Mark van Bommel says Barcelona's home advantage in the second leg of their eagerly-awaited Champions League semi-final showdown with Bayern Munich could prove "decisive" in "such an evenly-balanced tie".
The Dutch midfielder, who has represented both clubs, argues there is little to choose between the two sides, but believes the draw might have tipped things in favour of the Blaugrana, who will travel to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday before welcoming die Roten to Camp Nou eight days later.
“In such an evenly-balanced tie, that could be decisive," Van Bommel told FCBarcelona.net. "Barca have a very good team and have appeared in six consecutive semi-finals, which says a lot.
"We’re going to see two great matches. We’re going to have a real treat. They are very similar teams. They have the same style of play, they like to pass the ball and are strong in attack."
Van Bommel does not believe Barca's hopes of reaching the final will be unduly affected by the injury-enforced absences of Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol, even if he is well aware of how inspirational a leader the latter can be.
“In Barca’s case, they have a great squad and won’t miss anyone, although the simple presence of Puyol makes a big impression on the opponent," the PSV ace explained.
"In a year with Barca it was clear to me that he’s a special captain; an example to follow."
Van Bommel spent a season in Catalunya before leaving for Bavaria in 2006.