After losing 3-0 in the first leg and performing rather poorly in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich will try and turn things around against Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League semifinals clash.
With absences like Franck Ribery, David Alaba and and Arjen Robben, Bayern’s comeback attempt is really quite a sIt’lim chanced one, but they did rebound from losing 3-1 in Portugal against Porto in the previous stage, so there is that. But their poor form in the league since securing their title and not scoring a goal in all competitions over the last 361 minutes just makes it difficult to believe they can perform such a turnaround against the hottest team in Europe right now.
How hot? They’ve won 38 of their last 42 matches in all competitions and 17 of their last 18. Their last outing was a 2-0 win this weekend over Real Sociedad. Bayern have been perfect at home in the competition, winning all five matches. Barcelona have never won in Munich, but might not be too pressed to come up with one considering their three goal lead.
While possession has been a way of life for Barcelona in the last five or six seasons, it’s changing this year. Sure, they still dominate matches with some pointless passing after taking a lead, but it’s not something they cling to like in past seasons. Bayern Munich? Pep Guardiola has turned them into that, but without some key players on the pitch and his mistakes in fielding the right kind of team, he can’t get the best out of a system that is no longer innovative or that frightening to face. He simply has loads of talent on his team.
Last season Bayern Munich lost 4-0 at home against Real Madrid after a narrow loss at the Santiago Bernabeu. Such a humiliation won’t repeat itself, probably. Barcelona, even in their more direct phase with Luis Suarez hounding defenses and adding an extra punch to the most dangerous attacking trio in football today, just don’t go out and finish off teams like that.
But Bayern Munich doing the opposite? It’ll take something drastic happening early on for the match to develop like that. An early goal and abandoning a bit the slower, safer approach. Something that has almost been plucked out of the Bayern Munich DNA by Guardiola, who really can’t afford another humiliation. A loss, or a draw? His bosses can live with that. But not with another three or four goal defeat.