This is our last dance; this is ourselves, under pressure

by Anmol Ali

Champions League BallThe long-awaited hour finally kicked in when the Champions League semi final draws were announced in Nyon – Bayern Munich vs Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid.

I shook my head as I thought of all the headlines, status, arguments and conversations I’d have to listen to if El Clasico happens for the 12th million time. Ah yes sure El Clasico is great, when I’m in the mood for wasting 90 minutes of my life watching the boring tikka taka. If it were like an Arctic Monkeys lyric, “rarer than a can of dandelion and burdock”, I wouldn’t mind watching it but when it takes place 60 times a season you get sick of it and in turn the beauty of it slowly fades away(not that it had any to begin with).

Right after that the love for the underdogs kicked in, I realised what if the odds are with me this time, and we won’t have to sit through another Clasico? What if Bayern beat Barcelona and end their era? What if I won’t have to see the yellow and blue colors that remind me of a bad sandwich loaded with mustard lift the great trophy?

What happens next month at Wembley is not just another Champions League final; much more is at stake here.

If Bayern beat Barcelona and go through to the final, they have a strong chance of meeting Real Madrid, who will be looking to get rid of their German curse. If they meet Borussia Dortmund, it would be just like the Bundesliga all over again for them, which they gracefully claimed recently.

After Pep Guardiola left Barcelona, the team has changed and do not seem too scary or intimidating for other teams anymore. They were beaten by an average set of Milan players at the San Siro and later Paris St Germain came close to ending their winning run. PSG stripped Barcelona’s weak points and put them on display for the world to see.

The way the Germans play is probably the most aggressive and toughest in the game. When Madrid played Dortmund last season in the Champions League, they were humiliated and knocked out. Bayern, who reached the final last season and finished as runners-up in 2010, have only become stronger and better in time. The Bavarians have several qualities that match, and even out run, Barcelona’s. Their youth is one of the key points. The Bundesliga is much more competitive than La Liga, in turn earning the Germans much more experience.

The Germans are known for their love for vendetta. Just four years ago, they were beaten 5-1 on agg by Barcelona and they will be willing to turn that around.

All the pressure is on Bayern now who have everything to lose here. If they win, the glory that they are hunting will be theirs for years to come, especially with Pep will be taking charge of the Bundesliga side. If they lose to Barcelona they will not only lose their pride and glory, but also all the work they put in to beat a perfect Juventus side and all the other opponents they faced in the Champions League this season.

I will have to shut myself from the world for a week or two until the bandwagon passes away.

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