Miracles happen once in a while, and the final minutes of the other semifinal suggests that anything can almost happen, but it seems quite unlikely that Barcelona will be able to turn around the result Bayern Munich bestowed upon them a week earlier, not to mention the Germans being the better team.
Someone said that Barcelona already came back from the dead once this season, against AC Milan, but that was 2-0, and that was Milan, a team that didn’t even think about trying to score at the Camp Nou. It was a team that didn’t even think about scoring in the first leg, and just happened to do it. Even with Lionel Messi at 100%, there seems to be too much of a gulf between Bayern at their best and what Barcelona can bring to the pitch.
Don’t get me wrong – an early goal, maybe even two, and it’s going to look quite different than in the first leg. Even Bayern Munich can lose their cool, but missing only Toni Kroos means that the man in charge of keeping the team from falling apart like they almost did against Arsenal, Javi Martinez, is going to play. For Barcelona, this means they need someone to help Andres Iniesta in the chance creating business, because his matchup with Martinez clearly didn’t work.
Another huge problem for Barcelona is the defense, assuming the start with Bartra and Pique in the middle. On any pitch, against any team, they’re worth at least one goal they concede. Against 95% of the teams around Europe, they have enough ability and firepower to counter that with two-three goals, but once again, Bayern Munich are as frightening of a team to face as any other. And like they showed against Juventus, they’re clearly worth a goal or two on the road.
The usual possession advantage will be held, but it won’t really matter. The keys will be Sergio Busquets doing all he can to help the defense as it faces a charging down Ribery or Robben, while Xavi, Iniesta and possibly Fabregas, if he does start, need to do their best to retain possession and keep it a Barcelona type of match for as long as possible, giving Messi the space and chance to do what he does best, which is usually defying odds and beliefs of what a footballer can do.
Predictions – Bayern Munich will score, and Barcelona won’t be able to score the six goals they’ll need by that point. It’ll end in a Barcelona win, probably, but far from enough to make it into the final.