FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: Champions League semi-final 2nd leg preview

barcelona 4-0 bayern munich messi goal 2009Barça will need to make one of the greatest ever Champions League comebacks to reach this year’s Wembley final on May 25. Last week’s 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the semi-final first leg has left Tito Vilanova’s men with a mountain to climb, though anything is possible with 90 minutes still to play at Camp Nou.

bayern munich camp nou 1999A look at some historic recoveries is always useful to create belief and Barça would do well to remember that Bayern were the victims of one of the most epic recoveries ever when they conceded twice in injury time to lose to Manchester United in the 1999 final at Camp Nou. Bayern will also have bad memories of their last performance in Barcelona when Eto’o, Messi, Henry & co. took just 45 minutes to knock four goals past them in the 2009 quarter-finals. Since then Barça have faced German opposition on two more occasions at Camp Nou, beating Stuttgart 4-0 in the last 16 in 2010 and hammering Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 in the last 16 last season.

So, Barça have a favourable balance of fifteen goals to one in the last three games against German opposition at Camp Nou. Leo Messi has been instrumental in those games scoring a remarkable nine goals (two vs Bayern, two vs Stuttgart and five vs Leverkusen) and the Argentinian will again be crucial if Barça are going to have a chance. He wasn’t at 100% for last week’s game in Munich but he demonstrated in 30 minutes in the 2-2 draw at Athletic on Saturday that he is getting back to his best.

Risking players who are not completely fit has backfired for Barça both in the first game in Milan (Xavi and Fabregas) and in Munich (Busquets and Messi). Busquets is still suffering with a groin strain, and given his poor performance last week it would seem more sensible to play Alex Song in his place to support Xavi and Iniesta in midfield. Javier Mascherano is also in a race to get fit in time but the most recent reports seem to suggest he probably won’t make it. So, with Jordi Alba suspended we could see a makeshift back four of Alves, Bartrá, Piqué and Adriano.

The defence simply cannot afford to concede a goal but going forward we are going to need more than just the magic of Messi. Alexis, Villa, Tello and Pedro have been sharing the responsibility all season and it is again a tough call to decide who should play tomorrow. The fact that we need goals suggests that Villa should certainly get the nod while the speed of Tello could be vital to turn the German defence.

The decision of course is with Vilanova, and I have always preferred to trust the coach with these things as he can see so much that we as fans cannot. However, it must be said that the decision to make only four changes in Bilbao to the XI that started in Munich is difficult to understand. Of course, we still need points to win La Liga but given our big advantage over second-placed Real Madrid one can only wonder at the wisdom of starting with Alves, Piqué and Xavi in Bilbao. We need everybody to be as fresh as possible tomorrow to play with the necessary intensity.

In contrast Bayern’s coach Jupp Heynckes made ten changes to his team for Bayern’s 1-0 win over SC Freiburg on Saturday with only centre back Boateng maintaining his place. Heynckes also has striker Mario Mandzukic available again after he missed the first leg through suspension. Heynckes knows his team cannot afford to take tomorrow’s game lightly but he will also be worried by having six players, Lahm, Dante, Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo and Mario Gomez, under threat of suspension for the final if they receive a yellow card.

barcelona 4-0 bayern munich 2009 messi eto'o celebrateOf course, it is not going to be easy, but Barça would do well to think about scoring the first goal before they start thinking about scoring the fourth or fifth. The team needs to get back to basics of playing an intense high pressing game with a rapid movement of the ball in possession. We showed against Milan in the last 16 that we are still capable of playing fantastic football. If we play at the same level tomorrow then we can at least cause some worry for the Germans. And who knows, perhaps with a little luck along the way we can give Bayern another horrible Camp Nou memory to add to the 2009 quarter-final and the 1999 final. The score of 5-0 has a special meaning for Barça. Here’s to another manita tomorrow.

Possible teams:

Barça: Valdés; Alves, Bartrá, Piqué, Adriano; Xavi, Song, Iniesta; Villa, Messi, Tello.

Bayern: Neuer; Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba; Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Muller, Ribery; Mandzukic.

Prediction: Barça 5 Bayern 0 (believe!!!)

Date: Wednesday 1 May 2013. Kick off 8.45 pm local time.

