Despite an incredible comeback against Liverpool to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, 2019-20 was looking like far from a vintage season for Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone's side sat sixth in LaLiga when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of most sport around the world and had suffered a humiliating Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Cultural Leonesa in January.

However, six years ago they took a significant step in one of the most memorable campaigns in their history.

We look back at that and other standout sporting moments that occurred on April 9 through the years.

 

1912 – A Fenway first

It may not quite have been finished yet, but Fenway Park opened its doors for the first time for an exhibition match between the Boston Red Sox and the Harvard Crimson. After being forced to change at the nearby Park Riding School due to the clubhouse not being open yet, the players trudged through the snowy conditions to the diamond for the start of a new era. Casey Hageman threw Fenway Park's first pitch for the Red Sox to Harvard batter Dana Joseph Paine Wingate and he soon had the first of nine strikeouts.

1989 – Faldo in green

After heading into moving day in a tie for the lead, Faldo's hopes of triumphing at Augusta National and winning a second major appeared to be over when he slipped five shots off the pace upon completing his third round on Sunday morning. However, he ended up with the clubhouse lead later in the day by carding a brilliant seven-under 65 and a missed five-foot par putt on the 17th for Scott Hoch meant the two went into a play-off. Hoch's putting again let him down as he failed to close out the first sudden-death hole from two feet, and Faldo punished him by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt at the next to don the green jacket for the first time. He would go on to win the tournament twice more.

1995 – Tendulkar shows signs of greatness to come

At the age of 21, the man who would go on to be dubbed the 'Little Master' scored his fourth ODI century as India defeated Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match in Sharjah. Thanks to Tendulkar's outstanding 112 not out, India chased down their victory target of 203 with just under 17 of their 50 overs remaining. Tendulkar consequently became the youngest player to reach 3,000 ODI runs.

2013 – Dortmund deliver incredible comeback

There is something special about Champions League nights at Signal Iduna Park and the second leg of Dortmund's quarter-final against Malaga delivered a thoroughly memorable game. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg at La Rosaleda, Joaquin put Malaga ahead in the 25th minute, but Robert Lewandowski ensured Jurgen Klopp's side went into half-time on level terms. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Dortmund when Eliseu tapped in a second away goal from close range with eight minutes remaining, leaving the hosts needing to score twice more to avoid elimination. Marco Reus pulled them level in the first added minute and Felipe Santana bundled home in the 93rd minute to complete an incredible turnaround – though he appeared to be offside when he turned Julian Schieber's goal-bound effort home.

2014 – Atletico back in the semi-finals

Simeone led Atletico to Europa League glory in his first season at the helm and added the Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup in 2012-13. They appeared to be destined for new heights when they claimed a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory and book their place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1974. Koke's back-post volley kept Atletico's hopes of a Champions League and LaLiga double alive, but they were only able to win the latter after Real Madrid beat them in the European final in Lisbon.

When Barcelona were in danger of losing to Arsenal in the 2009-10 Champions League quarter-finals, Lionel Messi – as he so often does – turned the game on its head.

Monday marks 10 years since Messi took that game against Arsenal by the scruff of the neck and produced one of the stand-out displays of his illustrious career.

The Argentina great has lifted the Champions League trophy on four occasions and is the second-highest scoring player in the competition's history, sitting 14 adrift of all-time leader Cristiano Ronaldo's haul of 128 goals.

We take a look back at some of Messi's greatest performances in the Champions League

 

April 6, 2010 – Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (6-3 agg)

After they came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the first leg at Emirates Stadium, Nicklas Bendtner put Arsenal ahead for the first time in the tie after 19 minutes in the return game at Camp Nou.

Messi ensured it was Barcelona who progressed to the semi-finals, though.

He slammed a stunning finish past Manuel Almunia two minutes later and slotted home a pass from Pedro to double his tally.

A stunning chip over Almunia gave Messi his hat-trick before half-time, and he rounded off the 4-1 victory by grabbing a fourth at the second attempt after the Arsenal keeper stopped his initial effort at the end of a fine solo run.

 

April 27, 2011 – Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona

A semi-final Clasico made for a mouth-watering prospect and, of course, Messi delivered on the grand stage.

No list of his greatest goals would be complete without his second against arch-rivals Madrid. A one-two with Sergio Busquets enabled him to race free of Lassana Diarra and he shifted through the gears to skip away from Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol.

He then darted in front of Marcelo and slid the ball beyond Iker Casillas to silence the Santiago Bernabeu.

A 1-1 draw in the second leg sent Barca into the final to face Manchester United…

 

May 28, 2011 – Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United

In a repeat of the 2009 final, the outcome at Wembley proved the same.

Messi caused Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic problems from the off and, with the game locked at 1-1 after Wayne Rooney cancelled out Pedro's opener, he found the back of the nine minutes after half-time.

After dropping deep from his centre-forward position, he received a pass from Andres Iniesta and drove forward before unleashing a powerful effort into the bottom-right corner.

David Villa completed the scoring as Barca came out on top against Alex Ferguson's side again.

 

March 7, 2012 – Barcelona 7-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen were on the receiving end of the greatest individual goalscoring display in Champions League history.

Messi became the first player to score five in a single game in Europe's premier club competition, enrapturing Camp Nou with a supreme performance in the second leg of this last-16 tie.

He got the ball rolling by scooping a long pass from Xavi beyond Bernd Leno, while his second came in trademark fashion – dribbling across the box from the right and firing a left-footed shot into the corner.

After a delightful chip to secure his hat-trick in the 49th minute, a stunning exchange of passes with Pedro preceded an error from Leno that Messi nipped in to punish.

A cool 18-yard finish left coach Pep Guardiola with an astonished look on his face. He had witnessed a performance for the ages.

 

May 6, 2015 – Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich

Guardiola returning to Camp Nou as Bayern boss was the big story ahead of kick-off, but Messi was the only subject of conversation after the final whistle.

It took 77 minutes for Messi to find the breakthrough, and his second three minutes later likely still gives Jerome Boateng nightmares.

He sent Germany international Boateng to the deck by turning inside and back out on the right side of the box. He then sent a wonderful dink over Manuel Neuer.

To cap things off Messi fed Neymar for a counter-attacking third in the 94th minute, and Barca went on to beat Juventus in the final and claim the trophy.

Virgil van Dijk wants to be remembered as a "Liverpool legend" when his playing days are over.

The Dutch centre-back has been a revelation since joining the club in January 2018, playing a major role in transforming Liverpool from top-four hopefuls to Champions League winners and Premier League leaders.

Before the coronavirus pandemic caused the indefinite suspension of top-level football, Liverpool were 25 points clear at the top of the English top-tier, potentially two wins from their first title in the Premier League era.

Van Dijk is widely considered a major reason for their successes, narrowly missing out on last year's Ballon d'Or to Lionel Messi.

The Netherlands international, 28, feels a connection with the club and is hopeful he will be seen as one of Liverpool's greatest players when he hangs up his boots.

When asked how he wants to be remembered when his career ends, he told Sport: "As a Liverpool legend. I want to achieve incredible things here.

"We have a fantastic team, we don't lack anything, we have all the tools necessary to on winning: a coach that we identify with, a versatile squad, a style of play that breeds victories, a stadium and supporters that play their part.

"Yes, I would like to be one of those players that return to Anfield after retiring. I see club legends at games and I feel part of a really big family."

Although a first league title in 30 years appears certain when the COVID-19 hiatus ends, Liverpool will not be retaining their European crown as they were eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the club's final game before the suspension.

There will be no Olympic Games in 2020, but 124 years ago saw the rebirth of the great sporting spectacle.

Arsenal were swept aside by the brilliance of Lionel Messi in a thrilling Champions League game at Camp Nou, while Bayern Munich brought an end to Borussia Dortmund's hopes of dethroning them in the Bundesliga.

Robert Parish set a record for the most NBA games appeared in, and Sri Lanka got their hands on the World Twenty20 trophy at the expense of India.

We look back at some of the standout sporting moments that have happened on this day.

 

1896 – The start of a new Olympic era

The ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Games got back under way 1,500 years after they were outlawed by Roman Emperor Theodosius I in a bid to suppress paganism.

Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin was pivotal to their revival, spearheading the formation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894 and subsequently the first Games of the modern era, which were held in Athens.

A crowd of 60,000 people turned up for the start of a spectacle that saw 280 participants from 13 nations take part in 43 events.

 

1996 – 'The Chief' makes NBA history

In a meeting between the Charlotte Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, towering center Parish played his 1,561st NBA game to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and set a new record.

He had 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the 93-89 win over the Cavaliers.

