The international of good, beautiful and exciting football will play in Bruges on Wednesday – in the Stade Jan Breydel, where the newly rich Paris Saint-Germain FC will start the Champions League season. Not so long ago, nobody beyond Bruges and Paris would have been interested in this. Especially not in Barcelona, the traditional home of good, beautiful and exciting football. On Wednesday, however, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé give their joint inaugural performance at Club Bruges. Who wants to miss that?
For years, FC Barcelona has claimed the right to a spectacle, but that’s over for now. Neymar disappeared to Paris four years ago. This summer, Messi followed suit, much more painfully. What Barça remains are debts, the exact amount of which nobody wants to know exactly. And it doesn’t really suit the Blaugrana that FC Bayern, of all people, will be present at the Camp Nou this Tuesday for the opening event of the Champions League. The memory of the shortcomings of the recent past weighs too heavily. Also of the 2: 8 against Munich a year ago in the quarter-finals of the European football circus. The portal »goal.es« had identified »a duel between athletes and tourists«.
Barças 2: 8 from Lisbon remains unique like the Brazilian 1: 7 at the 2014 World Cup against Germany. But that such a gap could open up between the pride of Catalonia and the sovereign from Munich had been suggested long before. On a Wednesday eight years ago – when Bayern played for the second leg of the semi-finals at Camp Nou. In the spring of 2013, FC Barcelona still felt strong and seriously believed that they could still catch up with Munich’s 4-0 first leg win.
What a dramatic self-deception! Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller and an own goal by Gerad Piqué gave Bayern a never threatened 3-0 victory. Only once was something like a spirit of resistance felt – later that evening, when the security service was still fighting with Monsieur Ribéry, because someone had to take action. The French cared little about it and kept dancing as he had done with Barça’s defenders earlier. This time, however, with a fan who somehow made it over the barriers. The files tore on the left arm of the runabout forever; and when Ribéry finally let go of the right one, he slipped his red vest over the man who was being abducted.
All of this came to the performance to the loud cheering of the enthusiastic Munich crowd. Because Ribéry had fought so passionately for a single fan soul so late, the rumor quickly spread that it was about his brother. And like all beautiful gossip, this one made it onto television. “Mais non,” Ribéry contradicted later that hour, the man had just wanted to have a little fun. And he himself too.
The trade journal »Marca« put the message of that night from Camp Nou in the sentence: »In Europe, definitely Germany.« Because in the second semifinals Borussia Dortmund had triumphed at Real Madrid the day before. Despair and perplexity spread across Spain. Wasn’t it enough that this Ms. Merkel dictated to them how to do business using the euro? Did these Germans also have to show them how to play football? Eight years later, it is up to the French, who are being fed with Arab money, to take on the role of master of ceremonies – which doesn’t make matters much better.