Barcelona beat Paris Saint-Germain further. After taking a 3-1 lead in the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal, Spain’s leader returned to the Camp Nou and a posted 2-0 win over the reigning French champion. Ho-hum, boring as can be.
Bayern Munich lost its first leg, 3-1 in Portugal, but then crushed Porto at home, 6-1, in second leg beat down that it wasn’t competitive after a half-hour. It was as undramatic as it was impressive.
All in all, Tuesday’s Champions League action was a bust. No close finishes. No real question as to the outcomes. No chance of upsets. This is the Champions League knockout stages, what’s it’s supposed to be the height of competition, yet you’re more likely to find competitive soccer playing FIFA.
So it sucked? Well, kind of.
Yes, Tuesday was not fun. Unless you are a Barcelona or Bayern Munich fan, you didn’t get what you wanted. But the day was great for one thing – it kept the dream alive. The world’s two best teams play may yet meet in this year’s Champions League final.
Barcelona is the best team in the world right now. If you say otherwise, you’re wrong, but you’re slightly less wrong if you argue for Bayern Munich. The two teams are so much better than anyone else right now, it’d be a minor tragedy if they met before the final. They are magnificent, and fun, and between style, talent, execution and excellence, they’re everything we could want from two great teams.
Want Lionel Messi? Got him. And Neymar. And Luis Suárez. Barcelona’s attack is pretty much unassailable, unless you have Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski. That leaves Mario Götze on the bench, which is just insane.
That is the type of matchup we want to see in the Champions League final. We want to see 75,000 fans at the Olympiastadion in Berlin creating a cement and metal-enhanced cacophony as Messi sets up Neymar to test Manuel Neuer. And we want to see Sergio Busquets try to stop Bastian Schweinsteiger before he can feed Robben. And we want to see Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique struggle to be heard in a deafening building as the match of unparalleled quality goes on at a breakneck pace in front of them.
Absent that, yes, it would not be terrible to see the two teams square off over 180 minutes in the semifinals. That wouldn’t be a final, but it would give us more of this dream match-up. We’d also get to see both sets sound off in two of the world’s most fervent soccer cities.
Ultimately, we just want Barcelona versus Bayern Munich. Tuesday may not have been fun, but it kept that dream match-up alive. And for that alone, Tuesday was a win.