Bayern favourites but Barca magic can prevail in Champions League

Going into the Champions League semi-finals, Bayern are seen as favourites but Mustapha "El Loco" Kamaruddin feels that Barca can still prevail


Many say that Bayern Munich are favourites to make it to the Champions League final at Wembley at the expense of Barcelona based on current form and injury problems the Spanish side are facing.

Bayern are looking good to dump Barca in the semi-finals - beginning with the first leg in Munich on Tuesday. The German outfit have been performing well and have been scoring goals as if there is no tomorrow.

And Bayern, who just won the Bundesliga title recently, seem to be improving in the defensive aspect as well.

A good example was when they shattered Juventus' dream of advancing further in this elite European competition by winning 4-0 on aggregate in the quarter-final.

Two clean sheets in two matches at such a crucial stage of the competition is indeed impressive.

Barca's millions of fans all over the planet are understandably worried that their beloved club will also suffer the same fate as the poor 'Old Lady'.

Like it or not, the Catalans are facing a tough task, which may well be decided in the first leg in Munich itself if they can't tighten up the shaky defence.

But try and tell Barca players that Bayern are favourites to make the final this time.

For instance, midfield genius Andres Iniesta is optimistic and looking ahead to the Bayern challenge.

The 28-year-old respects the strong German side but he does not believe Barca are in any way inferior.

"I don't think Bayern are the favourites. They are a great club who have been playing well for several seasons, with fantastic players," he said

"They have won the Bundesliga, reached the German Cup final and the Champions League semi-finals (this season). (But) the tie will be exciting.

"We would all love to be in this position at this point of the season every year," said Iniesta.

"We've been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, but we're on course to win the league... and the Champions League semi-final is just one step from the final in London.

"I would love for us to reach the final at Wembley, which is important," he stressed.

This means Barca may be the underdogs, but the optimism shown by Iniesta is something which Bayern should also be wary about.

As many already know, Barca have several players who can produce one or two magical moments out of the blue to send favourites Bayern packing.

And Iniesta is one of them. Then, of course, they have Lionel Messi and Xavi.

Messi, the saviour for Barca in the quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain despite being injured, should be better prepared for the Bayern challenge.

The Argentina captain, who has been working very hard these few days, is expected to be rested for the Primera Liga home match against Levante on Saturday.

After all, Barca who are on top of the standings with 81 points - 13 more than bitter rivals Real Madrid - need nine more from seven matches to clinch the title.

Messi will be Messi. He can 'mess up' any team, even an in-form Bayern.

Even if Barca fail, there will be the next season, and the next...