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Boca Juniors, Palmeiras provide rare Copa Libertadores group stage treat

In the last decade six teams have won Europe’s Champions League. And from a pool of 40, 15 clubs have made it through to the semifinals. wholesale nfl jerseys china This astonishing pattern would seem likely to be repeated this season, as Roma and Sevilla are the only ones who could add their name to the list of semifinalists, which seems unlikely after last week’s action.

The Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, are well placed to reach yet another semifinal — they have appeared in seven in the last 10 years. Bayern Munich, who have reached four of the last six years, also seem poised to get there once more.

No one has retained the Libertadores title since Argentine giants Boca Juniors managed the feat at the start of the century — a period when they had some epic duels with Palmeiras of Brazil.

Palmeiras were the 1999 champions. Boca beat them on penalties to win the title the following year, then beat them again — again on penalties — in the 2001 semifinal. They meet once more on Wednesday. The only Libertadores game to be played this week, it is a clash sufficiently glamorous to warrant the attention of the entire continent.

Boca Juniors are the only club to have reached the semifinals in three of the last 10 years — an achievement all the more impressive when their victory the previous season is factored in. They are the reigning Argentine champions, and with the domestic season coming to a close, are well set to retain their title.

Palmeiras have not always been so dominant, but the Sao Paulo club — like Boca a product of Italian immigration — have plenty of past tradition and many reasons for optimism. nfl jerseys wholesale china Their entirely rebuilt new stadium is generally considered to be the most impressive of all Brazil’s new grounds — and it is proving lucrative. Moreover, the club can count on a wealthy sponsor and has assembled a squad of enviable depth.