Bayern Munich vs Barcelona
Bayern Munich won 6-1 away against Hannover 96 last Saturday for Bundesliga. Had very good rhythm, dominated in every sector and created many opportunities with great percentage of accuracy. Also, the coach, Jupp Heynckes, managed to rest some of his key players.
The main problem of Bayern is the absence of Mario Mandzukic who is suspended. Logically, Mario Gomez will cover his position, as he also played as a striker in the last two games for Bundesliga and Claudio Pizarro was the central attacking midfielder. Generally, Pizarro can offer both as second or top striker but only for a few minutes, in so demanding games.
Bayern has 14 wins, five draws and one defeat in twenty home games against Spanish teams in European competitions, while the player statements shows that Barcelona is treated with respect and no fear. Midfielder Toni Kroos loses his sixth consecutive match, while long term absence is defender Holger Badstuber.
Barcelona did not achieved good performance in the recent home match against Levante, missed a penalty and many opportunities, had a canceled goal, but eventually scored five minutes before full time and won 1-0. With this result, Barcelona came closer to win the title. If next Saturday will win against Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid will lose against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona will lift the trophy.
For now the league is not to their minds, as tonight Barcelona chasing a result that would keep their hopes alive for the final of Champions League. In order to succeed, however, they must bend the most formed team of Europe, in a time where Barcelona players are not at their best condition, as proved by the difficulty they won against PSG in the quarterfinals.
Lionel Messi will be 100% ready tonight, since he didn’t played any game after the match against PSG, was rested and now available to his coach, Tito Vilanova. A major problem for Barcelona is the center of defense, since Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano are both injured and Adriano is punished.
A position should be covered by Eric Abidal, who played 90 minutes against Levante, but he comes after a surgery and the requirements of tonight’s match are very high. The 22-year old Marc Bartra is the favorite to start in center of defense. Rested and fresh is Sergio Busquets, while alongside Messi will be Pedro and Alexis, who is more active from David Villa.
For the first time after a very long time, Barcelona is considered as an outsider and it’s clear from the statements of players, that it’s an additional incentive for the Catalans. Over 2.5 is probably risky, don’t forget that we’re talking about the first semifinal of Champions League, where the possibilities of a great match are enough, but the philosophy and the attacking lines of both teams, forcing us to look for lot of goals. If the first goal will come quickly, odds for over 2,5 will be great, so it worth the risk.