No Clasico final, no Decima for Real Madrid or Mourinho, but brilliant Bayern deserve dream date in Munich

The Bavarian giants provided the second shock in as many nights as they deservedly knocked out Jose Mourinho's men on penalties following an enthralling encounter on Wednesday

By Ben Hayward

The Clasico dominated the football headlines at the weekend. Real Madrid beat Barcelona at Camp Nou on Saturday to edge towards La Liga and leave the Catalans stunned. But that was supposed to be the prelude; the main dish was still to be served as Spain's top two were destined to meet in the Champions League final.

But it hasn't happened. Remarkably, neither of the two Spanish sides have made it through to next month's showpiece. So there'll be no Clasico final, no Barcelona double, no third title for Jose Mourinho and no 10th European Cup triumph for Real Madrid, either.

Chelsea had advanced following an improbable win in Catalunya on Tuesday. And like Barca, Madrid needed to overcome a one-goal deficit in order to return to Munich in May. But as Barcelona had done just a night earlier, Real succumbed at the final hurdle, too.

This match could not have been more different to the Camp Nou clash, though, which had seen Chelsea camped on the edge of their area for much of the night. Here, two giants of the game went on the attack in an an extraordinary exhibition of flowing football - at least in the opening 45 minutes that is.

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The first half was scintillating stuff: Madrid went ahead after just six minutes after David Alaba was harshly penalised for handball in the area and Cristiano Ronaldo did what Lionel Messi failed to do on Tuesday, coolly converting from the spot.

The Portuguese then doubled Real's advantage after 14 minutes and there was some controversy about that one, too, as the Portuguese was marginally - albeit by a fraction and impossible to appreciate in real time - offside as he received a clever through-ball from Mesut Ozil after Bayern's back line had been pulled out of position. Ozil and Ronaldo had combined to hand Madrid victory in the Clasico at Barcelona on Saturday, and the same two linked up again to thrust Jose Mourinho's men into a winning position in this one.
But Bayern are made of strong stuff and the Bavarians had been unfortunate to go two down. And after 27 minutes, they had a penalty of their own as Pepe was adjudged to have shoved Mario Gomez in the area and Robben stepped up to beat his former team-mate and World Cup nemesis Iker Casillas from the spot - albeit only just.

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The first half provided an enthralling, end-to-end encounter, with changes for both sides and a high-tempo battle in a rocking and thumping Bernabeu. But the second period was tense virtually from the outset as the two teams realised exactly what was at stake. Bayern had the majority of the possession and looked the better of the two; indeed, Gomez squandered the chance of the half as he got the ball stuck under his feet when all alone in the area and the gaping goal at his mercy.

Madrid looked tired as the game entered its final stages. Mourinho had made just one change to the side which had beaten Barca and this was one match too many. The home side upped the tempo in the first half of extra time, but it had become a cagey contest by now and penalties looked inevitable as Bayern finished the stronger.

Mourinho had seen his Chelsea side lose out to Liverpool on spot kicks in the 2007 semi-final, and they got off to the worst possible start in this shoot-out, as both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka saw their penalties brilliantly saved by Manuel Neuer low down to his right, and Bayern went into a 2-0 lead from which Real could never recover. Sergio Ramos then blasted over the bar and Bastian Schweinsteiger slotted home to end Madrid's hopes of La Decima this time around and send the Bavarians forward to a dream date at their home ground, the Allianz Arena, on May 19.

With Barca out of the way, it had been a glorious opportunity for Mourinho's men, but the Germans had been the better side in both games and fully deserved to advance. So it is Jupp Heynckes, a man fired by Madrid after winning their eighth European crown in 1998, and not Mourinho, who will seek this season's top prize.

There'll be no Barca, no Madrid, no Clasico, no Messi and no Ronaldo. Europe's elite extends beyond the Clasico.

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