Bayern – Real Madrid
Bayern Munich welcomes La Liga leaders Real Madrid in the first leg of Champions League semifinal at Allianz Arena, looking to extent their unbeaten home record against the Spanish giant at this competition.
The Bavarians boast of an outstanding record against Real Madrid – having won 10 times, drawing twice and losing six games overall. However, their home form against Los Blancos is enviable, posting eight victories and one draw in nine meetings.
This season they have laid the European foundation based on their impressive home record, registering 12 wins out of 13 with six straight home victories.
Although their league campaign is more than over, after losing to reigning champions Borussia Dortmund and further dropping points against Mainz, the German side have everything to play for in Europe as they have a golden opportunity to play the final at their own backyard if and only they edge Jose Mourinho’s White army.
Real Madrid on the other hand have the El Clasico fixture sandwiched between the two legged UCL ties. They are four points clear at the top of the table and would like to take that confidence in European front too.
They are unbeaten so far in this competition having conceded only, and yes, only six goals. But, what can be decisive here is the psychological barrier. Madrid have won only once in German soil in 22 attempts. They have played Bayern before at this stage four times – the Germans winning on three occasions to Madrid’s one.
Bayern will be counting on Super Mario Gomez to continue his impressive goal scoring record while the supply trio of - Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery and Thomas Muller will be at disposal too. Munich will recall Philipp Lahm to the starting line-up after he was rested on the bench against Mainz.
Xabi Alonso returns from domestic suspension while Angel Di Maria, Kaka and Benzema all could feature as well.
Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Real Madrid
Chelsea – Barcelona
Frank Lampard has ignited the fire ahead of this fixture by claiming Chelsea have an ‘unfinished business’ to fulfill when the Catalan giants will visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to play the first leg semifinal of the Champions League.
Post 2005, Under Jose Mourinho era, this fixture has taken a new dimension. The Portuguese never backed away from speaking what he felt and more often than not it sparked controversy. It was in his first season, that he announced his team and the probable opposition players in the press conference. Chelsea lost 2-1 and Jose was in the frame again with his verbal attacks. In the return leg, Chelsea defeated 4-2 with John Terry netted the winner in a controversial circumstance.
That was first of many memorable duels. In 2009, Barcelona controversially knocked Chelsea out of the semifinal with an injury time winner from Andres Iniesta. Chelsea camp feels that they were the victim of poor referring, and ‘revenge’ waits since that night.
Chelsea have seen many hiccups this season. They are still stuttering in the league and might find it difficult to qualify for the Champions League spot. Under Di Matteo the side has improved considerably in terms of getting results.
Chelsea rode their luck against Benfica in the last round. The Portuguese outfit surely was the better team. If Chelsea needs to advance further from here, they have to raise their game to a different level. They have won four of their last five games and will be looking to cause an upset here. Further, the Blues will be morally boosted after securing a place in the FA Cup final by defeating their London rivals in an emphatic fashion where they had five different scorers.
The Catalans are on a 11 match winning streak in La Liga and as usual Lionel Messi is making headlines for his mesmerizing abilities. He has scored 41 goals this season while the Blaugrana have the cut the gap with Madrid to only four points.
Barcelona defeated AC Milan in the last round, where Messi scored twice from the spot kick taking his goal tally to 14 in UCL this season.
Chelsea will surely miss the services of David Luiz after he got injured against Spurs at Wembley. Guardiola will recall Dani Alves and Gerard Pique in the starting line-up after the duo missed recent games with leg injury.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona
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I'd love to see a Chelsea v Bayern final! I don't want Chelsea to win the trophy though. Roman has tried to buy this trophy fo years and I don't want him to succeed, especially after the way he has treated his managers.