona knew they would need something close to a miracle to reach the Wembley final. And without Lionel Messi Barca were doomed.
From the off the Catalan club lacked creativity and in similar style to the first leg they were outfought, outthought, outwitted and quite simply outclassed by an efficient Bayern side.
Despite chasing the game Barcelona chances were few and far between. Xavi squandered the best chance of the half volleying over from six yards out. As always the home side dominated possession but to no great effect.
Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery operated the Bayern wings, causing havoc amongst the Barca back four with their blistering pace and lighting feet. And it was Robben who opened the scoring moments after the interval with a fine individual effort. Cutting in on his favourable left foot the winger lashed the ball into the corner of the net leaving Barca needing six goals in less than forty minutes, oh and Messi was not playing.
The Nou Camp was silent. But when Piqué guided the ball past his own goalkeeper to double Bayern’s lead there was an unusual sound around the ground. Hundreds of seats clattered shut as fans headed for the exits.
Four minutes later Bayern had a third, Ribery crossed from the left and Müller steered the ball home to inflict even more pain and embarrassment on the Catalan club. Tito Vilanova was left speechless, he had no answer to Bayern’s explosive counter attacks. They were well drilled, well organised and efficient with the ball. By the end of it Barcelona had chucked in the towel, it was a knockout.
For the past decade Barcelona have ruled club football. Setting the bar high with an elaborate style of play, attacking with great creativity and adventure, defending with great confidence and organisation. But the past week has illustrated exactly how far Barca have fallen. Offensively they lacked creativity, penetration and adventure. Defensively they made too many mistakes, lacked organisation and missed a dominant figure at the heart of their defence. They were bullied in the air and tormented on the deck. All in all Barcelona were outclassed and made to look ordinary but nothing should be taken away from a dominant Bayern display.
Bayern will go into the final as firm favourites having torn the Bundesliga apart this campaign. But do not write Dortmund off just yet, Klopp has unfinished business. Whatever happens at Wembley later this month it is set to be a classic and if it goes to penalties my advice is to back the Germans…