There is something familiar about Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Apart from the game being the 25th time, both clubs will be meeting, the referee for the clash, Bjourn Kuipers is no new face to the Los Blancos.
So, expect nothing strange when two of Europe’s most heralded teams meet again, this time, at the semi-final stage of the Champions League. Dutch referee, Kuipers has once again been entrusted with deciding the destinies of both clubs who are on the verge of making history.
While Bayern seeks to break its perennial semi-final hoodoo, since 2007, their opponents, Real want to become the first team to win the UEFA Champions League title thrice on the trot in the current era. Kuipers has so far officiated four Real Madrid Champions League games, and Madrid has lost just once on those four occasions.
Bjourn was the official in charge when Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid in Lisbon to win the Champions League in the 2012/2013 season. He was also in charge of this season’s group stage game between Madrid and Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park, where Madrid beat Dortmund 3-1.
The last game Bjourn handled between Real and Dortmund ended in a loss for the Spanish giants as Robert Lewandowski scored all four goals that gave the Germans victory on the night. Lewandowski just might return to haunt them again in the colours of Bayern, Wednesday night.
From his antecedents, referee Bjourn Kuipers has a no-nonsense disposition and that part of him could decide the outcome of Wednesday’s encounter. He has been known to flash the cards without hesitation, brandishing a record 16 red cards with two of them involving Bayern players, first against Napoli in 2012 and Manchester City in 2014.