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Champions League final preview: Barcelona - Manchester United
The Spanish champions will lock horns with the Premier League winners on Saturday at Wembley with European bragging rights on the line
Valdes; Dani Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa
Barca coach Pep Guardiola will be without the services of the injured Gabriel Milito and substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto, who is suspended. Carles Puyol could deputise at full-back, with Javier Mascherano employed in the centre of defence.
Guardiola is expecting fireworks at Wembley and had nothing but praise for his opponents on Saturday, saying: "They are one of the best teams in the world, and not just this year. We are proud to be playing them. I think it will be a good final."
|Manchester United (4-4-1-1)
Van der Sar; Fabio, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Park; Rooney; Hernandez
Leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov will have to be content with a place on the bench while Michael Carrick will likely hold off Darren Fletcher for a berth in midfield. Fabio should receive the nod ahead of his twin brother at right-back.
United manager Alex Ferguson is keen to win the CL trophy on English soil and warned his side not be in awe of his opponents, saying: "It is not good tactics to go into how good Barcelona are and show trepidation or apprehension about it. I don’t think that is our way."
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona have scored the most goals in this season's Champions League (27).
- The Catalans have faced Manchester United 10 times in European play. Their record against the English outfit is: W3 D4 L3.
- The Camp Nou giants have scored in their last 20 Champions League encounters. Rubin Kazan were the last team to shut them out back in November 2009.
- Lionel Messi is the CL's top scorer with 11 goals in the current campaign.
- Barcelona won the last European Cup final at Wembley in 1992 beating Sampdoria 1-0 after extra-time.
- Xavi and Sergio Busquets are the only two players to complete more than 1000 passes in the 2010-11 CL.
- Manchester United are riding a 12-game unbeaten streak in this year's edition of the Champions League.
- Edwin Van der Sar will make his 99th overall appearance in the competition on Saturday.
- The Red Devils have conceded only four goals in the tournament.
- Alex Ferguson's side have reached their third CL final in the last four years.
- United succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Barca in the 2009 final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
- Manchester United's last loss in the CL came against Bayern Munich in March 2010.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Barcelona 1-2 Man Utd.
- 21.37 %
FC Barcelona 2-0 Man Utd.
- 14.75 %
FC Barcelona 2-1 Man Utd.
- 10.84 %
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Aug 8, 2012||Man Utd. 0 - FC Barcelona 0|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Jul 31, 2011||FC Barcelona 1 - Man Utd. 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||May 28, 2011||FC Barcelona 3 - Man Utd. 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||May 27, 2009||FC Barcelona 2 - Man Utd. 0|
|May 12, 2013||Atletico Madrid 1 - FC Barcelona 2||LIGA|
|May 5, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Betis 2||LIGA|
|May 1, 2013||FC Barcelona 0 - FC Bayern München 3||UCL|
|Apr 27, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 2 - FC Barcelona 2||LIGA|
|Apr 23, 2013||FC Bayern München 4 - FC Barcelona 0||UCL|
|Returns:||Barcelona £19.50||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Draw £670.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Man Utd. £810.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|1||Edwin van der Sar||Goalkeeper|
|20||Fabio Da Silva||Defender|
|14||Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez||Striker|
The Fifa Ballon d'Or winner tops the Champions League scoring charts with 11 goals and could break the single-season record if he nets a brace in the final. The diminutive Argentine already holds the Barca record for most goals in the competition and will look to lead the Catalans to victory and add another accolade to his already overflowing collection.
It's been a rollercoaster type of season with plenty of ups and downs for the 25-year-old striker. A big game against Barca on Saturday would go a long way in helping erase some of the personal misery he endured earlier in the year. Will likely team up with Javier Hernandez in attack and will look to keep the Spanish outfit's back line on their toes.
The Red Devils seem to be peaking at the most opportune moment while Barca don't look as formidable as they were earlier in the season. Still, the Liga outfit are the favourites and it's hard to bet against the Catalan artists with Xavi and Andres Iniesta pulling the strings in midfield.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed