This year’s UEFA Super Cup will throw up a massive battle. The game is pencilled in for Friday, August 30th and it will be played at the Eden Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Stepping out to duel for the title, which was formerly the European Super Cup, will be UEFA Champions League winners Bayern Munich and UEFA Europa League winners Chelsea. It is a mouth watering clash between two of Europe’s heavyweights and for the first time in the last four year’s there won’t be a Spanish name on the title. Barcelona and Altetico Madrid had spilt the last four editions between them at two each.
It was Altetico Madrid who destroyed Chelsea in last season’s UEFA Super Cup, then with Chelsea as Champions League winners, and the Spaniards holding the UEFA Europa League title. A tremendous performance from Atletico’s Radamel Falcao saw the English Premier League club get shot down 4-1 on the night at the Stade Louis II, where the Super Cup had been held for the previous fifteen years. It is a match which will now go its travels, with the 2014 edition at the Cardiff City Stadium, and the 2015 showing at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium.
Former Barcelona man Pep Guardiola is now at the helm of the German powerhouse side, and they are trading as favourites to win the 2013 UEFA Super Cup. Interestingly though, history is not particularly on their side here, as they have been to the UEFA Super Cup three times before, in 1975, 1976 and most recently in 2001 and they lost all three of those appearances. That is in contrast to Chelsea who have won one and lost one of their two appearances. But with the power that Bayern Munich displayed last season on all fronts, producing a stunning style of play, an immense defence and immense prowess in front of goal, they are favourites.
Chelsea were in this position last season, as mentioned, when they went up against Atletico Madrid. The Spaniards didn’t give the Blues a chance in the game. But there is of course this time around, the Jose Mourinho factor who is back in charge at Stamford Bridge again. The Blues haven’t been splashing big cash around during the summer, as many had expected them to do. They did draft in a big German name though in the form of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen, and were actively trying to lure Wayne Rooney away from Premier League rivals Manchester United.
This match up will bring back memories of the last time the two clubs met, which was in the final of the 2011/12 Champions League. With a 1-1 draw on the night in Munich, Chelsea were totally outplayed by the German side, yet it was the English side who prevailed in a dramatic penalty shoot out after having their backs to the wall. The previous meetings between the two sides before that came in the 2004/05 Champions League, with both sides winning their respective home matches. Over the summer, Bayern Munich were trading at 5/6, favourites, with Chelsea out at 15/4 in 2013 UEFA Super Cup betting odds.
It is an all German final for this season’s Champions League as 2012/13 Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich take on their closest rivals for dominance in Germany, Borussia Dortmund. This will be the fourth time that the Champions League final has been contested by clubs from the same country. May 25th will see the two Bundesliga clubs go head to head at Wembley Stadium in London in the Champions League final. Who will prevail?
Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title ahead of the 2011/12 champions Dortmund, taking the title with a good six games to spare on the domestic season. It was the power of Jupp Heynckes’ side against Barcelona in the semifinals that perhaps make them favourites for the final. Last year they were beaten on penalties in their own back yard by Chelsea, but now in their third Champions league final in the last four seasons, will it be third time lucky? Their performances against the mighty Catalans in the semi final would certainly suggest that they are the ones to beat.
After a devastating display of power and pace in the first leg in Munich, Bayern took a 4-0 lead back to the Nou Camp. Would there be a Barcelona come back? Lionel Messi sat on the sidelines, not fully fit and Bayern tore apart the La Liga giants again, winning three nil. It was another highly impressive performance from them, showing no signs of fear or crumbling against one of Europe’s best. The win may just have ended Barcelona’s era of dominance in Europe and Munich posted their fourth clean sheet in a row in the knockout stages.
The Bavarians, brilliant in all facets of the game, followed up Dortmund’s semi final win over their Spanish semi final opponents. There was nerves for Dortmund’s progress as they defended a 4-1 lead back at the Bernabeu, fired to ascendancy by a four goal haul from Robert Lewandowski. After containing Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid for long periods, two late goals from the Merengues set up a tense finish, but Dortmund managed to hang on. Again, like Bayern, there was no sign of fear from the German side in their approach to the game. The win puts them back in the final for the first time since winning the trophy in 1997.
For the first time since 2001, when Bayern Munich last won the Champions League, there will be a guaranteed winner from Germany this season. It is Bayern who will start as favourites, but after their respective semi final displays, it should be one of the most highly anticipated Champions League finals ever. It should be an interesting scenario for Dortmund midfielder Mario Goetze in particular, who joins the ranks of Bayern Munich next season.
The first leg of Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, should see the home side to take every advantage that they can away from the home fixture. The first leg will be played in Dortmund on April 24th, with the return on April 30th. Just as in the other semi final, this is a duel between Germany and Spain, and long have the German sides waited to step out of the shadow of Spanish giants. So can Dortmund make an impression against Real Madrid, the outright favourites in the Champions League betting?
While Jose Mourinho’s men were pushed hard by Manchester United in the round of sixteen, they are the only ones of the final four in this season’s competition, to have progressed without any real big scare. The Merengues have taken over favoritism to win the Champions League from Barcelona, given the semi final draw. Real Madrid are this season’s top scoring side in the competition and they took an easy path to the semi finals after being paired up with Turkish side Galatasaray in the quarter finals. Real Madrid had their problems with personnel and alleged dressing room turmoil, which saw them lose early ground in their La Liga title defence. They looked a little bit shaky in the early stages of the Champions League too, but in squeezing past Manchester United, they seemed to turn a corner and haven’t looked back. They have Jose Mourinho guiding them of course, who will be contesting a record-equalling seventh semi final as a coach. So far he has only won two out his previous six appearances, but the two semi finals that he did win, he went on to lift the crown (with FC Porto and Inter Milan). Cristiano Ronaldo is the key to them going forward and an away goal in Dortmund would set them up well for the return leg.
But the outgoing Bundesliga champions have reasons to be confident in this one. They went up against Real Madrid twice in this season’s group stage of the Champions League and weren’t overwhelmed at all. Indeed, Dortmund took a 2-1 win on home soil and they looked lined up to win by the same scoreline in Madrid as well, until Real equalised late on. So they have already flexed their muscles and shown what they are made of. Because of Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga title so early, Dortmund can at least focus with full intent on these two matches. It needed every ounce of last minute resilience to see Dortmund get through to the semi finals though. They looked down and out in the second leg of their quarter final tie against Spanish side Malaga until two injury time goals from the Germans stunned the entire crowd. Borussia Dortmund remain unbeaten in the Champions League this season and have strengths through the middle of the park to really push Real Madrid, as was shown in the group stage. But the Germans are underdogs because it is a daunting task for them against the favorites. It may be a role that they will relish though.
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid head to head
06/11/2012, group stage: Madrid 2-2 Dortmund
24/10/2012, group stage: Dortmund 2-1 Madrid
25/02/2003, second group stage: Dortmund 1-1 Madrid
19/02/2003, second group stage: Madrid 2-1 Dortmund
15/04/1998, semi-finals: Dortmund 0-0 Madrid
01/04/1998, semi-finals: Madrid 2-0 Dortmund
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