The Bayern-Barcelona Connection
The two giants of European football meet again in the Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg tonight, and after being thrashed at the Nou Camp Guardiola and Thiago Alcantara will be desperate to make amends against their former employers and turn around the 3 goal deficit. The connection between Bayern and Barcelona goes deeper than just Pep and Thiago, these two special clubs have shared various managers, players and achievements throughout their history.
Many fans know how full of success the history of each club is, but what you may not know is that only 91 days separate the establishment of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Barcelona was founded first, on 28 November 1899, and 91 days later Bayern Munich was founded on 27 February 1900. Despite being around for almost the same amount of time, the two sides have only played each other 10 times, in various European competitions. Where they do have a connection, though, is through their shared managers, players and achievements.
The foundation of both clubs is very similar, and they share their history in the forms of their managers too. There have been four managers that have coached both Bayern Munich and Barcelona in their career, the most notable of them being current Bayern manager Pep Guardiola. The other three are Richard Kohn, the late Udo Lattek, and current Man United boss Louis van Gaal, and all of them enjoyed very successful periods at either club. Udo Lattek, who coached Bayern Munich before and after coaching Barcelona from 1981-1983 oversaw various domestic successes in Germany and Spain, and is the only coach to lead three clubs to three 'major' European trophies.
When it comes to the players who have donned both a Bayern Munich and a Barcelona kit during their career, the group is just as exclusive and illustrious. Only five players have represented both Bayern and Barca as players, the most recent being the young maestro Thiago Alcantara. The most established player of the recent La Masia graduates, Thiago was recruited by Guardiola when he himself made the switch from Catalonia to Bavaria as a coach. The other four Barca-Bayern representatives are Patrick Andersson, Mark Van Bommel, ex-Man City manager Mark Hughes, and current Bayern goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
The current eras of success that Bayern and Barca find themselves in are truly special and something that almost every club in the world would envy, but for these two it's just another chapter in their long history of titles and cups. This is no better exemplified than in the fact that the treble has only been achieved by seven European teams, with Barca and Bayern being two of them. The remaining five are Celtic, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Inter Milan. Bayern and Barca also have impressed records in the European Cup, with Barca winning four of their seven finals and Bayern winning five of their ten. Needless to say, Barca and Bayern have both never been relegated to the Second Division of their respective leagues, a feat that only reinforces the stature of these two giants of European football.
Which European giant will win tonight and go through to the Champions League Final?