By Mark Doyle
Franz Beckenbauer has admitted that he would have rather Bayern Munich had drawn Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals of the Champions League than Barcelona, “the world’s best club side”.
The Bavarians are the form side in Europe at the moment, having wrapped up their domestic title last weekend before completing a 4-0 aggregate demolition of Italian champions Juventus in Turin on Wednesday night.
However, Beckenbauer freely admits that he would have preferred to see Jupp Heynckes’ men avoid Barca in Friday’s draw for the final four of the Champions League, which has thrown up the possibility of an all-Germain tournament decider at Wembley with Dortmund having been paired with Real Madrid.
“My first reaction was from a Bayern perspective, that this was not a ‘dream draw’,” he told Bild. “I would have viewed Dortmund as an easier opponent than Barcelona, the world’s best club team.
“But my second reaction was: these are two super draws for German football.”
Beckenbauer, though, believes that both Bundesliga representatives will find it tough against La Liga’s top two, even though Bayern were the most impressive performers in the quarter-finals.
“Our team has an incredible stability,” the legendary sweeper acknowledged. “We have a very good chance because of the form that we are in.
“But there is [Lionel] Messi, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, who were born [to play] for one another.”
Indeed, so wary is Beckenbauer of the threat posed by Barca’s ‘holy trinity’ that he would consider enlisting the help of former Blaugrana boss Pep Guardiola, who is set to succeed Jupp Heynckes as Bayern boss this summer.
“He knows the characteristics of the Barca players, the characteristics which are not seen in videos,” the ex-West Germany international reasoned.
As for Dortmund, Beckenbauer feels it would be a mistake to read too much into the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s troops took four points from their two meetings with Madrid in the group stages and that it will count for little in their semi-final tie.
However, he does feel that the recently dethroned Bundesliga champions will have been lifted by the dramatic way in which they saw off Malaga in the last eight.
“Dortmund against Real Madrid is the battle between the two national runner-up,” the 67-year-old mused. “Such a crazy comeback against Malaga will have given the team a boost.
“But even though they were twice the better team against Real in the group stage, they should not rely on that.
“[Cristiano] Ronaldo is having an outstanding Champions League this season and has a perfect partner in [Mesut] Ozil.”
Both semi-final first legs will be staged in Germany, with Bayern hosting Barcelona on April 23 and Dortmund welcoming Madrid to Signal Iduna Park the following night.