So it’s Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich and Liverpool vs. AS Roma in the Champions League draw for the semifinals on Friday. What immediately jump out are all the storylines and relationships between the two sets of semifinalists. But there’s more to this matchup than player links.
Sure, Bayern’s James Rodriguez is on loan from Real Madrid and Toni Kroos once plied his trade for the Bavarians. And yes, Salah transferred to Liverpool from Roma last summer.
While the dirty brainwashed masses were enraptured by the spectacle of Juventus-Real Madrid, the real soccer fans, the true connoisseurs, were focused on Sevilla-Bayern Munich.
For the sixth straight season, Bayern Munich is the Bundesliga champion, clinching the league crown with five matches to play after a 4-1 win over Augsburg on Saturday. But more than any other celebrations we’ve seen this year, the Bayern Munich title celebrations were endearing and heartfelt, despite this being nothing new for Die Roten.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is Pep Guardiola's kryptonite.
The charismatic German has beaten Guardiola more than any other manager — a total of seven victories for Klopp dating back to meetings between the two in the Bundesliga.
This is a remarkable achievement, especially if one considers how dominating Guardiola's teams (be it Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City) normally are.
Mario Melchiot knows more about football than you or I. He knows more about football than the both of us combined. A native of Amsterdam, Melchiot was a product of the legendary Ajax youth system, making his debut for the first team as a 20-year-old before transferring to Chelsea at just 22.
He played extensively in the Premier League for the Blues, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic, as well as amassing 22 international caps for the Netherlands over an eight-year international spell.
Bayern Munich took a massive step towards the Champions League semifinals with a 2-1 away first leg victory over Sevilla in the quarters. Pablo Sarabia opened the scoring for the hosts, but a Jesus Navas own goal and header from Thiago Alcantara put Bayern in the driver's seat ahead of the return leg in Munich.
The opening 35 minutes was close to perfection from Sevilla with regards to executing their game plan. Bayern controlled possession from the start, but the likes of Sergio Escudero, Joaquin Correa and Pablo Sarabia showcased the club’s devastating quality on the counter.