ITV Preview Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund

spt_ai_leverkusen_v_chelsea_40.jpg Football - Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Chelsea UEFA Champions League

Along with my co-editor, Greg Johnson, we imagine the scenes in the ITV studios as they discover Borussia Dortmund during tomorrow night’s Champions League semi final second leg against Real Madrid…

Adrian Chiles: “Vorsprung durch football! And welcome to ITV for Real Madrid versus Borussia Dortmund, in what promises to be a night to remember with one of the all-time classic match ups of the Champions League.

“After last week’s heroics, it looks like the Germans will be invading London in May, but will they be saving their Blitzkreig for Wembley? As always I’m joined by Roy Keane, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate, and I think it’s fair to say gang, that this wasn’t the situation we were expecting, or prepared for…”

Lee Dixon: “That’s right Adrian, last week the German sides surprised us all in the games against Barcelona and Real Madrid. They were efficient, they were powerful, they had a strong, modernised manufacturing bas… sorry; midfield, and the Spanish sides will be looking to their star players like Ronaldo and Messi for a serious bail out to try and get something in order to somehow make it through to the final.”

Roy Keane: “Madrid have a serious task to overturn this score line, and I think, even with Mourinho in charge, this might be a bridge too far for them.”

Gareth Southgate: “You could say that Real Madrid are in no man’s land even.”

[silence]

Dixon: “Real Madrid are going to have to go for it tonight to stand any chance. They must attack from the first minute, because otherwise they’re wasting their time.”

Chiles: “Yes, and speaking of attack Gareth, this… Lewandowski. Where did he appear from? Four goals against Real Madrid in a Champions League semi final, it’s the stuff of dreams isn’t it? The world’s going to sit up and take notice now, surely?”

[Excitement and pride flickers over Southgate’s face as he shuffles his pre-research print outs between his hands]

Southgate: “It’s a strange one Adrian, because he was apparently declared dead in 2002, with many people believing him to be a 63 year old Ukrainian man who masterminded the famous Dynamo Kiev…”

[Lee Dixon shakes his head]

Keane: “That was Valeri Lobanovsky, Gareth…”

[Keane’s eyes seem to burrow into the side of Southgate’s temple as the impressively beaked former defender appears to retreat within himself, cowering into his own apportioned share of the pitch-side studio floorspace. Chiles seems oblivious to the drama.]

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Chiles: “We’re hearing that Manchester United are apparently interested in Lewandowski. What would that mean for Wayne Rooney, Lee? Is it a case of another Pole, coming over here and taking our jobs?”

[Chiles punctuates his highly questionable quip with a half-smile and muted chuckle as Dixon and Keane glare at their presenter – Southgate continues to scan the floor for the fragments of his shattered ego]

Keane [glowering]: “Adrian, I thought you were a nice guy…

[Suddenly becoming aware of the tension in the air, Chiles winces and puffs out his cheeks like a big, ruddy airbag in preparation to weather the Cork man’s fury]

Keane: “…but Lewandowski, he’s clearly an important man for Dortmund, but I don’t rate him. I don’t rate Dortmund. They were lucky to be gifted the chances they did last week and the offside calls were a disgrace. I don’t rate anyone…”

Chiles: “Ok, so Roy doesn’t rate the players. But what about the manager? This Jurgen Klopp character seems like a very entertaining bloke indeed. He will have caught the eyes of many a Premier League chairman over the past week. What do you make of the Dortmund coach Gareth?”

Southgate [his voice breaking as he catches Keane’s throbbing eye line]: “Well you look at Chelsea and he’s… and maybe he could… maybe Manchester City?”

[The panel briefly look upon the tortured former Middlesbrough manager before moving on. Keane appears to spit into a strategically positioned bucket underneath the table]

Dixon [cutting in]: “I think he’s been fantastic for Dortmund, but you can never tell how managers and players will cope with the unique pressures of the Premier League. I can name more foreign failures than foreign successes, Adrian. Stick him at Chelsea and let him build a team maybe, but Abramovich is going to want instant success and he might not be able to bring that right away. Not compared to Mourinho anyway.”

Southgate [suddenly finding his voice]: “But tonight Klopp could knock Mourinho’s Real Madrid, the most expensively assembled team of all time, out of the Champions League, and…”

Keane: “Go home Gareth, no one want’s you to get hurt.”

[There are tears in Southgate’s eyes. A nervous silence permeates the broadcast.]

Chiles: “Err, we’ll be back after the break, bye for now…”

Chiles: “Willkommen zurück! Kick-off looms here at the Santiago Bernabueu, where the unfancied surprise package of this season’s Champions League have a miraculous 4-1 lead to defend in this semi final second leg.

“Now, we touched on some of Dortmund’s key players earlier, and there’s another who we first learned of during last summer’s Euros. Jakub Blas… Blas… well, Kuba, as he is affectionately known.

“Lee, the way he’s bounced back from the tragedy involving his parents is inspirational. First he scored at the Euros, now he’s playing in the Champions League. How do you reckon he’ll feel?”

Dixon: “Certainly he’s shown great bouncebackability, Adrian. He must be very proud. He’s a tidy player too, I like him…”

Keane [forcibly interjects]: ”I don’t. If he was that good he wouldn’t be wasting his time in the German league. Sure he might have had a setback in his youth, but who hasn’t? As a footballer, he looks good on the TV maybe, but that means nothing in this business. It’s a savage garden out there, Adrian.”

[Chiles regards Keane with a quizzical look. The silence is broken by an audible off-camera whimper. Keane glances sideways and gives an evidently traumatised Southgate a knowing look]

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Chiles: “Yes… a savage garden indeed. I’ll tell you where it’s not savage, out on the pitch behind me. A picture perfect scene. Dortmund are 90 minutes from immortality, it’s time to join our match commentators, Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend.”

[Camera pans to the two teams emerging from the tunnel to a cacophony of noise]

Clive Tyldesley: “Thanks Adrian. The Teutonic age is upon us here in Madrid. But, and this is a big but, Jose Mourinho is all that stands between Germany and continental domination. Knowing Jose as we do, he’ll be motivated more than most to deny them the living space they so desire.

“Andy Townsend is with me tonight. Andy, we know all about Madrid, their manager and best player Cristiano Ronaldo, but Dortmund are something of an unknown quantity aren’t they?”

Andy Townsend: “Well Clive, this could be their year. No one expected them to get this far, certainly I didn’t, but you never know in football, Clive, you never know.”

Tyldesley: “It certainly has been a stunning season for German football. It comes close to rivalling the current Welsh golden age.”

Townsend: “Certainly does, Clive. Well of course everyone’s been talking about the Germans, but what about Mourinho? He’s the Special One Clive, and it’s in games like this that he has to prove it and work some managerial miracles. This is name on the trophy stuff for Jose.”

[Dortmund suddenly snatch an early goal through Mario Götze. Madrid now have to score six to progress.]

Tyldesley: “An astonishing goal there from Mario Götze which may be the strike that sends his team to the final. An extraordinary dribble and finish. They’re going to miss him next year once he’s transferred to Bayern Munich aren’t they Andy?”

Townsend: “They certainly are Clive. He’s a unique talent and I can’t understand for the life of me how they let him leave for Dortmund last year. He’s certainly improved over this season though compared to the player we saw struggling to score in last year’s final against Chelsea. He looks shorter though, a little younger too perhaps… just goes to show how energising Dortmund’s football has been this season…”

Tyldesley: “I think that’s Mario Gomez, Andy, who plays for Bayern Munich. Mario Götze is Dortmund’s highly rated youngster.”

[Dead air reigns. Townsend is clearly struggling to comprehend what’s being said]

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - Barcelona v Arsenal - Stade de France

Tyldesley: “Speaking of last year’s final, Madrid must now score six, but they are at home and with Cristiano Ronaldo in your team and Jose Mourinho as your manager, there’s always hope. Will Dortmund now have to hang on in there to see this through like Chelsea did last year. Could this match turn into trench warfare for the Germans?”

