and it is…
Borussia Dortmund! To be honest, I didn’t really care who we drew, because I remembered that on the way to La Séptima, we beat Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals. On the way to La Octava, we beat Bayern Munich in the semifinals (it was also Nicolas Anelka’s sole bright moment with Madrid). On the way to La Novena, we beat Barcelona in the semifinals (speaking of these three titles, I can’t believe Schalke is preparing a tribute match for Raúl and Real Madrid – his club of almost 20 years – has done NOTHING). And of course, because we have Cristiano Ronaldo.
I also loved Ruud’s sweet words for Málaga! And we get to see Nuri again…
The games will be played on April 24 at the Signal Iduna Park and on April 30 at the Bernabéu. (I nearly fell asleep waiting for UEFA to get to the draw. Talk about dragging things out, and with such unnecessary small talk and videos! Just get to the point already!)
Here are some statistics, data and facts on the semifinals for you to chew on, courtesy of Mr. Chip and accompanied by moments from the Galatasaray game and photos the boys have shared recently.
Two pairs from two countries: for the first time in the history of the European Cup, there are two pairs of teams from the same country in the semifinals. This had happened once before in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and three times in the UEFA Cup, though. Only in one out of these four occasions did the clubs from the same countries end up meeting in the semifinals. In the other three cases, the draw separated the clubs from the same countries.
(The twins posed for a photo before the game, and this was the result. However, the smiles disappeared by the end of the game, when AA got himself sent off for questioning the sanity of the referee.)
Champions: fate brought together the reigning champions of Spain and Germany (Real Madrid and Dortmund) and the two teams that have won/are set to win the league title this season (Barcelona and Bayern Munich).
Triple crowns: after PSG’s elimination, only two teams are still in the running (mathematically) to win the triple crown: Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Bayern’s will be the first in the history of German football, although the statistics show that there is only one per decade and Inter has already won this decade’s. Previous triple crowns: Celtic (1960s), Ajax (1970s), PSV (1980s), Manchester United (1990s), Barcelona (2000s), Inter (2010s).
(After the game, Cris was being quite adorable, and also found the time to pose with his Turkish double, who was overjoyed with the meeting. I love how affectionate Cris was with him too.)
The most semifinals: Real Madrid (24), Barcelona (15) and Bayern Munich (15) are the three teams who have played in the most semifinals of the European Cup. This will be Dortmund’s fourth participation.
(Hamit Altintop was a lucky man in the mixed zone, receiving Fábio and Cris’ shirts, getting a hug from Agustín Herrerín and a goodbye from José Callejón – I love that the “La Sepia Turca” nickname is still alive and well! Sepia (cuttlefish) is what footballers call a pass that is too strong or bad, and Hamit was nicknamed that after a bad pass.)
Madrid – 12 of 23: Madrid has progressed in 12 of the 23 semifinals it has played, but it comes in with three consecutive eliminations in this round – 2002-03 (Juventus), 2010-11 (Barcelona) and 2011-12 (Bayern Munich). Between 1968 and 1980, Madrid was eliminated four consecutive times in the semifinals.
Three Spanish teams in the semifinals: for the first time, two German teams have reached the semis. For Spanish teams, this is the eighth time that at least two teams have reached this round, including once when three teams made it – the 1999-2000 season, with Madrid, Barça and Valencia. Madrid beat Valencia in the final.
Six out of eight, champions: in six of the eight occasions mentioned above, one of the Spanish teams ended up winning the final.
(Iker, Kaká, Benz and Marcelo – the newest member of the Adidas club – were
Ninety games: Spanish and German clubs have played each other in 90 two-game elimination rounds in Europe. The Germans have qualified for the next round on 51 occasions (57 percent). If we focus on the European Cup, the advantage goes to the Spanish clubs: 17 qualifications in 27 match-ups (63 percent).
(This is Castilla being anti-social with each other, courtesy of Pedro Mosquera!)
And if you’re having a bad week, or want to feel good, read this story. That’s the real José Mourinho.