Over two days in the Champions League Semi-Finals the balance of power has well and truly shifted from Spain to Germany; whether this shift will be permanent is yet undetermined but for this week at least all the talk is the youthful German giants of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
For years now the focus on European football has been on Real Madrid and Barcelona but this week has proved that perhaps their time is done and it is the Germans who will now become the dominant force in Europe.
On Tuesday night the football world was stunned as Barcelona, Messi and all, were dominated by Bayern Munich and went down 4-0 at the Allianz Arena in a match were despite having the bulk of possession they only managed to muster one real chance on goal. The Germans, who have already sealed the German title, now have one foot in the final and it seems unlikely that even a side with the quality of Barcelona can overcome a four goal deficit.
Things got worse for Spain on Wednesday night as Borussia Dortmund hosted Real Madrid. Pre-match all the pundits were adamant that Dortmund would win the match but not the tie. But just like Bayern they shocked the pundits and overwhelmed a stellar Madrid cast, in what turned out to be the Robert Lewandowski show. Four goals from the Polish striker, who is wanted by clubs across Europe, put Madrid in their place and gave Dortmund a massive advantage going into the second leg. An away goal from Cristiano Ronaldo gives Madrid some hope but in the first leg the Germans have well and truly made a statement.
It is going to take something remarkable for the Spanish sides to pull off the El Clasico final that everyone was hoping it would be. However the prospect of an all German final between Munich and Dortmund could be equally as enthralling; especially now that Dortmund’s young wonder midfielder Mario Gotze has confirmed he will move to Munich at the end of the season and with the added rumours that Lewandowski could join him Dortmund may feel that beating their German rivals will give their super striker the incentive to stay.
It’s obvious that more evidence is needed before we can state outright that the power of European football has shifted but based on what happened in the Champions League it is clear that the Germans are becoming a much bigger presence than they have been given credit for.
As for the Champions League, my tip to win it goes to Dortmund, I think this is their year.