Parish made his name with the Boston Celtics, with whom he won three NBA championships, and had made 1,611 appearances across 21 seasons when he called it quits after claiming his third ring with the Chicago Bulls in 1997.

 

2010 – Messi fires against Gunners

Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to draw the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona 2-2, and Nicklas Bendtner put the Gunners ahead in the return match at Camp Nou.

However, Messi flashed a stunning effort past Manuel Almunia two minutes later and, after slotting home a pass from Pedro, he had a hat-trick before the break thanks to a brilliant chip over the Arsenal goalkeeper.

An excellent solo effort sealed a 4-1 triumph in the 88th minute that sent Barca through to a semi-final with Jose Mourinho's Inter, who stunned them at Camp Nou and went on to claim the treble.

 

2014 – A T20 first for Sri Lanka

Some excellent death bowling from Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara limited India to a below-par 130-4 in a thrilling World T20 final in Dhaka.

Despite slipping to 65-3 in their chase, Sri Lanka surged to their first title by securing a resounding six-wicket victory with 13 balls remaining.

Kumar Sangakkara made an unbeaten 52 in his final T20I and Thisara Perera blasted 23 off 14 deliveries, which included three sixes.

 

2019 – Dortmund obliterated in Der Klassiker

Bayern's chances of clinching a seventh straight Bundesliga title were in danger of being blown apart when Dortmund arrived at the Allianz Arena for the 28th round of matches with a two-point lead at the top, though their advantage had stood at nine points in December.

The Bavarian giants made light work of Lucien Favre's side in a brutal display of supremacy, storming into a four-goal lead by half-time thanks to efforts from former Dortmund duo Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski, as well as Javi Martinez and Serge Gnabry.

Lewandowski tapped in a cross from Thomas Muller with a minute remaining to complete BVB's 5-0 humiliation, a result that ended their hopes of dethroning Bayern.

Axel Tuanzebe wants the crop of Manchester United academy graduates in the first team to emulate the achievements of the lauded 'Class of 92' generation.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put greater emphasis on bringing youngsters into the senior fold since taking the job on a permanent basis last year.

Tuanzebe, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams, Tahith Chong, James Garner and Angel Gomes are all United academy products to have been involved this season.

Last December, the Red Devils passed 4,000 consecutive matches in all competitions with an academy graduate involved in the matchday squad.

Centre-back Tuanzebe is hopeful they can continue to be a core part of the senior set-up for years to come, much as Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville spearheaded successful years under Alex Ferguson.

"It's just like the 'Class of 92', that's something we've been wanting to replicate," he told United's website.

"This group of lads now that we have coming through, the oldest being Andreas and Scott, the youngest being Angel, Jimmy, Brandon and Mase, that bunch there can build the new foundation for the club.

"We have the club's identity installed in us. We help portray that identity to foreign players and help teach them the way of our club and to become better people, better players.

"It's something that's been the club's identity for many, many years and I'm sure there'll be more players to come through."

Tuanzebe believes last season's shock victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 proves the quality in the United ranks.

Five academy graduates played as Solskjaer's side, weakened by injury and suspension, claimed a 3-1 win at Parc des Princes to progress to the last eight on away goals after losing the first leg at Old Trafford 2-0.

"It speaks for itself, really. For so many boys to be involved in a Champions League game away from home, I don't think it's really been done," Tuanzebe added.

"The talent coming through is overwhelming. A lot are playing first-team football now, and a lot of them are capable of going to other teams in the Premier League and playing first-team football.

"So, I think our academy is very strong and obviously there's just more to come."

UEFA has denied president Aleksander Ceferin set a deadline of August 3 for the Champions League and Europa League finals to be completed.

Ceferin was widely reported as telling German broadcaster ZDF on Saturday that the competitions, which have been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, needed to be completed by that date.

With the majority of European leagues on hiatus, UEFA postponed Euro 2020 and all its internationals in June to help clubs complete the 2019-20 campaign.

However, with football unlikely to be able to return imminently, the chances of clubs delivering on a pledge to complete their seasons by June 30 remains a source of contention.

UEFA has now stated quotes attributed to Ceferin were false and the possibility of games being played in July and August is under consideration if required.

The statement read: "It has been reported that UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, told ZDF in Germany that the UEFA Champions League must finish by August 3. This is not true.

"The president was very clear not to set exact dates for the end of the season. 

"UEFA is currently analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on March 17. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health. 

