FC Bayern München vs Barcelona FC
Semi-finals, First leg - Allianz Arena Munchen
23/04/2013 - 20: 45 CET
Two teams with eyes on a fifth European crown, FC Bayern München and FC Barcelona, meet in a star-spangled semi-final contest, starting with the first leg in Germany.
For the second season running FC Bayern München take on a Spanish powerhouse in the UEFA Champions League semi-final. Last year they overcame Real Madrid CF; now they are looking to do the same to FC Barcelona. Bayern, the 2012 runners-up, have lost only once in their 20 home meetings with Spanish opposition but a tough challenge awaits against a Barcelona side competing in a record sixth successive UEFA Champions League semi-final.
Both clubs are chasing a fifth European crown and have another connection in Josep Guardiola. A UEFA Champions League winner with Barcelona as player and coach, he left the Camp Nou last summer after overseeing their 2009 and 2011 European triumphs. He will replace Jupp Heynckes – once coach of Madrid – at Bayern this summer.
Bayern Munich will host FC Barcelona at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening for the away leg of the Champions League semi-final.
Bayern have won 11 of their last 13 UEFA Champions League games on home Allianz Arena.
The German team, FC Barcelona's rival in the semi-finals of the Champions League, comfortably defeated Hannover 96.
Bayern Munich played away to Hannover 96 this Saturday afternoon ahead of the away leg of the Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona. Bayern didn’t have any problem bushing Hannover 96 aside as they won by 6 to 1.
One of the defining characteristics of Jupp Heynckes’ team is their lethal accuracy in front of goal. With forwards like Ribéry, Mario Gómez and Thomas Müller on the pitch, the Bavarian team crushed Hannover 96.
Javi Martinez is available again for Bayern after being suspended for the first leg against Juventus , but Toni Kroos injured his adductor in Munich which means there is likely to be a reshuffle in attack, with Arjen Robben wide on the right, Thomas Muller drifting inside to occupy the No.10 role and Franck Ribery wide left. Mario Mandzukic is likely to start again in attack against Barcelona after was troubled by the blow to the knee he collected in the act of scoring the opening goal against Wolfsburg in the midweek cup semi-final.
Heynckes is taking a tactical view with regards to his team and squad selection, asking himself two important questions: “Who's best able to cope with the Saturday–Tuesday rhythm at this stage, who still needs playing time? I'll bear that in mind when I pick the team."
The 67-year-old has already made up his mind about one or two positions. David Alaba returns to the team after shaking off a bout of gastric flu, with Franck Ribéry also restored to the side after suspension against Wolfsburg.
Bayern Munchen (4-2-3-1): Neuer -Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba - Martinez, Schweinsteiger- Robben, Muller, Ribery - Mandzukic .
Manager/Coach : Jupp Heynckes
Last games for Bayern:
20 Apr 2013Hannover 96 1 - FC Bayern München 6 GER1
16 Apr 2013FC Bayern München 6 - VfL Wolfsburg 1 GERC
13 Apr 2013FC Bayern München 4 - 1. FC Nürnberg 0 GER1
10 Apr 2013Juventus 0 - FC Bayern München 2 UCL
6 Apr 2013Eintracht Frankfurt 0 - FC Bayern München 1
Barcelona are looking to extend an eight-match unbeaten sequence on German soil, which has featured five wins and three draws.
FC Barcelona accepted their place in history – becoming the first club to make six consecutive UEFA Champions League semi-finals – with a certain degree of contentment but also relief.
Lionel Messi has been included in the Barcelona squad for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown with Bayern Munich - even though he has not yet been given the green light by club doctors to play at the Allianz Arena.
Messi is likely to return in attack instead of Frabregas, while Pedro is also in contention for a starting berth after recovering from a calf injury.
Blaugrana boss Tito Vilanova may deploy either Sergio Busquets or Alex Song in central defence in place of the inexperienced Marc Bartra to counter the attacking threat of the visitors.
The Liga leaders also revealed Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol will both miss the clash against the Bavarians through injury while Adriano is suspended. However, reserve team goalkeeper Oier will make the trip.
Last games for Barcelona
20 Apr 2013Barcelona 1 - Levante UD 0 LIGA1
4 Apr 2013Zaragoza 0 - Barcelona 3 LIGA
10 Apr 2013Barcelona 1 - Paris St. Germain (PSG) 1 UCL
6 Apr 2013Barcelona 5 - Mallorca 0 LIGA
2 Apr 2013Paris St. Germain (PSG) 2 - Barcelona 2
Possible line up for Barcelona (4-3-3 ): TValdés - Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba - Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta - Pedro, Messi, Villa
Manager/Coach: Tito Vilanova
Footballbetexpert score prediction: Bayern Munchen 2 - Barcelona 1
Champions League 2012-2013, Semi-finals, First leg
FC Bayern München vs Barcelona FC
Champions League Breaking News
Champions League news, results, fixtures and standings 21/04/2013Barcelona news:
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas moved Barcelona a step closer to the La Liga title with a late strike in a laboured 1-0 victory at home to mid-table Levante last night.
The 84th minute goal secured a win that took Barca to 84 points with six games left, 13 clear of champions Real Madrid who earlier beat Real Betis 3-1 with a Mesut Ozil double.
Both clubs fielded weakened sides with this week’s Champions League semi-finals taking priority.
Barca visit Bayern Munich for their first leg on Tuesday, and Real travel to play Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
Barcelona lined up with four full-backs in defence, Eric Abidal making his first start in over a year since having a liver transplant.
The forums have spoken. FC Bayern München, the team the digerati have selected as playing the best football in the Champions League this season, will prevail against FC Barcelona. In some places, you can even find Blaugrana supporters saying as much.
Bayern Munchen news:
New champions Bayern Munich demolished Hanover 6-1 yesterday to continue their record-breaking season in a perfect dress rehearsal for their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona this week.
Two goals from Claudio Pizarro and two from Mario Gomez helped Bayern to seal a season-record 26th Bundesliga win in a one-sided encounter that moved them on to a record-equalling 81 points with four games remaining.
The statistics seem to back up the view that the Bundesliga champions enter this tie as favourites. Jupp Heynckes' team have struck 22 goals this term – just one fewer than top-scoring Real Madrid CF – and won seven matches, more than any other side. Furthermore, Bayern's form in the knockout stages (P4 W3 D0 L1 F7 A3) is markedly more impressive than Barça's (P4 W1 D2 L1 F7 A5).
Bayern may have the stronger credentials on paper, but this is exactly how Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova would want everyone to think. Let someone else handle the pressure of being favourites for a change – see how they cope with the media reminding them there may never be a better opportunity to beat this great Barcelona team. And let the Catalan outfit's players for once enjoy the luxury of slightly lowered expectations. Bayern captain Philipp Lahm may already have cottoned onto this as he has rightly insisted the tie is a "50-50" affair.
Vilanova and Heynckes know that when you reach the last four of the Champions League, nothing is clear cut. Of the 38 semi-finals since the format changed in 1992/93, 13 were decided by a single goal on aggregate (one of which was in extra time), four on away goals and two on spot kicks. Both penalty shoot-outs were lost by José Mourinho, with Chelsea FC in 2007 and Madrid in 2012.
Meanwhile, many of the ties won by a significant margin featured sides that had got this far for the first time. All of this season's final four are seasoned campaigners in their own way and are unlikely to succumb to heavy defeats.So let us be clear about this: pre-match talk of favourites before any Champions League semi-final is, when you get down to it, little more than conjecture. It is nothing that the players and officials at either club will take too seriously.