Champions League draw: Real Madrid and Barcelona kept apart in semi-final draw

Bayern Munich will play Barcelona; Borussia Dortmund face Real Madrid

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid and Barcelona have been kept apart in the draw for the Champions League semi-final - keeping open the possibility of a 'dream' El Clasico final at Wembley.

The draw means Lionel Messi's side will have to come through against Bayern Munich, while Cristiano Ronaldo's side Real Madrid will play Borussia Dortmund.

The draw in Nyon will have pleased neutrals, keeping apart the two Spanish sides and the two German sides remaining in the competition.

FC Bayern Munich v FC Barcelona
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, Real have advanced to the final four after ties against Manchester United and Galatasaray. With their league hopes over, the Champions League has become Los Blancos top priority this season.

Of all the three sides they could have faced, they will perhaps consider they have drawn the weakest of the sides that remain.

Last year's Bundesliga winners needed two injury time goals to came through the last round against Malaga. On the domestic front, they have trailed in the wake of Bayern Munich this season. However, despite their tag as the underdogs, Dortmund are the only side remaining in the competition who are unbeaten in this season's Champions League.

Bayern eased past Juventus in the last round - winning 2-0 both home and away against the Italian league leaders in a real show of strength. Some will consider them the favourites to advance to the final when they play Barcelona.

The pre-tournament favourites scraped through the last round against PSG, needing a late substitute appearance from Messi to inspire them against their French opponents.

The draw means both the German sides will play the first leg at home, with the second legs taking place in Spain.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is relishing a test against a side he holds in such high regard.

"Barcelona are the benchmark for me in Europe. They have won the Champions League more than any other team in the recent years," Rummenigge told

"They are the best team in Europe at the moment, with fantastic attacking potential.

"We played them in 2009 and received a real thumping. I remember that game well and I don't really like to think about it, because it was quite painful to watch. However, it's a wonderful opportunity to show that we have improved a lot since then."

Rummenigge also denied that playing the opening match at home is a disadvantage.

"I think we will see two very good games, played at the highest possible level," he said.

"Furthermore, I think playing at home first is a slight advantage, contrary to the popular belief that it's a disadvantage.

"We saw that against Juventus, where people said that it might be a disadvantage. But we produced a great performance at home and that set the stage for the return leg and our progression into the semi-finals.

"I'm really excited that we will get to play the best team in Europe. I still feel Barcelona are the big favourites to win the Champions League."

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke was pleased to have drawn a Spanish opponent and avoid an all-Bundesliga tie with Bayern.

Dortmund have already played Real twice in this season's competition, winning the first Group D meeting on home soil 2-1 before drawing 2-2 at the Bernabeu.

"We are happy with this draw - not because we think it's an easy one, but because the Champions League is an international competition and we wanted an international game rather than a national tie against Bayern," Watzke said.

"I don't think Madrid will be afraid because of what happened in the group stage.

"They will respect us, just like we will respect them."

Real manager Mourinho, who has guided the Spanish side to their third successive semi-final, has matched Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's record of seven appearances in the last four of the European Cup.

The Portuguese has also reached this stage with Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea.

Former Real striker and club ambassador Emilio Butragueno insisted Dortmund will not be taken lightly even though they have been absent from the final stages of the tournament for a decade and a half.

"It's a pleasure and honour for us to be here," Butragueno said.

"We have a lot of respect for Borussia Dortmund.

"We played them twice (in the group stage) but didn't manage to beat them.

"This time we hope it will different as we want to be in the final, that's what we are all dreaming of."

Bayern will play Barcelona on 23 April and May 1, while Dortmund and Real will face each other on April 24 and 30.

This year's final will take place at Wembley.

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