Congratulations to all eight teams who made the Champions League quarterfinals. It is quite a big accomplishment, and if the prestige alone doesn’t make you happy, then the big piles of cash certainly will. But let’s be honest: Six of you are irrelevant.
Paris Saint-Germain, your win over Chelsea was amazing. And Juventus has Paul Pogba. If we don’t root for Atlético Madrid then Diego Simeone will kill us. Real Madrid going for a second straight title is cool, plus Monaco and Porto are fun underdogs. But they all can go away now.
There are two teams that matter: Bayern Munich and Barcelona. And it is our duty, as good, soccer-loving people, to rig the draw so that they can meet in the final.
Barcelona is the best team in the world right now. That is, unless it’s Bayern Munich. But one thing we know for sure is that the University of Santa Cruz Banana Slugs are as sensible a pick to be the best team in the world as any other club besides Barça and Bayern. That duo are that much better than the rest, and to claim otherwise is silly.
Those two teams also happen to have the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry. Thomas Müller, Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze and oh god, this is getting ridiculous.
But more than anything, those two teams are fun. Who doesn’t want to watch Messi, Neymar and Suarez run in circles up top, popping up all over the field? Maybe the people who want to see Müller repeatedly find himself in a just enough space for Robben or Gotze to play a perfect ball onto his feet. Of course, Barcelona has Iniesta working his magic and dribbling himself away from three would-be defenders. Then again, Bayern has the Bastian Schweinsteiger bulldozer. We can’t even figure out which team is the most insanely cool.
These teams are not without their flaws, though. And that is exactly what we want. We want to watch Gereard Piqué flail around in space, or Dani Alves get way too far forward and jog back. We want to see what happens when Bayern leave the middle of the pitch wide open for a counterattack and Holger Badstuber has to decide which of the three attackers he should step to.
If Bayern Munich and Barcelona met, it would be a brilliant display, but one in which both teams are only a moment away from disaster. And as good as great soccer is, it’s equally as important that there be the potential for stupidity, just to keep things absurd.
Toss in Pep Guardiola, and the match-up is perfect. Is Bayern Munich better with Pep? Or is Barcelona better since he left? What similarities are left between the two teams, and can the players Guardiola developed kill him? Will Luis Enrique out-dress Pep, whose style has been on a downward spiral ever since leaving the Camp Nou?
Bayern Munich versus Barcelona is perfect. From the star power, to the style, to Pep, there isn’t a better match-up in the world. And it needs to happen in the final.
Sure, if they meet in the quarterfinals or semifinals, we get 180 minutes of instead of the 90-minute one-off, but there won’t be a shiny trophy on the sideline. The Champions League is the best club competition on Earth, and the final needs to be played between the two best teams.
That is Bayern and Barça. That is the final we need. And we need it badly. It’s all that matters in world soccer, and you’re damn right it’s worth rigging the draw for.