Bayern handed the chance to end Barcelona's reign

Ben Hayward
Bayern handed the chance to end Barcelona's reign

It was a tie which neither side would have wanted, but one that could define everything. Barcelona and Bayern Munich were paired together in the semifinals of the Champions League following Friday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland. At stake is much, much more than just a place in the Wembley showpiece final next month.

Barcelona has been the dominant force in Europe for the greater part of the last decade. Semifinalists for the last six years, winners in 2009 and 2011 (as well as 2006), hailed as the greatest side in history by many and hitting huge heights under Pep Guardiola, the Catalans remain the team to beat, the best footballing side there is.

Yet there has been something of a decline since the departure of Guardiola, with Carles Puyol plagued with injuries, Xavi slowing down and problems on the bench in the absence of Tito Vilanova during his treatment for cancer. Even Lionel Messi has been injured.