Barcelona v Bayern Munich
Champions League 1/4 Final – 1st Leg
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Kick Off – 20.45 CET
Bayern Munich face Barcelona tonight in the knowledge that they have never lost to the Catalans. Tonight however they return to the scene of their heartbreaking Champions League Final defeat against Manchester United 10 years ago without two of their defensive stalwarts, Lucio, who is injured and his replacement Van Buyten has stayed behind in Germany due to personal matters and is unlikely to travel today. Barcelona have lost their two previous home games against Bayern, in 1996 and 1998, but they have won their last seven home games against German teams, all in the Champions League.
Bayern suffered their worst defeat for seven years last weekend when they were thrashed 5-1 at VFL Wolfsburg. Bayern, who fielded almost a full strength side, only Klose, Demichelis and Van Buyten were absent. It was 1-1 at half time but in the second half Bayern fell apart and between the 63rd and 77th minutes conceded four goals.
Guardiola has named a squad of 19 players for tonight’s match with the injured Abidal and Milito the only notable absences and Hleb and Touré are both back in contention after recovering from minor injuries. Dani Alves, Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry are all expected to return to the first eleven after starting on the bench against Valladolid.
Apart from Lucio and Van Buyton, Bayern will have to do without the services of Miroslav Klose who is out with an ankle injury, but French midfielder Franck Ribery and defender Philipp Lahm have both shaken off minor injuries. Bayern’s threat in attack is likely to come from Luca Toni and Franck Ribéry and Pep Guardiola warned that Toni is “a very dangerous player in and around the box, who knows how to win free kicks. He’s a great goalscorer and one of the best front men in Europe right now”. As for Ribéry, Guardiola said “he’s a player who’ll come straight at you. He’s fast and knows how to cut in from the wings”.
Probable Starting XI’s
Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Marquez, Pique, Puyol; Xavi; Keita, Iniesta; Messi, Eto’o, Henry.
Bayern Munich: Rensing; Oddo, Demichelis, Van Buyten, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Ze Roberto, Van Bommel; Ribery, Toni, Podolski.
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