"Following on from that, it is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions. Options are currently being studied to play matches in July and in August if needed, depending on restart dates and the permission of national authorities."

Atalanta can continue their impressive run in the Champions League and go all the way to the final, according to Zico.

The Serie A side have been a surprise package this season, recovering after losing their opening three group games to reach the knockout stages in their debut campaign in Europe's leading club competition.

They then saw off Valencia 8-4 on aggregate - winning both the home and away legs in the last-16 tie - to continue their progression before the Champions League was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Their performances have certainly impressed Zico, with the Brazil legend putting Atalanta alongside Atletico Madrid - who knocked out last year's winners Liverpool to reach the last eight - and Manchester City as potential candidates for glory.

"A month ago, I'd have said Liverpool were the favourites to win the Champions League, but they dropped in form too quickly and were eliminated," Zico said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid are among the candidates. When you beat the reigning champions, it means you can go all the way with extra belief. I believe Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are the best.

"Among the Italians, I'd say Atalanta. They play fantastic football, have a very strong collective and I can see them reaching the final.

"Beating Atalanta is very difficult, Manchester City realised that."

Atalanta are on course to qualify for the Champions League again through their league exploits, too. They sit fourth in the Serie A table, three points clear of nearest rivals Roma with a game in hand.

However, it is unclear when action will resume. Italy has been one of the countries to suffer the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 15,000 recorded deaths from the virus.

Neymar needs to match the professionalism of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, according to Brazil great Zico.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar has scored 69 goals in 80 appearances in all competitions since arriving at the Parc des Princes from Barcelona for a world-record transfer fee of €222million in August 2017.

The 28-year-old has won every domestic title available in France but injuries, and now the coronavirus pandemic, have blighted his attempts to lead PSG to success in the Champions League.

Neymar has been heavily linked with a return to Barca and a reunion with Messi and Luis Suarez, alongside whom he formed one of the most formidable attacking units in modern football.

Zico has no doubt about Neymar's talent, but feels he will be unable to reach the levels of Messi and Juventus star Ronaldo – who have won the Ballon d'Or 11 times between them – without changing his attitude.

"I really like Ney, his way of playing is incredible. But he has to be more professional like Ronaldo and Messi, who live for football," Zico told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Ney has too many thoughts that distract him. I spoke to him recently and asked him to be more professional.

"He is 28 years old now and there is a good team at PSG. They can win the Champions League.

"It will depend on his quality throughout the tournament, not just for one match. Now Ney has more experience and maturity."

Neymar has returned to Brazil during the coronavirus pandemic to be closer to his family.

He drew criticism in February for hosting a birthday party at a Paris nightclub just two days before PSG were due to face Nantes.

Neymar was subsequently ruled out of the game due to a rib injury, though the club stressed it had been sustained in the previous fixture against Montpellier.

Following his return to action, he scored in both legs of PSG's Champions League last-16 triumph over Borussia Dortmund to book their place in the quarter-finals.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed August 3 as the latest possible date for the 2019-20 Champions League final.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a prolonged hiatus for sport in almost every country, with the European football system impacted on an unprecedented scale.

Many of the top leagues have been suspended indefinitely and the pause forced UEFA to postpone Euro 2020 by 12 months, buying the club season a little more time.

The target is still for the 2019-20 campaign to be concluded by the end of June, but many doubt that is realistic, giving rise to debates about what will happen if the pandemic fails to ease.

Ceferin has at least attempted to offer clarity for the Champions League and Europa League campaigns, with cancellation seemingly on the cards if the competitions cannot be concluded by the start of August.

The UEFA president also indicated potential alterations to the knockout stages are under consideration.

"It must finish by August 3, both the Champions League and Europa League," Ceferin told German broadcaster ZDF.

"It is an extraordinary situation we are in, so we are flexible on dates and kick-off times. If the crisis eases earlier, then we can start sooner.

"We could play with the current system, or in one-off matches played on neutral turf. For now, it's just an option to play with a final eight or final four.

"The only wrong decision we could make now would be to play in a way that puts the health and safety of players, fans and referees at risk.

"However, if we are in secure conditions, then I don't see the problem."

It was a night to forget for Manchester City at Anfield, where Liverpool ran riot in the Champions League.

The Orlando Magic also came crashing back to earth after their home winning streak was ended by the Boston Celtics.

