| 7.4°C Dublin

Locked in a power struggle with himself

If there has been a realignment in European football, Jose Mourinho – a one-man trend – may yet have a say in its direction.

With good reason, the world hailed the performances of German teams last week. If Bayern Munich's performance was the more conclusive, Dortmund's was arguably even more thrilling, driven as it was by youth, energy and the club's incredible revival under the direction of Jurgen Klopp.

Dortmund overcame the news released before the first leg that Mario Götze would be signing for Bayern Munich in the summer. Since their victory, they have been told that Robert Lewandowski would be leaving for Bayern as well, or maybe Manchester United.

Klopp believes Lewandowski will stay for one more year but he was also able to shrug off the losses, at least for now. "Every year we lost one brilliant player and we get better and better and better," he said on Wednesday night.

While Götze will provide this year's profit, Klopp won't want to lose Lewandowski. Barcelona are interested in signing Mats Hummels and last Tuesday night demonstrated that they probably need him more than Dortmund.

If Madrid fail to turn the game around this week, it will be less significant than Barcelona's defeat. The power may be moving from Spain, but, precisely, it is being relinquished by Barcelona.

Real Madrid last played in a Champions League final in 2002. Without Mourinho, they have reached one semi-final since then. Without Madrid, Mourinho has reached four.

Spain dominated European football at the time of their last win. In 2000, Madrid beat Valencia in an all-Spanish final, while Italy and England have subsequently provided both finalists in the competition. Germany seems likely to be the fourth country to do so at Wembley on May 25 and there is no question that Munich have everything possible to dominate the competition, while Dortmund deserve to compete with them.

Klopp's ambition is concealed behind his disarming and goofy humour. With good reason, he appears baffled when asked if he will remain at Dortmund next season. The assumption that he must consider a move to England the inevitable next step in his career ignores the evidence of football and economics.

If Klopp left Germany for England now, it would be as if a writer left Paris in the 1920s because he heard the smart guys were heading to Boise, Idaho.

Pep Guardiola's arrival next season will give the Bundesliga their F Scott Fitzgerald, a brilliantly obsessive presence, although Mourinho still seems most suitable as Hemingway, and Germany is unlikely to be his next destination.

In the summer, Mourinho will probably return to Chelsea. He hasn't yet given up hope that he will arrive at Stamford Bridge as a European Cup winner again but it would be his most spectacular achievement.

He has not been able to impose the conditions that suit him at Madrid for a significant length of time even if there was a league victory over Barcelona last season. Iker Casillas talked last week about the change in his relationship with his manager and while there is always an intensity to Mourinho's management, usually he leaves with players weeping like Materazzi. Maybe only Ronaldo will cry this summer.

There was an indication in Mourinho's post-match comments that this squad continues to disappoint him. He spoke of the thoroughness of their preparation. Madrid knew, Mourinho said, that Dortmund – and Lewandowski – would do everything they ended up doing and they should have been able to stop them.

Instead, Madrid collapsed, conceding easily and playing a crazy offside in their own box which failed and, more importantly, deserved to fail.

When Mourinho was wedded to his players in an intense closeness, he knew that public criticism would guarantee a response. Now he is not so sure. There are few certainties in this world and there are even fewer when Sergio Ramos is involved. Mourinho has always been able to make the extraordinary seem possible but last week Dortmund did that while Mourinho was relatively passive on the touchline, switching Özil and Modric at half-time, but making no substitutions until Lewandowski had scored the fourth goal.

The leg was lost by then, thanks to Lewandowski's movement and poise. His third goal was stunning, with echoes of Marco Van Basten's first against England at the 1988 European Championships, and there were other similarities with the great Dutchman.

Mourinho said that he would wait until after last night's game against Atletico Madrid to discuss the return leg. Some of the reports of Mourinho's comments that the tie was not over seemed to believe there was something churlish in his refusal to concede defeat, but the contest is not finished and Mourinho will know that. Klopp knows it too.

Last Wednesday demonstrated that Mourinho lacks the players, or the players lack the will, to do what he demands of them.

Yet if Madrid were to score an early goal on Tuesday, the tie would look very different and perhaps the manifest destiny of an all-German final would not be so certain.

Dortmund, however, have more than just a three-goal advantage. They have a purpose and a resolve that is lacking in Real Madrid. Klopp stressed after Wednesday's game that his side would need to work as hard in the Bernabeu. It will be, as Hummels has said, "the most difficult match of our careers".

If they continue with their industry and they don't make the defensive errors to which Hummels in particular is prone, they should reach the final.

Mourinho will have to reinvent himself again if that happens. He will return to Chelsea as a popular hero but he will be returning to a club trying to live in a changed world. Abramovich's money should ensure that they can adapt to that change.

The truth about the shift in power may be subtly different. Just as investment banks are now more powerful than nations, the powerful clubs of the plutocrats and the corporations may be about to dominate ahead of any nation.

Bayern may have fan ownership but they also have powerful friends and sponsors. Football will not be dominated by nations but by football's equivalents of Singapore, sovereign city-states like PSG and Chelsea, who can attract sponsors not only because of their football but because of the city they play football in.

A Dortmund victory would be the strongest indication of another way, even if retaining the squad would be an even more ferocious statement of intent.

Certainly Real Madrid's defeat would not, of itself, be a surprise. Jose Mourinho has dominated the competition almost as much as any nation over the past 10 years and this may be the greatest change.

Since Mourinho arrived at the club, Madrid have been knocked out at this stage for the past two seasons so their likely exit on Tuesday doesn't indicate the fading of a superpower. Unless the suggestion is that the power which is fading is Mourinho's.

Irish Independent