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14 Responses to FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: Champions League semi-final 2nd leg preview

  1. thisisspain says:

    If you are going to dream, dream BIG. As a huge madridista, I shall be shouting for you tonight. I’d love to beat you at Wembley! Good Luck against the Germans…..it’s only “half-time”

    • FCB-Parbo says:

      LOL!! But you have to beat Dortmund first if you wanna beat us.

      I believe in a MIRACLE!
      Messi with the vision, Messi the passer, Messi the dribbler, Messi the SCORER!!! Man, our little Flea carries a lot of weight on his tiny shoulders. May God be with him. Amen!!!
      The others better step up their game and be ready, ’cause Leo is ready.

      Visca Barça!!!!
      Forca Barça!!!!

  2. barcacentralomer says:

    Nic as much as I want to BELIEVE I can only HOPE for a miracle. Perhaps this is something that’s been waiting to happen since last season’s elimination by Chelski. We got Song instead of a proper CB during the transfer window. Our Messi-centric forward line failed to beat a 10 man Chelski side at home last season. This season, I think more than 60% of Barca’s goals are by you know who and we all saw what an unfit Messi did in the first leg against Bayern. Even if Messi does what the Dortmund guy did against Madrid last week, its almost impossible that Barca will not concede and then its over courtesy of the away goal(s) rule. Barca’s musical chairs equivalent of a CB pair and the inability to defend set pieces are IMO valid reasons why Barca will not be able to keep a clean sheet.

    I hate to sound like a pessimist and I hope I am the butt of every1’s jokes on this blog when Barca pull off a memorable comeback, but I just don’t see any area where Barca are superior (on form) to Bayern. Bartra and Pique were torn apart by Bayern and Tito has no other option unless maybe Abi is strong enough to start. Adriano is a useful player at LB but La Liga wingers/forwards and Robben are in a different league altogether. Also, I’m not sure how he will be able to add anything to the offence because he’ll be more concerned with keeping Robben quiet. Alves is gr8 going forward but with a rampaging Ribery on his flank and the CBs needing help, will he able to operate in the opposition half to help us bridge the 4 goal deficit? I’ve already spoken about how much Messi is the key to us getting any goals because the rest of them seem to have lost their goalscoring touch.

    The midfield is the area I was most disappointed with because I expected Xavi to boss the midfield and act as Messi’s supply line. Xavi and Iniesta will have to play Martinez and Schweni off the pitch which is going to be very difficult if not impossible because the latter two are having a purple patch at the moment. Busquets is either not fully fit or he seems to have lost what little pace he had – one of his worst performances that I’ve seen. Song will be up against the dangerous Muller but IMO he has to consider this an opportunity to push for Busquet’s place in the Barca starting XI. He’s got to get himself together because he’s got more talent than a Barca benchwarmer.

    Since hardly anyone aside from their fans thinks Barca can progress, why can’t Tito try out a new formation. Even if its fails miserably at least no one can say Barca didn’t try to go for a win. Lets go for broke and try out a 3-5-2 formation with Tello and Alves alternating in a lopsided formation. Abidal (assuming he’s fit enough)/Adriano, Bartra and Pique can be the back 3. Xavi,Song and Iniesta in our engine room with Messi playing behind Villa on top. It might not work but like I said no one expects us to pull of an upset anyway.

    Visca Barca!

  3. FCB ROCKS says:

    I disagree. I watched the game again today…..Busquets was the key to most of our problems, If song takes field, I would expect Bartra and Pique to be well shielded. Song is more aggressive of the 2. Very vital in this match. Xavi and Iniesta must have the game of their lives….and Villa better put on his scoring boots.

    I’ll go with ….
    Tello, Villa, Messi
    Iniesta Song Xavi
    Abidal, Bartra, Pique, Dani Alves

    How bout that for surprises??

  4. FCB ROCKS says:

    oWH…Shoot…Abi’s injured….arggghhh I’ll go with Adriano or Montoya.

  5. Caleb says:

    Hey, I’ll believe. But I don’t believe we’ll keep a clean sheet. I just hope we get a goal in the first 25m so we don’t have to suffer too much, haha.


  6. layibiyi says:

    Nothing to lose boys! Let’s go

  7. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:


  8. barcacentralomer says:

    At least the Irritating One got cut down to size last night and all the talk of him tilting the balance of power in Spain towards Real will come to an end now. Dortmund look a very well organized side and I was impressed by their manager Klopp who didn’t seem in awe of Real at home.

