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In the round of 16’s final games, Qasa Alom looks ahead to Bayern Munich trying to avenge last seasons’ Final loss at the hands of Inter, and Jose Mourinho attempting to prove why he’s called the Special One …again.

Eto’o rolls the ball out to the left wing where Diego Milito lurks, like a predator he strolls towards the goal in the most calm and composed fashion…Van Buyten backtracks with his pupils dilated and arms flailing around, he knows he is lost,  and then instantly Il Principe pounces; shifting the ball to his left, then bringing his body around the ball, Milito clips in the second of the game to end Inters long wait for European Glory.

Now, although now separated, both Inter and Mourinho respectively will reflect on that match and use it as a source of inspiration to overcome their current plights, which are littered with danger.

A late, late, Mario Gomez goal for Bayern means that only 90 minutes stand between last seasons’ beaten finalists and the sweet taste of revenge. However, despite the home advantage and the crucial late away goal, there are still enough scars in this Bavarian outfit from the quarter final loss in 2007, ironically against AC Milan, to think that the affair is completely settled. On the other hand there is also plenty of cause for optimism too.

The announcement that Van Gaal will leave at the end of the season by mutual consent seems to have galvanised the squad together, perfectly exemplified by the 6-0 dismantling of Hamburg last weekend. With the Bundesliga seemingly beyond their powers, the champions league is the only piece of silverware left for FC Hollywood this season and thus means that the team can fully focus on one goal.

Moreover history does also favour Bayern, as only one side in champions league history has managed to qualify over two legs, after losing the home tie. Finally I imagine that there will be those in the Bavarian camp who will see last season’s loss in the final as an omen of fate as well, after the fact that their last European success came after being runners up in the previous season.

The Italian champions have their own difficulties as well, rookie manager Leonardo was completely outfoxed by Sir Alex Ferguson at this stage of the tournament last season and will not only have to be tactically more astute but cynical as well to get the better of another extremely experienced European manager in Louis Van Gaal.

Yet the Brazilian manager’s warmth and motivational ability should not be overlooked either, as under him the side have become re-invigorated. Certainly the unavailability of last seasons difference maker Diego Milito will be a huge blow, but nonetheless the 3 times European champions boast genuine match winners in Samuel Eto’o, Julio Cesar and Wesley Sneijder that have the ability to fill that void.

There is more at stake though for their previous manager, as Jose Mourinho comes under the spotlight. His much-maligned Real Madrid side were pegged back by their ‘bogey team’ Olympique Lyonnais to a 1-1 draw in the first leg and the French side –one could say- have nothing to lose. They were expected to be rolled over at the Stade Gerlaind, but even after the Gomis strike brought the tie back level, only a mere eyebrow was raised, for it seems that many people already have put Real Madrid through by default.

That would be stupid.

Last time out, Lyon comfortably negated Real Madrid’s style of play and the match fast turned into a cagey tactical affair, with neither team willing to make the opening gambit. It seems quite obvious that Lyon do not fear Real and despite a clear lack of high profile names, or stand-out stars, one thing this team doesn’t lack is self-belief.

Much of that stems from the fact that It’s now 7 times in a row that Lyon haven’t lost to their Spanish counterparts in Europe – Madrid’s driest run against any European team and that sort of stat would give any team a psychological boost.

Yet - as we’re all only far too aware by now- Mourinho revels in proving the doubter’s wrong and setting the record books straight. Perhaps he will even have been dreaming about such scenarios to bring up why he is the so called Special One. After all, this is the man that beat the English, Spanish and the German champions en route to last season’s title, which also ended Inter’s 45 year wait to win in Europe; he doesn’t just win…he ‘smashes it’.

Even if Mourinho doesn’t manage to continue his golden touch, one thing is for sure; records will be broken. This is because if Lyon do indeed continue this hoodoo over Real and progress to the quarter finals, then Jose Mourinho’s 150 game unbeaten home record that spans 9 years will finally have to come to an end.

With so much at stake both on a personal level, and on a professional level - with La Liga pretty much wrapped up for Barcelona – the pressure really is mounting on Jose to make it 8th time lucky…

Qasa Alom

Broadcast Journalist. Writer for Serieaweekly, subtitled online or anyone else daft enough to want me. These are my thoughts (even the clever ones)

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