Created on 28-04-2010 at 00:00 AM
With Bayern safely through to the Champions League final on 22 May, all eyes turn to Camp Nou in Barcelona on Wednesday evening, where the home side meet Inter Milan to determine the identity of FCB’s opponents in Madrid. The Italians lead 3-1 from the first leg. “It’ll be nice and relaxed, I’ll settle down on the sofa and watch a great game,” grinned Daniel van Buyten.
“Regardless of whether it’s Inter or Barcelona, it’ll definitely be more difficult than this evening. We’ll need an outstanding evening,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Hamit Altintop described both Inter and Barça as “very difficult,” although the Turkey international has no reference between the pair: “To be frank, once you’re in the final yourself, you really don’t care who provides the opposition.”
Rummenigge favours Inter
Director of sport Christian Nerlinger similarly has “no preference, basically. They’re two completely different teams. All things being equal, I rate Barcelona the best team in the world. Inter are extremely well-organised and compact.”
Other members of the FCB delegation in Lyon took a different view. Chairman Rummenigge, himself an Inter star back in the 1980s, would prefer to face the Nerazzurri. The same goes for Diego Contento, whose parents hail from Naples: “I’m hoping for Milan, on the one hand because I think they’re not as strong as Barça, and on the other, because they’re from my country.”
Van Gaal’s mixed feelings
Arjen Robben will be rooting for Inter on Wednesday evening, as they feature his fellow-countryman Wesley Sneijder. “We were both forced to leave Real Madrid,” the Bayern superstar observed. Arjen opted for Bayern, with Sneijder switching to Milan last summer. “Now, we might both be back, but with different teams.”
The choice of preferred opponents is a tough one for Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman once coached Barcelona and believes the Catalans are “the best team in the world. From my first day here, I’ve held up Barcelona as an example to my players. We’ll lose to them nine times out of ten. But we’ll beat them in a one-off game, so why not in the final?”
Reunion with Mourinho?
However, Van Gaal feels FCB would have more of a chance against Inter. That would also mean a reunion with José Mourinho, once Van Gaal’s assistant in Barcelona. “We’re still friends, and when one of us does well, the other always sends a text,” the Bayern boss revealed.