The Champions League has reached the semi-final stage and the draw has pitted Bayern Munich against Barcelona & Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid. Here, I predict which two teams will be facing each other at Wembley in a bid to win Europe's top trophy.
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona
For the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions, to be the best you have to beat the best. While Munich have achieved domestic success already this season, the main aim for the club is to avenge their loss to Chelsea in last year's final. It won't be easy, particularly as the Bavarian side got the hardest draw possible against the team that has won the Champions League in two of the last four tournaments.
Barcelona looked vulnerable against Paris Saint-Germain in the last round before talisman Lionel Messi was introduced and as you would have expected, the Argentine forward was the catalyst in ensuring that the Catalan club were in the hat for the semi-final draw.
Bayern's best chance of progressing to the final is to exploit Barca's weak link, this being their defence. Gerard Pique and Adriano looked very shaky against PSG and will surely feel happy having conceded just one goal against the French side. However, the German side also have a weakness in their defence in Daniel Van Buyten, who may be overrun by the Spanish giant's attacking flair.
It is really a battle of the attackers. For Barcelona it is Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi who will look to torment Bayern's defence and on the contrary it is Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben who will look to play on the counter attack and create chances at Barca's expense.
Whichever team is victorious over the two legs will no doubt feel confident of lifting the trophy at Wembley. Bayern cruised to a 4-0 over Juventus in the quarter-final while Barcelona had to look towards Messi in order to progress on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw against PSG.
Both teams have the ability to go all the way however I feel that Messi & Co. will have too much for Bayern Munich.
Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid
The dark horses since the competition began, Borussia Dortmund have nothing to lose in their semi-final clash with Real Madrid. During the group stage at the end of last year, the German side defeated Los Blancos 2-1 and also drew with the Spanish giants 2-2 at the Bernabeu. If history is to repeat itself in the next three weeks, we could see BVB progressing with a chance of repeating the success they had in 1997 when the club lifted the famous trophy for the first time. Real manager Jose Mourinho will no doubt have recognised the danger that Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus pose and potentially can inflict on his side.
Real Madrid's key man Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in this year's competition. The prolific forward has scored 11 goals and his contribution has kept his side in contention to lift the trophy that has eluded the Spanish giants since 2002.
Both teams overcame difficulties in their quarter-final ties to reach the next stage. Real Madrid led 4-0 against Galatasaray before the Turkish side produced an unlikely scare by scoring three goals without reply, only for Ronaldo to seal the deal with a late goal and Los Blancos progressing with a 5-3 aggregate win.
Dortmund were also on the brink of a shock defeat to Malaga in the previous round, however two late goals from Reus and Felipe Santana sent the German side through with a 3-2 aggregate win.
This tie is too close to call. Dortmund have produced some magnificent displays in the Champions League this season, notably against Manchester City, Shaktar Donetsk and of course, Real Madrid. The Spanish side will have learned from the upset they suffered against Jurgen Klopp's men and given Mourinho's tactical nous, he will do everything in his power to ensure that his side reach the final in Wembley.
Despite the goalscoring talent that Ronaldo possesses, Real have looked sluggish in previous matches against Manchester United and Galatasaray. Should this happen again, I think that Dortmund will make the Spanish giants pay and book their place in the final.
The final: Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund
The Champions League final takes place on the 25th May 2013 at Wembley. But which two teams will be there? I've had my say, now it's time for yours! Leave a comment in the box below.
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