Though there were close shaves and controversy in the Champions League quarter-finals, I believe the four teams who came through were the right teams.
I did find it ironic that the quarter-final that looked to be the toughest to call on paper ended up being the most comfortable as Bayern Munich advanced against Juventus. Bayern again proved just how good they are and remain on course for 'the treble'.
Borussia Dortmund v Malaga and Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain ended up being more exciting and a lot tougher than Dortmund or Barca would have anticipated, but we now have four genuine contenders for the European title.
Even Dortmund, the relative outsiders of the four, can play some really entertaining football and are the only unbeaten side left in the tournament. This last-four stage is about as open as I can remember it ever being.
What would be interesting is if the draw for the semi-finals gave us all-Spanish and all-German ties. Of course ‘El Clasico’ is a fixture which grabs attention all around the world, while Dortmund-Bayern is also a big game outside of Germany even though not as many people will be as versed in that fixture’s history.
Regardless of how the sides are drawn, we are guaranteed two humdinger semis over two legs and a great final at Wembley.
All four clubs are crammed with world-class players, they all like to attack and they all produce enterprising football. It is going to be tough picking a winner every step of the way now.
Personally, and provided they are not drawn together in the last four, I would fancy a Real Madrid v Bayern Munich final. They are two sides who are often associated with the European Cup in its various forms, having won 13 between them, and for me is the most interesting of all the possibilities for London.
Hopefully, Bayern Munich v Barcelona is avoided until Pep Guardiola is in charge of the Bundesliga champions – it will be much more interesting then..!
As for the losing quarter-finalists, three of the four did ever so well. Paris Saint-Germain were expected to have a good run in the competition due to their spending but as Manchester City keep proving, it isn’t as simple as that and when they were drawn against Barcelona it seemed to be an open and shut case to some.
In the end, PSG were unlucky not to go through. But Carlo Ancelotti has taken some quality players and has got them well organised with a strong work ethic. They could easily have snuck through, but it was not to be.
I am sure the Parisians will be back in future Champions Leagues as a real force, but Malaga and Galatasaray, who will not find it so easy to return to the last-eight as frequently, really impressed me.
Malaga are set to sit out European competitions next season and will take a long time to recover from the heartache that unfolded at Signal Iduna Park. But they gave it everything and came away with a lot of pride.
Between that and Galatasaray’s second-leg fight, there was ample proof we do not have to rely on Europe’s traditional big-hitters to inject a large dose of excitement into the Champions League. Long may that trend continue.