[Townsend splutters back into action]

Townsend: “Clive, last year was a special win for Chelsea, which I don’t think we’ll ever see repeated. They were brave, had heart and clearly wanted to win, which are the qualities all the best teams possess: heart. You’re never going to get anywhere in this competition without heart.

[Eyes glazed over, almost weeping]

“Last year’s final was the Churchilian spirit in action Clive, and a great advert for English football. It was our Dunkirk.”

[Nervous laughter]

Tyldesley: “Well, don’t mention the war Andy…”

Townsend: “Of course Clive, that would be in bad taste. These Germans have been a breath of fresh air in this year’s competition, and we don’t have to worry about putting out the fires at St Paul’s this time they fly into London. Germany are a top class country these days”

Tyldesley: “Where does this leave English clubs though, with no teams in the semi-finals this year? Will the likes of world class talent such as Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones have to swallow their medicine and come back stronger next year?”

Townsend: “Certainly so Clive. It’s been tough for the Premier Leauge clubs this season Clive, no question about that. But you forget, we’re talking about the Premier League here. Your Manchester United’s and your Manchester City’s will be back next year. I think for English clubs, 2014 is their D-Day.

[Andy Townsend talks about the Premier League for the next 10 minutes]

“… I tell you what though, Clive, I’ll be glad when this nonsense is over and the group stages are back with the likes of Phil Jones rather than these G-g-gund-ooo-gan fellas. I just want to talk about Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones, and not pretend to know about Ilkay G-g-gundoogan and Blasywhatski. This competition is poorer for the lack of Premier League stars.”

[Dortmund’s midfield fashions a chance for Lewandowski who is blocked by Varane]

Tyldesley: “So close! What a chance for the German, he’s unlucky there.”

Townsend: “Yeah, he’ll be disappointed with that there no question. But I tell you what though Clive, I do like the look of this Gunner-doggun bloke. He looks tasty. That was a really good ball through to the German forward. He’s got a real engine, an eye for a pass and a foot like a traction engine. Most importantly though, he’s got that desire and spirit which sets him apart from the rest of this side.”

Tyldesley: You’re certainly right there, Andy. Is this the Chelsea blueprint in action then?

Townsend [puffs his chest out and clings the mic to his mouth]: “Yeah I’m glad you’ve asked me that Clive and I couldn’t agree more. What Bobby di Matteo achieved last year will never be replicated. It’s a travesty he hasn’t been granted the opportunity of defending his trophy.

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[Andy Townsend talks about the 2012 Champions League final for the next 10 minutes]

“… The longer this goes on Clive, and the longer it stays like this, the more I fancy Mourinho and Madrid to fashion an historic victory.”

[Townsend looks at the scoreline which reads ‘Real Madrid 0-3 Borussia Dortmund’]

“… Well like I was saying Clive, Phil Jones is without doubt…”

[Townsend spends the rest of the game, including the half time interval, comparing Phil Jones to Franco Baresi]

“… And that, Clive, is why England will win the World Cup.”

Tyldesley [audibly groggy, lets out a yawn and springs back into exuberant life]: “Well there you have it. The unknown Germans have clawed their way to Wembley. It will be an all-German affair at the home of football…

[Townsend murmurs off mic about England inventing football]

“… but, you heard it here first, England will be bringing Jules Rimet home next year.”

Townsend: “And I tell you what, Clive, we’ll do it playing 4-4-2. Not this, I don’t even know what this is. It’s just numbers on a sheet of paper.”

Tyldesley: “Ha! Well the Germans are certainly doing well with their numbers at the minute!”

Townsend: “They certainly are Clive.”

Tyldesley: ”Back to the studio to Adrian, I hope you haven’t been invaded yet boys!”

[The camera cuts to the ITV studio as Roy Keane stands over a harrowed Gareth Southgate]

Chiles [his affable demeanour betrayed by a hint of panic]: Err… Deutschland Über Alles! Dortmund certainly haven’t taken any prisoners tonight. Stay tuned after the break for the thoughts of Roy, Ga- [Southgate screams] … sorry, from Roy and Lee. Bye for now.”

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