There may not be a Superclasico in Munich after all

April 19, 2012

A mouth-watering clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona in this season’s Champions League final in Munich appeared to be on the cards when the two Spanish giants were kept apart in the draw, but the prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi watching the showpiece on television instead of taking centre stage on May 19 now looks just as likely.

While Barcelona missed a hatful of chances in their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a pulsating first leg of their semi, Real were maybe fortunate to escape with only a 2-1 defeat at Bayern after they were undone by a stoppage-time winner from Mario Gomez.

Second-best for long spells with Ronaldo also subdued for much of the game, Real were lucky to be on level terms before Gomez struck to give Bayern a slender lead ahead of the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

One could argue the away goal still puts Real in the driving seat to reach the final, but the nine-time winners of Europe’s elite club competition face a stern test of their credentials against a fit, cultured and determined Bayern outfit who showed the ability to match them in every department.

Although Barcelona seemingly have more to do than Real after failing to score against Chelsea, the holders should in fact have a slightly easier task than their traditional rivals, whom they entertain in an eagerly awaited Spanish league clasico on Saturday.

The woodwork, a string of superb saves by Petr Cech and some poor finishing by Barcelona, along with the outstanding job  John Terry and Gary Cahill did to keep Messi at bay, secured a memorable night for Chelsea fans which they will cherish at least until the return leg.

It is hard to imagine that Chelsea could escape with another cagey and defensive performance as the length and width of the Nou Camp will give Barcelona’s quick and crafty outfit that much more room to operate and find gaps where last-gasp tackles denied them at Stamford Bridge.

But they will be in trouble if Chelsea score first as the Londoners will then have the tie by the scuff of the neck and even a team as resourceful as Barca might find it difficult to turn things around.

Should both Real and Barcelona fail to reach the final, thousands of their supporters will be left ruing their teams’ untimely dip in form, as will millions of neutral fans worldwide mesmerised by the thrills and skills they have been treated to by Messi and Ronaldo week after week.

Instead, the Bayern faithful could be flocking confidently to their own stadium and Terry’s tumultuous season could yet end in a spectacular reprieve for his astonishing miss in the penalty shootout in the 2008 final.

– – – –

Here is a view of the Chelsea game from Phil O’ Connor

The sports pages in London have trumpeted Chelsea’s tactical triumph over Barcelona in their semi-final first leg victory, but in truth that was the easy part – the difficult test comes next week at the Nou Camp.
Much is made of the Londoner’s defensive performance in this unexpected 1-0 victory, but in truth any team conceding 19 shots at goal cannot claim to have defended well.
With Barcelona having struck both the crossbar and the post, as well as wasting a hatful of other chances, Chelsea’s victory owed as much to dumb luck as dogged persistence.
Barcelona controlled the match from beginning to end, dominating possession and restricting Chelsea to a few speculative counter-attacks over the 90 minutes.
The major problem for the Catalans is that Chelsea used one of these sporadic counters to great effect, Didier Drogba scoring the only goal of the game in first-half stoppage time.
Italian coach Roberto Di Matteo will be delighted with the result, but perhaps the more satisfying thing is that his side did something few others have managed this season – they stopped Barcelona scoring.
With an away goal in their back pocket, few would have bet against the  European champions progressing but in keeping them scoreless, Chelsea have given themselves a fighting chance in the return leg next Tuesday.
If they score once at the  Nou Camp, Barcelona will need three goals to progress to the final – but given the amount of chances they created at Stamford Bridge, it might not be wise to bet against them doing so.
One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I’m not too worry about Barca, because Chelsea got lucky on a wasteful Barca night.

If Barca get 2-0 first half back at Camp Nou, then Chelsea will have to open up and then it’ll be a different story.

As for Madrid, clearly Munich is a worthy opponents, both their class and quality of players are quite evenly matched. C. Ronaldo on the other hand may have to watch the champions league at home.

No i’m not surprise if Munich beat Barca, remember Ribery and Robben is much classier than Drogba and Lampert.

Posted by Gerson008 | Report as abusive