  9. Fredegar says:

    Well, hope is a bitch, can’t stop myself to still believe 😉
    But seriously, I won’t call for a miracle tonight, going out with pride and dignity would be enough for me. And when I say that, I mean that we attack with all our power, I don’t mind losing 5-2 tonight if we’ve given our all, but I won’t be able to stand another toothless performance like the one we saw in Munich. As a Barça fan, I can (barely, but I can) stand a completely lost defense, but I can’t cope with the absence of attacking intent and the sloppy passing we showed in the first leg. So I hope Tito finds a way to get us in shape. Really, winning or losing will be secondary for me tonight, it will all be a question of style and substance. I hope we go all broke with a 3-4-3 and send everything we have at them, cos’ another toothless and patient performance where Bayern finish with a 2-1 win would be bad for my health…

  10. barcacentralomer says:

    Messi not even in the starting XI. No Tello either. Why is Cesc there anyway? Whats going on here Nic?

  11. Raymond Zahra says:

    Looks like everybody except Vilanova(the board) knows that without Messi we are an ordinary team, at least at the moment.

  12. ewe_gb says:

    the end of an era. but I am afraid it will not be suffice to stop the stubbornness of our presidency and management!

    and actually: taking into account tito’s illness but I think it is time to concentrate on your recovery and to step down as barca coach.

    you have been outplayed by mourinho in every game this season, by heynckes.

    there is a lot to do and barca needs to concentrate all their power on getting the national title!

  13. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    Firstly, I must mention that like any die hard Barcelona fan (one that watches 95% of their matches inclusive of friendlies, i mean) I am well disappointed that a Leo Messi-less Barsa failed to perform to their best on this return leg at Camp Nou.

    It is worthy to note that this has by no means been an easy season for team Barcelona, especially during the period of time when they were without our manager due to his illness. Dear fans, I understand that most of us are frustrated about the performance. We have been always expecting such high standards from the players…we are infact, so used to those standards,,,so much so that a defeat in this score line may come as an absolute nightmare to some.

    I have been bombarding Nic’s blog with all my rants after the past few performances, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Nic and any others who could have possibly got annoyed by my child-like petulance during those moments.

    Truth is, as a fan we may point fingers at many things and many individuals in this team during these times…on a night like this…we will call for many heads to be chopped. But let’s be honest here…….WE HAVE BEEN TO THESE SEMI’S for 6 season’s now!! And, sometimes, all good things must come to an end.

    We need some reshuffling. We need some proper management. We need to realign our direction. And most importantly, we as fans of Barcelona have to be behind Tito Vilanova and support him through this journey. I trust that Tito will call the shots, and bring in some much needed change needed for Barcelona as a the team. The man has been through such a difficult season, and it’s only fair if we grant him another season atleast before writing him off.

    If it were my way, I will definitely look to sell
    1) David Villa(Age factor and we need the money)
    2) Victor Valdes (He wants out, we need the money)

    3) Fabregas (Overall Fitness issues….never seems to be a midfield player capable enough to be part of our 6 second pressing rule)

    4) Mascherano ( Despite good tackling and aggression, his overall capabilities on the ball, is not on par to be considered as a Barcelona Defensive Midfielder. At best, Mascherano plays as our Center Back,,,which he certainly will need to get his knees done, if he were to ever dream of dealing with Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Muller or any other top class Attacking player with physical height)

    5) Alexis Sanchez (my favorite pick of em all….I wish I could send him to the air port infact. Sanchez, in my outright opinion, is a player that seems very lost in that front 3 of Barcelona. He dribbles alot….but does he get past his players alot???? He loves to hold on to the ball like he is actually going to do something magical with it….however in most cases, all I see magical in most outcomes, is his magical dive. Sanchez also appears to be a player very one footed for my liking)

    6) Gerrard Pique (This one is borderline for me. I don’t mind him leaving for top money either. Gerrard Pique’s dip in form and inconsistencies at the back has been very very worrying. If he stays, he must be benched…and be forced to compete for a starting role. Pique has to find his game once again. Even in the 2nd leg against Bayern, Bartra seems a much better defender)

    Well, that’s just my take on things….its now all down to Jesus Christ, Tito Vilanova and Barcelona’s management team to make their choices!!

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