The Greatest Champions League Semifinals (Part IV)


Posted: May 6, 2015

Updated: May 6, 2015

Football history was written in the semis on many occasions with unforgettable hammering of the best sides ever.

After the years dominated by AC Milan have passed, FC Barcelona emerged as the leading force in European football and they remained to be until Bayern Munich took their football one step further. The Bavarians blew Barcelona to smithereens in 2013 and conquered Europe. However, as any other side, they weren’t able to retain the Champions League title either, since Real Madrid came and dispatched them in their own stadium. So, before Barca will take on Bayern once again, let’s see the greatest Champions League matches of the 2010s!

Barcelona v Internazionale, 2010

Motta Busquets

The mastermind behind Barcelona’s footballing revolution, Josep Guardiola against Barca’s fallen angel, Jose Mourinho. This fixture became an instant classic, an important part of football history. Barcelona was regarded as a virtually invincible side, and many of who bet on sports in the EU expected that they will be the first team to retain the title in the Champions League era. That just did not happen though.

• Mourinho parked the bus
• When Barca were destroyed
• Bayern’s heaviest defeat

Mourinho, who drains his teams’ power from the negative side of football, claiming that a side out of possession is stronger than a team having the ball, is the best person available to sketch an effective plan against Barcelona’s tiki-taka. He won the first leg in Milan 3-1with some help from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which erupted preventing Barca from flying to Italy. The Blaugrana arrived after a long and exhausting journey and they duly suffered a defeat at San Siro. The Italian outfit only had to avoid conceding two goals in the reverse leg, but this seemed to be a hard task in the Camp Nou.

Especially after Thiago Motta was sent off in the first half for a foul on Sergio Busquets that might never happened, though the Spanish midfielder’s performance misled Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere. Mourinho didn’t lose his thing however, he ordered his remaining men to defend their goal and Inter absorbed the seemingly unbearable pressure. Barcelona scored a late goal and another one that was falsely called off by the referee. A heroic performance from Inter sent them to the final eventually, where they defeated Louis van Gaal’s Bayern Munich to secure their third European Cup in club history.

Bayern Munich v Barcelona, 2013


After Guardiola left Barca in 2012, they continued to dominate in Spain with the late Tito Vilanova, however they somehow appeared to lose their footing in Europe. Or simply Bayern made them to slip, who played in a similar way to them under former Real Madrid manager Jupp Heynckes, but added some speed and muscle into the mixture, and that made them not just good to watch but unbeatable also.

It was virtually inconceivable that with time a team will come who put four past Victor Valdes easily in a Champions League semifinal. But a confident and physical Bayern outplayed and thrashed them in the Allianz Arena winning 4-0 after a 1-0 half time scoreline. It was terrific, it was Barca’s space football played at a multiplied speed and the Barca-boys looked like toddlers.

Bayern shocked the mobile betting audience with that performance and in the second leg they did the same by adding three more and owning Barcelona completely in front of Camp Nou’s crowd. Bayern scored seven in 180 minutes of football against Barcelona, and after they also defeated Borussia Dortmund in the final, they finished their year with a treble.

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid, 2014


After that remarkable season Jupp Heynckes retired and Guardiola took his job. He won the Champions League in his first ever season as a manager, so online sportsbooks in the EU expected that the moment finally came when a team will be able to retain the Champions League trophy. It was logical after all, as Guardiola paired up with a team that was even more tremendous than Barcelona at their peak.

But they ran into a side that was built and equipped to destroy the kind of football they play, as Jose Mourinho put Real Madrid together with the purpose of breaking Barcelona’s hegemony. Thus Carlo Ancelotti, the calm and smart tactician who followed Mourinho at Real, had a complete inventory to soak up the extreme pressure and causing significant damage on the break.

In fact Real Madrid became the best counterattacking team in the world and they demonstrated this in the Allianz Arena where they arrived with a one goal advantage from the first leg of the semifinal. Bayern were in possession, they were seeking for the opportunity to strike but they were hurt after set pieces by defender Sergio Ramos who scored twice in a four-minute long period. Ronaldo added his record breaking 15th of the campaign before half time and it was done – his second, just before the final whistle was blown, that completed Bayern’s heaviest home defeat in Europe, was the cherry on the cake.

Many teams tried to retain the Champions League title throughout the years but all of them have failed. Most of them, including the best sides punters betting online have ever seen in this competition, were eliminated before the final. That’s the way it is, since – as we outlined with our pieces – football history is usually written in the semis.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments