By Alistair Bennett
When Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were drawn against Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively in the semi finals of the Champions League, there was a sense of wonder about how far the German sides had progressed.
As arguably the best club side of all time, Barcelona were expected to make the final despite struggling past Paris Saint Germain in the previous round and Real Madrid, with Jose Mourinho in charge and Cristiano Ronaldo at their disposal, were the favourites to make it an all-Spanish final at Wembley Stadium.
Things rarely go according to plan in the world of football though.
Bayern destroyed the Catalan side 4-0 in Munich while Dortmund also scored four against Madrid.
These thrashings left Barcelona and Real Madrid on the verge of being knocked out with 90 minutes left to play for both sides at home. No-one expected that.
Real Madrid welcomed Dortmund to the Bernabeu for their second leg tie on Tuesday night and after losing the first leg 4-1, they needed to perform at their best to stand a chance of making it to Wembley.
Mourinho’s side flew out of the traps knowing they needed to score at least three goals to progress to the final but they were unable to take their early chances.
Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil were all through on goal and a combination of great goalkeeping by Roman Weidenfeller and poor finishing meant the match stayed goalless.
Despite all of the early chances for Madrid, Dortmund weathered the storm and soon began to control the game. They had chances of their own but Robert Lewandowski, the hero of the first leg for Dortmund, was especially wasteful in front of goal.
The match looked as if it was going to end goalless meaning the Germans would book their place in the Champions League final.
That was until Real got a goal back in the 82nd minute: Ozil managed to find space down the right hand side where he pulled the ball back to French striker Karim Benzema who finished easily.
The impossible now seemed possible.
Real continued to attack, smelling blood, and in the 88th minute, they got their second meaning they only needed one more goal to see them through.
Benzema coolly pulled the ball back to captain Sergio Ramos who smashed the ball home.
However, Madrid could not get that elusive third goal and that was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s youthful Dortmund side to qualify for the final.
To determine who would play Dortmund in the final, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich travelled to the Camp Nou with a 4-0 lead which seemed insurmountable.
It was. After a relatively quiet first half with few chances, Bayern stormed out of the gate in the second and quickly got an away goal which meant that Barcelona would have had to score six in order to progress.
An own goal by Gerard Pique and a Thomas Muller completed the 7-0 aggregate rout.
Barcelona left the injured Lionel Messi on the bench and they lacked ideas while Bayern were ruthless as they progressed to their third Champions League final in four years.
The Bavarians will meet Dortmund at Wembley on 25 May and it appears it will be the beginning of a German era of dominance.