Sebastian Vettel topped the podium in Malaysia, and he had a team-mate alongside him back in 2010.

We take a look back at April 4 in sporting history.

 

2018 - Liverpool paint Merseyside red

City were greeted to a hostile reception on Merseyside and it was a sign of things to come in the opening leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

Liverpool fans attacked and damaged the City team coach on its way into the stadium, prompting an "unreserved" apology from manager Jurgen Klopp.

On the field, Liverpool blitzed Pep Guardiola's City 3-0 – scoring three goals in the first 31 minutes to take control of the blockbuster tie.

Goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane heaped misery on City, who were brushed aside 5-1 on aggregate as the Reds went on to reach the final.

 

1996 - Celtics burst Magic's bubble

Up until this day, the Magic had gone 51 consecutive games without defeat at home to Eastern Conference opponents.

It was an NBA-record run dating back to April 1994.

However, Orlando's streak was halted by Boston following a 100-98 defeat.

 

 

2010 - Vettel leads Red Bull in Malaysia

It was the Red Bull show as Vettel crossed the finish line ahead of team-mate Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Reliability issues had cost German star Vettel potential Formula One victories in Bahrain and Australia.

But Vettel overtook pole-setter Webber at the start and held on to secure a one-two for Red Bull, with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg third.

Hansi Flick has done enough to convince Bayern Munich to make him their permanent head coach, with the club confirming on Friday he had signed a contract until 2023.

A former assistant to Germany coach Joachim Low, Flick steadied the ship in the wake of Niko Kovac's sacking and has gone on to gain the second-best points-per-game record in Bundesliga history at 2.47 – only Pep Guardiola's 2.52 is better.

Bayern have scored 67 goals in their 21 games in all competitions since he took the helm and were on a 15-game unbeaten run when the coronavirus outbreak brought the majority of football in Europe to a halt.

We take a look at the games that may well have convinced Flick's superiors to keep him in the top job for the next three years.

 

November 9, 2019 - Bayern Munich 4-0 Borussia Dortmund

After overseeing a 2-0 Champions League win over Olympiacos in his first game at the helm, Flick's first taste of Bundesliga action came in Der Klassiker against Dortmund.

Despite the change of coach, Robert Lewandowski continued his fine scoring streak by taking his Bundesliga tally to 16 with a double – one goal either side of an effort from Serge Gnabry early in the second half.

An own goal from former Bayern defender Mats Hummels capped a resounding victory.

Lewandowski said: "Hansi Flick did a great job in just a few days to set us up tactically very well. The players believed directly in him and his words, he has breathed a new life into us."

During the international break that was followed it was confirmed Flick would stay on until at least Christmas.

 

December 11, 2019 – Bayern Munich 3-1 Tottenham

Flick went on to rack up four straight wins to start his tenure, but back-to-back defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach left Bayern seventh in the Bundesliga and seven points off top.

They quickly got back on track with a 3-1 win over Tottenham in a Champions League group-stage clash at the Allianz Arena.

Kingsley Coman scored the opener but was forced off in the 27th minute with a knee injury that kept him out for two months.

Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho made sure of the win after Ryan Sessegnon's equaliser, with Lewandowski remaining an unused substitute as Bayern reached the last 16 with maximum points.

 

February 1, 2020 – Mainz 1-3 Bayern Munich

Bayern confirmed Flick would see out the campaign during the mid-season break and this victory over Mainz made it seven straight successes in all competitions.

The reigning Bundesliga champions effectively put the game to bed within 26 minutes – Lewandowski, Muller and Thiago Alcantara scoring during a rampant first-half showing.

Most importantly, though, it sent the Bavarian giants to the top of the table and there has been no moving them since.

 

February 25, 2020 – Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich

A last-16 tie with Chelsea in the Champions League looked sure to provide plenty of entertainment and the first leg at Stamford Bridge was tightly poised at half-time.

Gnabry struck twice in the space of three minutes early in the second half to break the game open and Lewandowski's instinctive finish in the closing stages ensured Bayern left west London with a healthy aggregate lead.

The result carried even more weight given that it was the first time the teams had met in Europe's premier club competition since Chelsea defeated Bayern in the final at the Allianz Arena in 2012.

 

February 29, 2020 – Hoffenheim 0-6 Bayern Munich

Lewandowski suffered a broken tibia in his left leg against Chelsea and was consequently ruled out for approximately one month.

