Bayern Munich-Barcelona Preview: Bavarian giants out to draw first blood in heavyweight duel
Jupp Heynckes' high-flying side welcome the Blaugrana to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night for the first leg of a blockbuster semi-final between two European powerhouses
By Karthick Arvinth
Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic will miss the Champions League showdown against Barcelona through suspension.
Philippe Lahm, Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger should all return to the starting line-up after being rested for Saturday's 6-1 win over Hannover, but long-term injury victims Toni Kroos (groin) and Holger Badstuber (knee) remain absent.
|Bet:||Returns:||Bayern £13.30||Draw £55.00||Arsenal £80.00|
|Bet:||Returns:||Bayern £12.90||Draw £57.50||Arsenal £90.00|
|Bet:||Returns:||Bayern £13.00||Draw £55.00||Arsenal £85.00|
Lionel Messi has handed Barcelona a major boost by returning to full training after missing the last two games with a hamstring strain - though has not been given the all-clear yet.
Defenders Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano (both knee) and Adriano (suspension) are all out so youngster Marc Bartra is likely to partner Gerard Pique in central defence.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bayern Munich have won 18 of their last 19 matches in all competitions, with the solitary defeat coming against Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16 second leg.
- The Bavarian giants have lost just one of 20 previous home encounters against Spanish opponents (W14, D5, L1).
- Bayern have won three of their six previous meetings with Barcelona in European competition (W3, D2, L1).
- Philipp Lahm, Dante and Luiz Gustavo will miss the return leg if they get booked on Tuesday night.
- The Blaugrana are on an eight-match unbeaten run on German soil stretching back to 2001. Their overall record away record against Bundesliga teams is W9, D10, L5.
- Xavi (pictured, right) has completed 1,005 passes in the Champions League this season, 470 more than any other player, at an 88% success rate.
- Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Alex Song will incur a ban with their next bookings.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Bayern München 1-2 FC Barcelona
- 16.88 %
FC Bayern München 2-1 FC Barcelona
- 14.47 %
FC Bayern München 2-0 FC Barcelona
- 12.92 %
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Jul 24, 2013||FC Bayern München 2 - FC Barcelona 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||May 1, 2013||FC Barcelona 0 - FC Bayern München 3|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 23, 2013||FC Bayern München 4 - FC Barcelona 0|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Jul 27, 2011||FC Barcelona 2 - FC Bayern München 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 14, 2009||FC Bayern München 1 - FC Barcelona 1|
|FC Bayern München|
|Mar 8, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 1 - FC Bayern München 6||GER1|
|Mar 1, 2014||FC Bayern München 5 - Schalke 04 1||GER1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Hannover 96 0 - FC Bayern München 4||GER1|
|Feb 19, 2014||Arsenal 0 - FC Bayern München 2||UCL|
|Feb 15, 2014||FC Bayern München 4 - SC Freiburg 0||GER1|
|5||Daniel Van Buyten||Defender|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
The Germany international followed up his quickfire hat-trick in the DFB-Pokal semi-final against Wolfsburg by netting twice in the 6-1 rout of Hannover on Saturday. With Barcelona's defence decimated through injury and suspension, Gomez will be out to take advantage and push Bayern into a first-leg lead.
The Argentine's expected return to action will provide a massive lift to Barcelona in their bid to reach a third Champions League final in five years. Messi's forward play proved to be the difference against Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the previous rounds and he will be the biggest threat to the home side's treble aspirations.
Barcelona are no great shakes away from home, but Messi's return will give them hope they can oust a formidable Bayern side. The newly-crowned Bundesliga champions are in exceptional form and they will look to put the visitors' understrength rearguard under pressure whenever possible. Bayern are favourites, however slight.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed