WC2010: Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona

Bayern Munich vs Barcelona? Yes, it would certainly fit the bill based on the players from these two clubs that are representing Germany and Spain in this edition of World Cup. There are seven players from Bayern Munich in current Germany squad (Hans-Joerg Butt, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Mueller). While Barcelona up their numbers by one, with eight players representing Spain (Víctor Valdés, Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Pedro Rodríguez, David Villa). UEFA Champions League Final in South Africa!

Euro 2008 winners Spain were one of the favourites going into World Cup 2010, while Germany have been identified by many as the most impressive team in the tournament so far. Which should all add up to one excellent World Cup semifinal. It’s a rematch of the Euro 2008 final, which Spain won 1-0 with a goal from Fernando Torres.

Torres’ involvement is the big question mark here. The striker returned from injury in time for World Cup 2010, but hasn’t looked even close to his best. There’s a definite possibility that coach Vicente del Bosque could “rest” Torres and replace him with either Fernando Llorente or an extra midfielder. Might not matter though, since David Villa is scoring more than enough goals for everyone, and is the current World Cup top scorer with five.

Germany’s aggressive attacking style has been an unexpected but very much welcome World Cup surprise. Attacking midfielder Mesut Özil’s name is possibly already engraved on the Best Young Player Award trophy, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s midfield displays have had more action than a Michael Bay movie and striker Miroslav Klose is now just one goal behind Ronaldo on the list of all time World Cup goalscorers. The big miss for Germany will be young Thomas Mueller, who is suspended.

Historically, there’s no comparison between Germany and Spain. Except for 1930, 1938, 1950 and 1978 Germany has been right up there in the final stages of the World Cup. Three quarterfinals, four semifinals, four runners up and of course three times champions out of their 17 appearances. Whereas, Spain was fourth in 1950 and reached the quarterfinals in 1934, 1986, 1994 and 2002. This is probably their best World Cup performance on the back of their second Euro win and a two year undefeated run.

Alhough Spain’s Euro 2008 victory was a symbolic shrugging off of the “under-achiever” label, the real test is winning the World Cup, which is something they have never done. Incredibly, Germany haven’t won a World Cup in 20 years, and haven’t won the thing since reunification. This tournament looks like Germany’s chance to not only reclaim the World Cup, but to do so in a style that could redefine perceptions of German football. But they need to beat Spain before thinking about that.

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