The first leg of the semi-finals between Spain and Germany was as one-sided an affair as you could get. The two German clubs beat their Spanish counterparts by an aggregate score of 8-1. The games suggested a shift in the balance of European soccer power to Germany.
On Tuesday, Bayern München blanked heavy-favorite Barcelona 4-0 (and scoring machine, Lionel Messi). Spanish fans did not even have enough time to drink off that shocker before, on the following day, Borussia Dortmund destroyed Real Madrid 4-1.
While Dortmund had only narrowly escaped Malaga in the Quarterfinals by getting two goals in stoppage time, the Borussians made sure that was not the case against a team the caliber of Real Madrid and a player like Cristiano Ronaldo. Dortmund would enter halftime of today’s first semi-final leg tied at 1-1 with Robert Lewandowski and Ronaldo netting a goal apiece. Lewandowski then got on a scoring roll for the ages by netting hat-trick in the second half and blanking Real Madrid at the same time. Lewandowski’s four goals set noteworthy records. He is the only player to score a hat-trick in the European Championships semi-finals stage and he is the only player to ever score four goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions competition.
Lewandowski has been a hot topic of transfer talk over the past couple of months. He’d been rumored to be moving to England to join Wayne Rooney and Robert van Persie at Manchester United. The talk can really start now, because he’ll transferring from Dortmund to Bayern München. Yes, that Bayern München – the one that will take the Bündesliga title from BVB in a little less than a month from now and appears en route to being BVB’s opponent in the UEFA Championship finals.
These UEFA Championship games have shown Europe and the rest of the world where the power lies and it’s not in La Liga or the EPL. The Bündesliga is starting to represent itself as the head of the European class. European leagues represent the top inernational competition in the sport, and when the pundits proclaimed their collective expectation that La Liga would reign supreme in UEFA, it was almost as if the Bündesliga powers set out to shame them.
As it stands right now, Germanies’ leads over the Spaniards seem overwhelming. With the second leg of both semi-finals heading to Spain, the Spanish fans will be quick to turn on their clubs if they give up a road goal. No matter, it’s tough to imagine that both German teams won’t be playing each other in Wembley next month, with a winner-take-all game for Europe’s most prized trophy. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller have scored a combined 6 goals in the first leg of the semi-finals. Meanwhile the internationally-recognized two best players in the world – Ronaldo and Messi – have just one goal between them. It’s also the only goal the two teams have scored while in the Rhineland.
An interesting side-note (understatement): In addition to the Lewandowski transfer, Borussia Dortmund star midfielder Mario Götze was just sold to Bayern München for $48 Million. The transfer doesn’t go into effect until July 1st, but it could be quite interesting to see how Götze will interact with his new teammates with the UEFA Championship hanging in the balance. The two teams are now just 90+ minutes away from meeting in a match that’ll divide a nation into both yellow and red.