Well, well, well – who saw that coming? Okay, here at bwin we tipped up wins for both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund last week (not that we’re going to go on about it much, honest) but even we didn’t see Barcelona and Real Madrid being destroyed in such emphatic manner, and it has left the prospect of an all-German Champions League final at Wembley next month more certainty than possibility.
How the German nation would love rubbing their superiority in our face come May 25th, and that is a prospect that English football might have to suck up and deal with as graciously as possible because there is no denying that their top teams are considerably better than our top teams.
But if there appears no way back for Barcelona after being thumped 4-0, I don’t think the same can be said for their La Liga counterparts and I have a sneaky suspicion that Real Madrid’s tie with Borussia Dortmund isn’t quite over just yet.
Of course, Dortmund have at least one foot in the final after a superb performance at the Westfalenstadion last week and a 4-1 victory, during which Robert Lewandowski scored all of Borussia’s goals, was beyond the wildest dreams of the 65,000 who crammed into the ground to create an atmosphere that reminded you why you watch football in the first place.
What a great sight it was to see the players bask in the adulation of the fans and then actually seem to genuinely reciprocate the feeling, and if there is anybody that thinks Dortmund’s current rise is anything but great for football, they need to go and follow another sport.
But if the result was better than Jurgen Klopp could ever have imagined, raising the German’s stock even higher, he will know as much as anybody that work needs to be done in the Bernabeu if their place in the final is to be confirmed.
Because despite their poor display last week, Cristiano Ronaldo’s away goal has given Madrid a glimmer of hope and with such a phenomenal home record both domestically and abroad over recent years, I firmly believe that Jose Mourinho’s men can make it an interesting night on Tuesday.
Dortmund have won two and drawn one of the three meetings between the sides this season, so the 7/2 on the draw and 31/10 on an away win will understandably attract some punters, and for that I can’t blame them.
But what I am going to do is get some value on the far-too-short 13/20 about a home victory after 90 minutes, and the way to do that is take the 21/20 on a Madrid win and over 2.5 goals in the game – as so often happens when the Spaniards play at home.
For all of Madrid’s various problems this season, their form at the Bernabeu has not been one of them.
They beat Barcelona in the home leg of their Super Cup tie in August. Their La Liga record reads 14 wins and two draws from 16 matches. In the Copa del Rey, Madrid have won three and drawn one (with Barca) of their four ties.
And in the Champions League, Los Blancos have won three of their five games, drawing the other two (with Dortmund and Manchester United), making it 21 wins and no defeats from 26 games at the Bernabeu.
It is a formidable record, as it has been since Mourinho’s arrival. Since the summer of 2010, Madrid have played 88 home games under the former Chelsea boss and have won 74, drawing nine and losing just five – three of those to Barcelona.
Seventeen of these games have been in the Champions League, 13 of which have been won, with their last 11 wins in the tournament all seeing at least three goals scored.
It has been the same story this season. Of Madrid’s 21 home wins in all competitions, 18 have produced over 2.5 goals and with so much firepower in their side (step forward Ronaldo, who has 12 goals in the Champions League this term) they can definitely score at least a couple of goals at the Bernabeu.
And it’s not like Dortmund are watertight at the back: Klopp’s side have kept just two clean sheets in their last 18 away trips, so it is unfeasible that Madrid will not score.
That the Germans have failed to score just twice in 24 games on the road means it is likely they too will find the net, which means that if Madrid are to win, it stands to reason there will have to be three or more goals.
Which is lucky, as Madrid have hit three or more goals in 16 of their home games this season.
Of course, a Madrid win and over 2.5 goals still may not be enough to avoid elimination – a 2-1 victory, for example, is not enough, while if Dortmund score twice, even a team with Real’s attacking prowess is going to struggle to score six.
But I don’t reckon this one isn’t over just yet, and neither will Mourinho and company.
And for all of Dortmund’s undoubted talent, with such a record, I find it impossible to back against Real on their own patch and the 21/20 they win a match that sees over 2.5 goals is the way to go.