The Poland international had scored 39 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions for Bayern in 2019-20, but his team-mates stepped up to the mark in their first game without him.

In a match that was overshadowed by demonstrations against Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp that forced a stoppage in play, Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Joshua Zirkzee – who was making his first Bundesliga start – struck inside the opening 15 minutes and Coutinho made it 4-0 by half-time.

Coutinho doubled his tally early in the second half and Leon Goretzka rounded off a triumph that sent out a message to Bayern's title rivals.

Liverpool were set to emerge at the Etihad Stadium this weekend, either with the scent of triumph in their nostrils or the delicious addition of a guard of honour from Manchester City.

The coronavirus pandemic has placed elite sport across the globe on hold, meaning the latest episode of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp's captivating rivalry must wait.

Nevertheless, given their former employers Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were also due to meet in Der Klassiker, it feels like a good time to run the rule over two men whose tactical approaches and high levels of achievement have – and it does not feel too grandiose to suggest this – changed football in the 21st century, as well as one another.

THE BUNDESLIGA YEARS

Guardiola's arrival to take the reins of a treble-winning Bayern for 2013-14 came shortly after their rivalry with Klopp's Dortmund reached its peak.

Arjen Robben's 89th-minute winner saw Bayern down BVB 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley – a game played out against a backdrop of Dortmund's star playmaker Mario Gotze agreeing terms to move to Bavaria.

In hindsight, Klopp's gegenpressing machine – winners of back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12 – were coming off the top of their curve, having finished 25 points behind a relentless Bayern domestically that season.

The decline continued over the next two seasons. Dortmund were remarkably in relegation trouble halfway through 2014-15, before a post-Christmas recovery preceded Klopp's emotional farewell.

Nevertheless, there was still time for telling blows to be landed. Guardiola's first competitive game in charge saw Bayern beaten 4-2 in the 2013 DFL-Supercup at a delirious Signal Iduna Park.

Stung by that loss, Guardiola sprung a notable surprise in the first league encounter between the sides that November, where he broke Dortmund's rabid press by playing Javi Martinez as an attacking midfielder and repeatedly targeting the rangy Spain international with long balls.

The high priest of tiki-taka (a label Guardiola famously loathes) had presided over "more long balls than in the last three years combined" from a Bayern team, according to Klopp, who bristled after Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller added to Gotze's inevitable second-half opener in a 3-0 win.

A depleted Munich were similarly reactive when they won the DFB-Pokal final 2-0 in extra-time, even if flooding midfield numbers was a more recognisably Guardiola tactic.

Diverting from his dizzying 4-3-3 of swirling triangles has remained something the Catalan tactician has frequently done across his meetings with Klopp, and not always with the success he enjoyed in Germany.

HOLLOW VICTORIES AND THE PHONEY WAR

Klopp ended his homeland head-to-head against Guardiola with three victories, making it back-to-back Supercup triumphs in 2014, having claimed a 3-0 Bundesliga result at Allianz Arena earlier that year – the authority of which was dimmed by the fact Bayern had already cantered to the title.

Guardiola had four victories to his name, with one draw ultimately falling in Dortmund's favour as Bayern failed with all four of their penalty attempts in a 2015 DFB-Pokal semi-final shoot-out.

However, Klopp was denied a glorious farewell as his team lost in the final to Wolfsburg and the fact Robert Lewandowski had followed Gotze to Munich by this point underlined a deck stacked against him.

Liverpool came calling for Klopp in October 2015 and he helmed helter-skelter runs to the EFL Cup and Europa League finals. Manchester City and Sevilla prevailed respectively.

That was Manuel Pellegrini's final honour as City boss as he made way for Guardiola, who collected a third successive Bundesliga title in 2015-16. Thomas Tuchel's Dortmund finished closer in terms of position and points (second, 10 behind) than Klopp's version had managed when in direct competition.

With the stage presumably set for renewed hostilities between Guardiola and incoming Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, the similarly newly installed Antonio Conte did not read the script as Chelsea romped to 2016-17 Premier League glory.

Klopp got the better of his head-to-heads with City as a Georginio Wijnaldum goal sealed a 1-0 New Year's Eve win at Anfield before Sergio Aguero rescued a point for the hosts in the return game.

Guardiola laid it on thick after that 1-1 draw, declaring it to be "one of the most special days of my life".

"He is Spanish. They are a little bit more emotional than the Germans," Klopp chuckled in response.

