Much is being written around the world this week about the shift of power in Europe from Spain to Germany after Bayern Munich thumped Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate and Borussia Dortmund knocked off Real Madrid 4-3 to set up an all-German Champions League final in London on May 25.
But UEFA president Michel Platini isn’t buying it. Asked about the recent dominance of the Bundesliga clubs, Platini shrugged it off as just another round in a never-ending cycle.
“Conclusions are made every year with respect to the finalists,” he said at a news conference in France promoting the 2016 European Championship. “We said the same thing five years ago about English clubs when it was Man United and Chelsea in the final, and about Italian clubs when it was Milan against Juve.”
Yes, Michel, but what about the fact that Bayern’s 7-0 winning margin was the largest ever in a Champions League semifinal? Isn’t that impressive? Is it not significant that Dortmund beat Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg of their semifinal?
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“I’ve never handed a [Champions League] trophy to a German club during my time,” he said. “It’s cyclical. It’s a difficult Cup to win and no team has won it two years a row, so I won’t draw any conclusions about the fact there are two German clubs in the final.”
If that seems a bit harsh, consider that when Platini was captain of the French World Cup teams in 1982 and 1986, France was knocked out in the semifinals by you guessed it Germany.
He may not be excited about the Bundesliga Bowl at Wembley, but German fans certainly are. More than 250,000 ticket applications have already been submitted by Dortmund fans, and club management expected the number or requests will exceed 400,000. Bayern is expecting most of its 187,000 club members to sign up for tickets.
Each finalist is allotted only 25,000 tickets. The stadium capacity is 86,000. Approximately 9,000 tickets were sold to fans through the UEFA website and the rest will go to sponsors, national federations, and media. In other words, great time to be a ticket broker in Germany!
Fans who can’t get tickets will be invited to giant watch parties at the outdoor fan zones used during the 2006 World Cup.
England in Miami?
Don’t be surprised if the England national team winds up training in Miami before heading to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. According to British media reports, coach Roy Hodgson was in Miami on Friday scouting out the city as a possible pre-World Cup training base.
Real Madrid will play at Sun Life Stadium on Aug. 6-7 in the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup, but it remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho will be on the sideline.
He said Friday his future with the club remains up in the air but hinted that it may be time to move on after four years. He is reportedly interested in moving back to Chelsea, where he coached previously. Mourinho is under contract until 2016, but he may be headed to England anyway.
“I have not made any decision about whether I will stay or go,” the Portuguese manager said. “I always leave my clubs on good terms. The same with my exit from Chelsea, which while it looked controversial, wasn’t.”
“The same thing happens in practically every club,” he said. “Look at Paris [PSG] and they say that Carlo [ Ancelotti] is going. Look at Bayern, the record champion, and its coach leaves and [ Pep] Guardiola arrives. Look at [Manchester] City and you see Roberto [ Mancini] is leaving. You look at Chelsea and [ Rafa] Benitez is leaving and me or whoever is coming. There are a lot of clubs that are experiencing similar situations.”
Germany and Ecuador, both ranked in the Top 10 in the FIFA world rankings, will play a friendly May 29 at FAU Stadium. Tickets are available through the school box office.
Spain plays Haiti on June 8 at Sun Life Stadium in a friendly that will serve as the Spanish national team’s preparation for the Confederations Cup in Brazil later that month. Spain will be bringing its full “A” roster, including many stars from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Tickets start at $29 and a limited number of VIP Field seats will be made available on the sidelines. All ticketholders will be invited to watch practice at the stadium the day before the match. Fans can purchase tickets at www.sunlifestadium.com and www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the stadium box office at (305) 943-8000.
On June 23, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers play Brazilian club Cruzeiro at Lockhart Stadium.