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Less than a week ago a superb second half from the blaugranes at Camp Nou gave them a 3-0 victory over the German champions in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. Two exquisite goals from Leo Messi in his 100th game in Europe for the blaugranes and an injury time effort from Neymar mean that Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side have it all to do in the second leg in the Allianz Arena in Munich which kicks off at 8.45pm CET.
Barça coach Luis Enrique decided to take his entire first team squad plus three players from the B squad, Munir, Sandro and Sergi Samper, to Munich for the second leg of their semi-final with Bayern. Jérémy Mathieu was included in that 26 man list after receiving the medical all clear after Sunday’s training session. The Frenchman missed the first leg at Camp Nou and Saturday’s 2-0 league victory over Real Sociedad, also at home, due to an Achilles problem. The blaugranes trained for the final time before Tuesday’s game at the venue itself, the Allianz Arena, on Monday evening local time.
Bayern boss Pep Guardiola still has plenty of injury headaches before the return leg at home to Barça. Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Franck Ribéry and Holger Badstuber all missed the defeat in Barcelona last week and they will also sit out the second leg in Bavaria. On Monday the Germans trained for the final time at their training ground Säbener Strasse ahead of Tuesday’s clash. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Thiago sat out the session but should be available for selection for the second leg. Sebastian Rode returned to training after missing the first leg with a hamstring and so could also make the final 18 man squad which will be named by Pep Guardiola on the day of the game.
In his press conference in the Allianz Arena ahead of Tuesday’s encounter with Bayern, Luis Enrique promised more of the same from his side: “If we have got this far with good results then we have to do the same. We won’t sit back.” The Barça boss reminded everyone that the Germans lost the first leg in the quarter-finals against Porto, only to come roaring back in Munich to claim their place in the semi-finals: “In the previous round they came back. We know that at times we will have problems. We want the game to be like the first leg.”
After the setback in the first leg, former Barça boss Pep Guardiola managed to strike a balance between optimism and realism in his appearance in front of the press: "We are down three goals against one of the best teams in Europe in the last 15 years, but we have to try." For the Bayern coach, mistakes from the first leg will have to ironed out if they are to have a chance to go through: “We have to attack more than we did in Barcelona. We have to control the game."
Barça’s 2-0 win at the weekend at home to Real Sociedad in the league means they are now four points clear of second placed Real Madrid with just two games to go in the campaign. Neymar opened the scoring to claim his 50th goal in a blaugrana shirt with substitute Pedro adding a spectacular second with an overhead kick. The victory was their 17th in their last 18 games in all competitions and in Europe they have won four away games in row following on from the defeat in the Parc des Prince against PSG last September.
Since claiming the Bundesliga title on 26 April, Bayern have gone four games without a win in all competitions. Their latest slip up came at home to Augsburg on Saturday when they lost 1-0 in the German league. The Bavarians have now gone 361 minutes without a goal, their worst goalscoring run in 17 years.
The victory in the first leg was just Barça’s second in nine matches against Bayern Munich in official competition. The blaugranes’ last win in Germany came against Bayer Leverkusen in 2011/12 when a 3-1 win away in the last 16 was followed up with a 7-1 victory at home in which Leo Messi scored five times. The last time FC Barcelona played in the Allianz Arena was in the 4-0 defeat to Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern side in the semi-final first leg in 2012/13.
Bayern lost at home at the weekend in the Bundesliga yet they have a 100% record in the Allianz Arena in the Champions League this season. In their last two home games in Europe they have scored 13 goals, putting seven past Shaktar in the last 16 and six past Porto in the quarter-finals. The comeback win against the Portuguese side was the first time in UEFA competition that Bayern had overcome a two goal deficit in the first leg to go through. Against Barça they will have to go one better if they are to make it to their 11th Champions League final.
No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. And remember, you can enjoy live commentary in English on Radio Barça. The link will appear at fcbarcelona.com just before kick-off. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.
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