The top two teams in both Spain and Germany will be involved in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with FC Barcelona and FC Bayern München joining Real Madrid CF and Borussia Dortmund in Friday's draw in Nyon, streamed live on UEFA.com.
Bayern were crowned Bundesliga champions last weekend, and are 20 points ahead of Dortmund – the title winners in the last two seasons – who themselves hold a six-point cushion in second place. Barcelona, meanwhile, are closing in on their 22nd Spanish Liga crown, 13 points clear of Madrid with eight games to go. However, on Friday, attention will be solely on European matters, with Madrid continuing their quest for a tenth European Cup, Barça and Bayern a fifth and Dortmund their second.
Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern were all at this stage a year ago, although only Bayern went on to reach the final. The Bavarian club ousted Madrid on penalties in the last four, where Barcelona went down to eventual champions Chelsea FC. Dortmund have had to wait 15 years since the most recent of their three European Cup semi-finals.
The open draw – meaning no seeding or country protection – throws up the intriguing possibility of all-Spanish and all-German semi-finals. While the latest of the six European Cup encounters between two Bundesliga teams was Dortmund's 1-0 aggregate victory against Bayern in the 1997/98 quarter-finals, Madrid and Barcelona alone could face a fourth last-four meeting in the competition and a fifth European tie overall.
Each side has won two of those previous contests – including Madrid triumphing 3-1 overall in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League semi-finals and Barça turning the tables to advance by the same aggregate scoreline at the same stage of the 2010/11 competition.
Alternatively, should Bayern and Dortmund and Madrid and Barcelona be kept apart in the draw, there may be a final between two clubs from the same country – which would be the fourth in UEFA Champions League history and the first since 2008. Madrid were victorious in the first of those, defeating Valencia CF in the 2000 showpiece in Paris.
There have also been four past Spanish-German European Cup finals, with Madrid again featuring in two of them, most recently a 2-1 success against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Glasgow 11 years ago. The Merengues claimed the fifth of their nine European titles in perhaps the most famous Spanish-German affair, their 7-3 win against Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960, while the Bundesliga and Bayern came out on top in the other final encounters against Liga opposition, overcoming Club Atlético de Madrid after a replay in 1974 and Valencia CF on penalties in 2001.
A final victory for Madrid or Barcelona would also strengthen Spain's position as the European Cup's most successful nation; the Liga has 13 triumphs, one more than Italy and England. Should Bayern or Dortmund prevail, it would be Germany's seventh win – taking them into fourth place on their own, with the Netherlands also currently having six successes.
The draw will start at 12.00CET at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, with Ruud van Nistelrooy assisting UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino in conducting it.
The semi-final ties will be played on 23/24 April and 30 April/1 May. For administrative purposes, the last step of the draw will define whether the winner of semi-final 1 or the winner of semi-final 2 will be the designated home team for the final. The 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final will be held at Wembley, London, on Saturday 25 May, kicking off at 20.45CET (19.45 local time).
All draw proceedings will be transmitted live on UEFA.com. Our live DrawCentre will also bring you the build-up and post-draw reaction from Nyon.
European Cup semi-final record: W1 L2
Last semi-final appearance: 1997/98 (0-2 on aggregate v Real Madrid)
This season: W6 D4 L0 F19 A9
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski 6
v Barcelona W0 D1 L1 F1 A3
v Bayern W1 D1 L0 F1 A0
v Real Madrid W1 D3 L2 F6 A8
European Cup semi-final record: W6 L7
Last semi-final appearance: 2011/12 (2-3 on aggregate v Chelsea FC)
This season: W5 D3 L2 F18 A10
Top scorer: Lionel Messi 8
v Bayern W1 D2 L3 F9 A8
v Dortmund W1 D1 L0 F3 A1
v Real Madrid W2 D3 L3 F10 A13
FC Bayern München
European Cup semi-final record: W9 L5
Last semi-final appearance: 2011/12 (3-3 on aggregate v Real Madrid, 3-1 on penalties)
This season: W7 D1 L2 F22 A10
Top scorer: Thomas Müller 5
v Barcelona W3 D2 L1 F8 A9
v Dortmund W0 D1 L1 F0 A1
v Real Madrid W11 D2 L7 F33 A26
Real Madrid CF
European Cup semi-final record: W12 L11
Last semi-final appearance: 2011/12 (3-3 on aggregate v Bayern München, 1-3 on penalties)
This season: W5 D3 L2 F23 A14
Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo 11
v Barcelona W3 D3 L2 F13 A10
v Bayern W7 D2 L11 F26 A33
v Dortmund W2 D3 L1 F8 A6
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