Bayern Munich vs. FC Barcelona: All eyes on Lionel Messi

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Bayern Munich - FC Barcelona - Champions League

Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich and Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona.

Follow the Bayern Munich vs. FC Barcelona match along with VOXXI using the the hashtag #VoxxiUCL. We will be doing an in game analysis of the match. Game time is Tuesday April 23 at 2:45 pm EST.

You can also follow the analysis of the match on twitter.

Update

Bayern Munich absolutely demolished FC Barcelona.

Preview

The semifinals of the UEFA Champions League kick off with a game many would have rather seen take place in Wembley.

Bayern Munich has been, by far, the most solid team in the Championship. The best example of this was the relatively painless victory on both legs against Juventus in the quarter finals. The Italian defending champs are just days away from reclaiming their Serie A title, and have built a rock-solid team guided by Antonio Conte that had moved with a strong footing through the Championships. However, once they met Jupp Heynckes’ team their strong stance dissolved like sugar in water. An aggregate score of 4-0 was the nail on the coffin for the Bianconeri, who never thought they would be so out played by Bayern.

Just two weeks ago the Bavarians clinched the Bundesliga, which they hadn’t won in the last two seasons, as Borussia Dortmund had dominated the local league. The team is also set to play the final of the German Cup, which means they could potentially get the treble, should they win all three competitions.

However, they are not at risk of repeating the situation they went through in 2012, when the team lost the League in the last few rounds, the Cup in the final against Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League against Chelsea in penalty kicks. Since the team already holds the Bundesliga, whatever may come now will be seen as gravy on top, but surely Jupp Heynckes will want to leave the club with a bang.

The German coach was invited to retire earlier this year when the German Champs announced that Guardiola would be the first team’s coach next year, but he was quick to remind everyone that he is the man that has made this team play the way it does and that he will most likely not be retiring this summer.

All players except Mandzukic will be available for Bayern against Barça, who will most likely play Mario Gomez up front next to Ribery, Robben and Muller, presenting a real threat for FC Barcelona’s defense.

Will Lionel Messi be ready for Bayern Munich?

It is actually Barcelona that gets to the semis with the biggest handicap. The team has many injuries, most of them on the back, but the biggest issue the Catalans have revolves around Lionel Messi’s physical state.

The Argentine suffered a muscular injury in the first leg of the quarter finals against PSG, when the team was winning 1-0. The game ended up in a 2-2 tie, and the forward missed the first 65 minutes of the return match. Up until that point, PSG was winning in Barcelona 0-1, and had the key to semis in their pocket, but with just 10 minutes on the field, Messi turned things around and a through-ball to Villa ended up being knocked to the back of the net by Pedro, placing Barça in their sixth semifinal in six years.

Messi hasn’t played since, and even the last 15 minutes of that match were spent just walking on the field, visibly still injured. Yet the impact he has on his team and opponents is so huge, Tito Vilanova cannot take the chance of not having him start against Bayern Munich tomorrow night.

Other than that, Mascherano, Puyol and Adriano are also out, and Tito will most likely play recovered Abidal in the center of the defense next to Pique. The Frenchman, who underwent a liver transplant last year, has come back to his best shape, and just this weekend he played 90 minutes against Levante without an issue. Vilanova seems to have more confidence in the veteran than in Youth System prodigy Bartra, who has had very few chances to shine even with as many injuries as they have had in the back.

And so, a true testament to both teams’ power will take place tomorrow, but everything will most likely be resolved in a week, in Barcelona, during the return leg of the series. That’s of course if Messi shows up as his finest in Munich. If not, Bayern may have everything resolved by the time the return leg comes around in seven days.

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Source: VOXXI News

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