Pep Guardiola returns to Camp Nou to take on his former team in the UEFA Champions League Semi-final. Guardiola was the coach for Barcelona from 2008 to 2012 then took the reigns of Bayern Munich in 2013. With Barcelona, he knows all about Champions League as he has won two titles. His former team is standing in the way of him making it to the Final. Messi and company aren’t going to let him get there easily. It should be a down to the wire first leg.
Barcelona vs. FC Bayern Munich – Camp Nou – 2:45 EST – FOX Sports 1
The leaders of La Liga, Barcelona have won the past six games and not conceding in the last five. The last two outings alone have been a total of 14-0. Barcelona comes in red hot with La Liga coming down to the last few matches staying ahead of both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Real is only back two points as Atletico is behind by eleven.
The back line of Bayern Munich will have to be top notch against the trio of Neymar, Suarez, and Messi. Those three have started to produce in this past stretch to score goals and help each other out to make plays.
Barcelona will be without centerback Jeremy Mathieu as he picked up an achilles tendon problem. Bayern will definitely have to utilize this to their advantage.
What Barcelona does well is pass the ball and they will have to continue the trend on Wednesday afternoon to stay in this one. Barcelona has completed just shy of 7,000 passes during the tournament.
As for Bayern Munich, they had had a rough couple of games losing to Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 just four days ago. Before that, they went up against Borussia Dortmund of the Bundesliga in the German Cup semi-finals and lost that game in penalty kicks. Even with the loss to Leverkusen they have clinched the Bundesliga title for the third year in a row.
No doubt about it that Bayern is banged up a bit with the likes of Ribery not flying with the team to Barcelona. The list of injured players along with Ribery includes Robben, Alaba, and Badstuber. Luckily for them, Lewandowski has joined the team and is planning to play. He fractured his cheekbone and nose in the loss to Dortmund so most likely if he plays he will be wearing a protective mask.
The last time these two teams met in the semi-finals was just two years ago and Bayern Munich absolutely destroyed Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate.
Since the beginning of the group stage, Barcelona has scored 10 goals at home while only conceding 2. Bayern has scored 11 goals on the road with giving up 7. Bayern definitely plays better at home with huge wins over FC Porto in the Quarter-final and beating Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 earlier in the competition.
You won’t have to worry about this game being low scoring as both clubs have a terrific offense with a superb defense to match. Both goalies are going to have to be in their absolute best form for this to be a great contest. This is definitely the game of the week as these two top flight clubs battle it out in the semi-finals of one of most prestigious tournaments of the year.
You don’t want to miss these high powered offenses go at one another with the first leg of the semi-finals up for grabs. Goals with be scored, fouls will be called, cards will be handed out, and you will definitely be on the edge of your seat watching this contest play out.