Friday, April 12, 2013

Barca avoid Real in draw

WEMBLEY could host an El Clasico final in the Champions League after Barcelona and Real Madrid were kept apart in today’s draw for the semi-finals.

Barca face Bayern Munich on 23 April and May 1 while Real meet Borussia Dortmund April 24 and 30.
And Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admits he is relishing a tough test.
He said: "Barcelona are the benchmark for me in Europe. They have won the Champions League more than any other team in the recent years.
"They are the best team in Europe at the moment with fantastic attacking potential.
"We played them in 2009 and received a real thumping. I remember that game well and I don't really like to think about it, because it was quite painful to watch.
"However, it's a wonderful opportunity to show that we have improved a lot since then."
Rummenigge also denied that playing the opening match at home is a disadvantage.
He added: "I think we will see two very good games played at the highest possible level.
"Furthermore, I think playing at home first is a slight advantage, contrary to the popular belief that it's a disadvantage.
"We saw that against Juventus, where people said that it might be a disadvantage.
"But we produced a great performance at home and that set the stage for the return leg and our progression into the semi-finals.
"I'm really excited that we will get to play the best team in Europe. I still feel Barcelona are the big favourites to win the Champions League."
Meanwhile, Dortmund general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke was pleased to have drawn a Spanish opponent and avoid an all-Bundesliga tie.
He said: "We are happy with this draw - not because we think it's an easy one, but because the Champions League is an international competition and we wanted an international game rather than a national tie against Bayern.
"I don't think Madrid will be afraid because of what happened in the group stage.
"They will respect us, just like we will respect them."
Real manager Jose Mourinho has guided the Spanish side to their third successive semi-final.
He aso matched Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson's record of seven appearances in the last four of the European Cup.
The Portuguese has also reached this stage with Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea.
Former Real striker and club ambassador Emilio Butragueno said: "It's a pleasure and honour for us to be here.
"We have a lot of respect for Borussia Dortmund. We played them twice in the group stage but didn't manage to beat them.
"This time we hope it will different as we want to be in the final, that's what we are all dreaming of."

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