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Inside FutbolInside Futbol

26 October 2019

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Champions League

Bayern Munich-Dortmund Champions League Final Timing Must Prompt Rethink




It seems like a long time ago now that football fans all over the world witnessed the coup d'etat of football power as it shifted from Spanish to German clubs. The amazing semi-final wins by Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund over the Spanish behemoths Barcelona and Real Madrid seems like a light year away now. And there is no doubt that outside of the Ruhr and Munich interest in the mouthwatering encounter between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich for the club football crown of Europe has waned a little as fans concentrate on their own club’s fortunes and misfortunes.

Of course it will be reignited on Saturday 25th May, but the worry is that it will not burn with the same intensity that was there after 1st May when the Bavarian machine crushed mighty Barcelona in a display of ruthless power coupled with breathtaking skill. This followed on the heels of a nailbiting finish which had taken place just 24 hours earlier at the Bernabeu.

 

A historic event is always something that captures the attention of the entire football world, especially if it takes place in Europe. And the sudden demise of English and Spanish clubs to be replaced by the equally unexpected rise of the Bundesliga from which no club had lifted either one of Europe's football’s trophies since Bayern Munich last won the Champions League in 2001, was big news. Therefore back on Thursday 2nd May the thought of this all-German Champions League final featuring the high-octane burning Bayern Munich and one-touch passing Borussia Dortmund was something that every football fan in the world could not wait for.

But that was a while ago now and when that encounter finally takes place three-and-a-half weeks after coming to the boil, the fire will have to be relit all over again.

The Champions League is comparable to the American Football Superbowl in the way it is designed to both determine the best team of the entire continent as well as provide an amazing spectacle in a magnificent stadium. However, UEFA could borrow something from the Americans who are the masters of putting on a spectacular show – timing.

This year's Superbowl climaxed with a game which was played in New Orleans on 3rd February – exactly two weeks after the Conference Championship games which determined who would meet in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It was a decent break in which to make all the necessary arrangements and yet short enough to fan the still burning flame of huge neutral interest in the rivalry between San Fransisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

UEFA should take a leaf out of American gridiron game and do the same, which is to have the final just a couple of weeks after the semi-finals.
The ideal change would be to move the restart of the competition following the winter break back a month, from mid-February when most of northern Europe is still in the grip of winter to mid-March, by which time Jack Frost is beginning to mellow. Because despite undersoil heating making it possible for games to be played when all around the pitch fans sit shivering behind piles of snow that have been shovelled back off the playing arena, it takes something away from the spectacle.


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