TON-UP BUT NOT INVINCIBLE AND THE ROAD TO KIEV

Liverpool beat City three times in 2017-18, when most other teams could barely lay a glove on Guardiola's record-breaking side.

But the game where City prevailed, an unusual 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium where Liverpool subsided meekly after Sadio Mane's red card for clattering Ederson with a high boot, arguably had the biggest influence on the campaign.

When that game was 11 v 11, Guardiola's back three was horribly exposed. Aguero's opener arrived against the run of play, with an unusually wasteful Mohamed Salah having tormented Nicolas Otamendi.

City never used 3-5-2 in the league again that season, reverting to a swashbuckling 4-3-3 that churned out 19 consecutive wins and made the second half of the schedule a virtual procession.

Liverpool halted their designs on invincibility however, claiming a raucous 4-3 Anfield win in January. Klopp hailed "pressing from another planet" by his front three as Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah were all on target in a euphoric nine-minute spell after half-time.

Guardiola had again seen a swift avalanche of goals bring the roof in during a big match and his tweak to a 4-4-2 diamond, eyeing avenues around those Liverpool pressing lanes, backfired in that season's Champions League quarter-final.

A 3-0 first-leg loss at Anfield, with all the goals arriving during the first half, left City with a mountain to climb and a death-or-glory approach in the return fixture – deploying a formation probably best described as 3-CHARGE!!! – eventually ran out of steam in a 2-1 loss.

But it was Liverpool who came up short in the Kiev final on Loris Karius' nightmare outing against Real Madrid, while City sauntered to a 100-point haul as dominant Premier League champions. Sitting 25 points back in fourth, the Reds had a considerable gap to bridge.

CHASING PERFECTION

Despite that deficit, their efforts in going blow-for-blow with City over 90-minute periods left the impression Liverpool were the best placed of the pretenders to overthrow the champions.

Both teams reconvened on Merseyside undefeated in October 2018 and remained that way as the free-flowing nature of recent meetings gave way to a cagey 0-0 draw.

Reprising the theme of those early Klassiker meetings, Guardiola took his foot off the throttle as City played at a controlled tempo – an approach that would have ended the club's Anfield hoodoo but for Riyad Mahrez's ballooned late penalty.

Fire and brimstone returned the following January, though, with a wobbling City recovering their poise and avoiding a 10-point deficit at the top. Aguero and Leroy Sane were on target either side of Firmino in a bravura display, where Aymeric Laporte took on the unfamiliar role of left-back to stifle Salah.

That was Liverpool's only loss of the season as they finished on 97 points, agonisingly one shy of City. However, their subsequent Champions League final win over Tottenham improbably propelled them further along.

Just as Guardiola has tempered some of his more cavalier tendencies when faced with Klopp, the challenge of an unrelenting City also forced the Liverpool boss into subtle and decisive tweaks.

In bringing in Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, he spent big for what many see as the finest goalkeeper and centre-back on the planet. Their very presence means risk can be reduced.

Heavy metal football has given way to a steady pulsing beat that never wavers. In the city of Merseybeat, Klopp has gone electro.

Amid their steamrollering of the opposition this season, Liverpool have 19 wins by a solitary goal in all competitions. They are frighteningly and ruthlessly clinical. A profligate City trail in their wake, although Guardiola has used this relative freedom from pressure to thumb intriguingly through his tactical playbook in 2020.

Both men have inspired the other to reach beyond their comfort zones and the result is the two best teams in world football. With Klopp contracted to Liverpool until 2024 and Guardiola talking up an extended stay, the thought occurs that they are each other's motivation for sticking around. There is nowhere better to measure their greatness than against one another.

Ben Stokes must have endured nightmares over this day four years ago, when Carlos Brathwaite smashed West Indies to T20 World Cup glory in such dramatic fashion.

Gregg Popovich also has bad memories of April 3, having been ejected only 63 seconds into the San Antonio Spurs' NBA clash with the Denver Nuggets last year.

Lionel Messi scored two penalties when Barcelona beat Milan to reach the Champions League semi-finals on this day back in 2012.

We take a look back at April 3 in sporting history.

 

2016 - 'Remember the name' - Brathwaite goes berserk

Stokes has had plenty to celebrate in the past year, but the England all-rounder endured a horror show at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Windies all-rounder Brathwaite was the star of the show, blasting Stokes for four sixes off the first four balls of the final over to ensure his side became the first to win two World T20 titles.

