Spain's Andres Iniesta celebrates his goal during the 2010 World Cup final soccer match against Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010. (Photo : REUTERS/Jerry Lampen)
Bundesliga 8, Spanish League 1. The Champions league semifinals changed from being a story about Messi and Ronaldo meeting in the final to one about which league is better. After Barcelona was dismantled 4-0 against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, few expected a similar result from Real Madrid in their match against Borussia Dortmund. However the result was worse. Dortmund has yet to lose a match in the Champions league, but the team has not been its dominant self of late. In fact, the team barely made it past Malaga in the quarterfinals. Throw in the X-factor of knowing the Mario Goetze was leaving the squad and Madrid should have capitalized in that game. In fact, 45 minutes in, it looked like the Spaniards had. However, Borussia responded with a dominant second half in which the Spanish side looked lost for answers.
Does this symbolize the end of Spanish empire in the soccer world? Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta disagrees.
"On this team in the last five years we have won two Champions League titles and advanced to three semifinals, we are on the verge of a fourth La Liga title in five years and adding that to the Supercopa and everything else, it has been a blessed era," Iniesta told the press Thursday. "If you analyze those five years against one match against Munich, that is good for nothing. To me, the end of an era means that years pass and you don't win any titles."
He added, "It's the evolution of football. We have to improve so we can keep fighting for titles in every competition."
However, Jose Samano, chief soccer writer for Spain's El Pais feel differently. "There is no antidote for this brilliant Bundesliga that is amazing the football world," he wrote. "Barcelona, the greatest of all teams of recent years, didn't have the answer on Tuesday, nor did Madrid last night, a giant that appeared to have arrived in peak form heading toward its 10th European Cup with an extraordinary galaxy of players and a coach with a better reputation than any other. Both were rolled over."
The semifinals resume next Tuesday. Real Madrid needs a 3-0 win to pass while Barcelona needs a 5-0 win to move on to the final; a 4-0 win would be enough to push the game to extra time.