Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bayern to overwhelm Barcelona

Nice pay-day on Monday; I've been mentioning on these pages since January to pile on Man Utd for Premier League glory and they made it official after thumping Aston Villa. Nice outcome one month before the season actually ends! Whatever is said about the quality of this team with respect to its predecessors, I think this team has the potential to get even better next year and no doubt that winning the Champions League will be seriously on their agenda. But this talk is for next season.

Talking of UCL, Tuesday sees Bayern Munich host Barcelona for the first semi-final, arguably these 2 teams being the best in the world at the moment. My thoughts on the UCL at this stage is very much against popular thought at this stage; I think one of the Germans teams will win it and it could very well be an all-German final. The market obviously thinks otherwise and sees either of the Spanish giants winning it and favo urs an all-Spanish final.

Bayern Munich have won the Bundesliga in an unprecedented canter. They have been dominating  in both the domestic league or in Europe, even though they can show the occasional blip like in the return leg against Arsenal at the elimination stage. This team is possibly the best organized of the remaining four and strong in all departments. This team is strong mentally as well with the likes of Schweinsteiger, Robben, Lahm, Ribery and Gomez in their prime. The only thing that they lack against Barcelona is a Messi/Ronaldo-type player that can change a game at will. The arrival of Gotze, by the way, next year, will only reinforce this team.

I subscribe to the growing belief that Barcelona are past their prime; they are still one of the best, if not still the best, teams out there, but it's tough to see them improve on what they've already achieved. This year, they've shown that they are hugely dependent on Messi and if the Argentinian is not on song, they can be in a lot of trouble. That spells trouble against Bayern, particularly that Messi has just come back from injury and will not be at his utmost best against the Bavarians.

Bayern look strongly favoured for this encounter, based on the form of the two teams in the past few weeks. The Germans' best hope of going through is to make the difference at home, with full knowledge that the Spaniards have shown great vulnerability on a few of their travels. If they can limit a Messi who's bound to be not at his best, they must have a great chance of winning this first leg.

Bayern is a safe draw-no-bet. At current odds, for a riskier venture but greater return, I would be inclined to go straight for the Bayern win. I think Barcelona are in for a difficult night at the Olympic stadium.

Win: Bayern Munich
Draw-no-bet: Bayern Munich

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