Commentator and former West Indies bowler Ian Bishop belted out "remember the name" when Brathwaite sealed a stunning victory, having needed 19 off the final over.

While Stokes has gone on to better things, he will certainly not have forgotten the name of Brathwaite. 

 

2019 - Off you pop

Some spectators may not have taken their seats when Spurs coach Popovich was given his marching orders 12 months ago.

He took exception to a non-foul call and was issued a technical by official Mark Ayotte before being handed another by David Guthrie just over a minute after tip-off in an encounter with Denver.

The Nuggets went on to win 113-85 three nights after Popovich was also ejected during a loss to the Sacramento Kings.

2012 - Milestone for Messi as Milan crash out

There have been many days when Messi achieved a milestone and his half-century of Champions League goals came eight years ago to the day.

The Barcelona superstar made no mistake from the penalty spot twice as the Catalan giants beat Milan 3-1 to reach the last four.

There were no goals in the first leg at San Siro, but Messi proved to the match-winner, with Andres Iniesta netting the third. Chelsea ended Barca's run at the semi-final stage, though, winning 3-2 on aggregate.

Alessandro Del Piero lauded Paulo Dybala and believes the Juventus star has become "complete" after an off-season transfer saga.

Dybala, 26, was linked with a move away from the Serie A giants during the close season, but ended up staying before making an impressive start to the campaign.

The Argentina international had scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in 34 games before the season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Del Piero, a Juventus great, hailed the playmaker for his growth and said Dybala could be a future captain of the club.

"Paulo has already worn the armband a few times and if it has already happened it is because they consider him to be up to it," he told Sky Sport on Thursday.

"As far as I know him personally, I believe that his maturity has grown a lot, primarily due to the reaction he had after this summer, which underlines the growth in terms of personality.

"He has always been available and dedicated to work and I think he is complete in this respect too."

Juventus were top of Serie A and in the Champions League last 16 when the season was suspended.

Del Piero believes they can win the Champions League for the first time since 1996 if the campaign gets back underway.

"If the tournament will start again, Juve have everything to win this year," he said.

"There are teams that in different ways have the potential to win, but Juve can do it."

UEFA has postponed all national team matches scheduled to be played under its auspices in June, including the play-offs for the delayed Euro 2020 finals.

European football's governing body held a video conference on Wednesday with representatives from all 55 member associations.

Those involved considered recommendations made by the working groups UEFA set up last month to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After that meeting on March 17, it was confirmed Euro 2020 would be moved to June and July of next year, although play-off games were still slated to take place during the international break at the scheduled end of the 2019-20 season.

However, all UEFA matches are now postponed until further notice, while deadlines relating to the 2020-21 campaign for the organisation's club competitions are similarly on hold, with the prospect of football's shutdown going beyond the June 30 date where player contracts typically expire alluded to as a potential complication.

"The deadlines related to all 2020-21 UEFA club competitions are postponed until further notice, in particular as regards the admission process and the registration of players," a press release read. “UEFA will set new deadlines in due course."

At the initial meeting, UEFA made a commitment to try and complete all European and domestic club competitions by the end of June – a prospect that appears increasingly fanciful as leagues across the continent remain suspended with little sign of a resumption.

UEFA has also stated it will relax Financial Fair Play and club licensing measures related to its 2020-21 competitions as clubs deal with unprecedented times.

"The Executive Committee reiterated its full commitment to club licensing and Financial Fair Play and agreed that the current exceptional circumstances necessitate some specific interventions to facilitate the work of member associations and clubs," the statement read.

"It supports the proposal to give member associations more time to complete the club licensing process, until the admission process for next season’s UEFA club competitions has been redefined.

"As a result of the increasing uncertainty generated by the ongoing extraordinary events, the executive committee also decided to suspend the club licensing provisions that relate to the preparation and assessment of clubs' future financial information. This decision applies exclusively for participation in the 2020-21 UEFA club competitions."

Additionally, UEFA cancelled its European Under-17 Championship and European Women's Under-19 Championship, scheduled for May and July respectively.

The corresponding European Under-19 Championship and European Women's Under-17 Championship are postponed with the aim of rearranging, given they double up as qualifying competitions for FIFA's U-20 World Cup and U-17 Women's World Cup.

Next month's UEFA Futsal Championship League finals have also been postponed until further notice.

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