Champions League knockout rounds: That was fun
Bayern out, Real out, Atlético out: The major football powers fail - and the Champions League breaks through the boredom of the recent past.
There is a thesis about the Champions League, and it has long been difficult to refute: the premier class is an incredibly boring competition.
At least when approaching the football with the expectation that its result has yet to be negotiated on the lawn - and not already known.
The Champions League has often failed here. Not only did Real Madrid win the title three times in a row (and four times in five years). The semi-final was usually very homogeneous.
Between the 2011/2012 season and the 2016/2017 season there were always at least three out of five dominant teams in Europe in the round of the last four:
- Real Madrid ,
- the FC Barcelona ,
- Atlético Madrid ,
- Juventus Turin
- and Bayern .
Last season Bayern and Real were still two. This is the tension-free creature of the premier class. A perpetuating system - thanks to the high sums clubs can earn in the Champions League end zone. A closed event.
So you have to imagine the final phase of the competition usually like the Berlin Technoklub Berghain at half past five in the morning: Anyone who is not already there will hardly get in there. And actually it is not that great there either.
Succession as obstacles
But in recent weeks, the Champions League has surprised itself. She's suddenly having fun again. And this in a competitive phase, which is usually even more boring, than the fight on the home stretch. Apart from a century-long comeback of FC Barcelona against Paris (after a 0: 4 in the first leg there was a 6-1 in the second leg) and the failure of Manchester City at Monaco 2016/2017 is the last real surprise in the second round already seven years back : At that time Apoel Nicosia threw out Olympique Lyon.
This season, however, we have seen the big, spectacular failure: that of the defending champion Real Madrid against the rebellious gifted of Ajax Amsterdam. That of Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United, with heavy fags and a penalty in the final minute. A solskjaereske punch line. And this is perhaps the best defensive team of recent years, Atlético Madrid, who poured three goals from Cristiano Ronaldo against Juve in a game. All three strikers had previously won their first leg. Only Tottenham (against Dortmund) and Manchester City (against Schalke) came through after a first leg win.
"In the end, the English always win"
In addition, FC Bayern conceded his first loss to Liverpool in the European Cup for 18 years - and retired for the first time in eight years in the second round. That all three German clubs were stopped by English teams, may be coincidence - or the reversal of the old Gary-Lineker dictum: "... in the end, always win the English." But it is fitting that the Champions League is currently taking unusual paths. That four English teams are in the quarterfinals, there was last ten years ago.
Of course, from a German point of view, the Champions League season was not that much fun. One wonders now whether the football in this country has finally relegated to mediocrity. Is he. But he was already last year, when only the Bayern ever reached the round of 16. And then there was still the world championship total loss of Vatutinki. That Eintracht Frankfurt (in the evening in the round of 16 of the Europa League against Inter Milan 21 clock / live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE) would be the last German representative in the European Cup, one would not have thought up.
The perfidy of the premier class
With Munich, Real and Atlético, three out of the five major European powers in the recent Champions League history are out before the club of the best starts their game. That is the perfection of the premier class: It gives you the hope right back in the moment that in European football, not everything is lost, in which one wants to turn away from him because of the expectability and all the offenses against the financial fair play.
But beware: That this year really a surprise team wins the title, is not expected. The two surviving European rulers of recent years, Barcelona and Juve, look like quite useful finalists again.