AFTER a sensation 3-0 success at the Camp Nou, will Barcelona complete their passage to the Champions League final with another victory over Bayern Munich on Tuesday? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the betting.
Bayern Munich v Barcelona | Tuesday 19.45 | ITV1
It’s almost 14 years since Bayern Munich suffered four consecutive defeats but Saturday’s 1-0 loss at home to 15/2 shots Augsburg left Pep Guardiola’s men staring at their worst run of form since 1991. It’s dangerous to take the weekend reverse too literally as the German champions had Pepe Reina sent off after just 13 minutes but even still, the Bavarian media are crying ‘crisis’.
Pep’s confirmed he’s no interest in joining Manchester City this summer but the FC Hollywood boss is under increasing pressure. Brought in to help Bayern dominate the continent, the Bavarian powerhouse have failed to produce on the big stage for the second season running.
Injuries have of course played a big part in their current campaign. Would Bayern be 3-0 down from the first leg had Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba been fit? No, I don’t think they would. It’s worth reminding ourselves that bar a mad opening 15 minute spell, the Germans put in a strong collective shift, holding Barcelona to a goalless draw with 77 minutes on the clock.
Even analysing the goals can give Bayern a little bit of heart. Juan Bernat made a rare error leading to Lionel Messi’s first and then the world’s greatest ever player produced a piece of genius for the second. Neymar wrapped up the win late on with Pep’s charges chasing an away goal.
It’s not in Bayern’s nature to give in and we should expect a fight back from the German giants on Tuesday night. Suggesting they’ll repeat their quarter-final heroics against Porto is fanciful but the Bavarians will have to play on the front foot and go after Barca at the Allianz Arena. But that spells trouble…
Pep’s team have a weakness and it could be cruelly exposed should the Catalans fancy turning the heat up. Bayern tend to suffer when taking on teams that prefer to play on the counter; domestically they’ve W3-D3-L3 in their nine fixtures against top-six rivals and it’s no surprise that Wolfsburg, Gladbach, Leverkusen, Augsburg and Schalke all attempted to shackle the champs by hitting them as fast as possible on the break.
Barcelona are on course for a historic treble following the weekend La Liga results and with a four-point advantage at the top of their domestic table, Luis Enrique’s charges can afford to focus on Tuesday’s tussle. The Blaugrana’s feared front three have scored 112 goals this season and should relish the freedom that is likely to come their way in Munich.
The Catalans have won nine Champions League games on the spin including all five knockout ties, beating Manchester City and PSG comfortably in their own backyard. Of course, Bayern are a level above but with their current selection problems, I certainly wouldn’t want to oppose Luis Enrique’s troops on Tuesday.
It’s 28 wins from 30 games since January and at 9/5 (Coral) I’ll take a punt on the visitors continuing their outstanding run of form. But I’ll also have a couple of quid on Betway’s 6/5 that the Catalans score Over 1.5 Goals. No side has stopped Barca from scoring in the Champions League this season and it’s a bet that’s won in nine of their last 10 continental clashes.
For those who fancy being a bit bold, I’d also be looking at Coral’s 18/5 that Barcelona win and Both Teams Score. Barca have kept clean sheets in just four of their last 14 away Champions League ties (against Celtic, Manchester City, APOEL, and Ajax).
Bayern Munich v Barcelona – Barcelona to win (9/5 (Coral)
Bayern Munich v Barcelona – Barcelona to score Over 1.5 Goals (6/5 Betway)
Bayern Munich v Barcelona – Barcelona to win and Both Teams To Score (18/5 Coral)
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