Barcelona will be looking to create one of the Champions League’s biggest upsets ever if they can overturn the 4-0 thrashing they received at he hands of Bayern last week. But Barcelona are an extraordinary team, capable of extraordinary things.
Right then Barca, let’s see what
you’re made of
They’ve done already this campaign, losing away to AC Milan only to score four goals at home so you can’t say their not capable of an historic upset, but Bayern are an altogether different prospect to an inexperienced AC Milan. Manager Jupp Heynckes has confirmed that he will not be resting any players and even though Javi Martinez, Mario Gomez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luiz Gustavo, Dante and Philipp Lahm are all just one yellow card away from missing the final in Wembley, the Germans will not be holding back.
Don’t expect a cautious approach from Bayern, they will arrive at Camp Nou with the full belief that they can out-score Barcelona, with their own bran of high-intensity, attacking football. Barcelona are well aware of the Bayern strategy, it’s something they face on a weekly basis, it’s just the Germans do it more effectively and that’s their determined press on players in possession, starting high up on the pitch, they doggedly close down any player as soon as he’s in possession. While Barcelona had the lion’s share of possession, they couldn’t fashion even a single away goal.
This time Barcelona will have to go all out in attack, which may leave them open to Bayern on the counter something the Germans will be anticipating. Apart from Messi, David Villa will be key in the role of traditional striker, we may see Barcelona adopt a more direct game with long balls from midfield to try and test Manuel Neuer early on.
Barcelona looked a little slow in the first leg, with many of their players carrying injuries, those should have subsided with Messi back to peak fitness, while Xavi may be a much better player this week. Both Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets have shrugged off injuries and may add much-needed strength to the midfield.
As usual much will depend on a certain Argentinian. On form, he can win games single-handedly, but he will have to do significantly better this time. Dani Alves too, who, last week had more passes and touches of the ball than any other player on the pitch will have to be less wasteful and get quality ball into the box regularly.
The best case scenario for Barcelona, is tat they strike early with a blitz on goal, Villa latching onto a whipped in ball, then Barcelona can start to sweep the ball a round in the hope that Bayern Munich side who have imploded at final stage twice in three years in this competition may begin to doubt themselves, throw a few reckless challenges, go a man down and concede another four goals. Unlikely, but wouldn’t it be really something?
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If the month of November belonged to any one young player in Serie A this year it was Domenico Berardi, with four goals in two games for Sassuolo. Even though the he is only 19 years old people are asking if he is ready to the step up to co-owners Juventus.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have wish to extend their thank yous for all the good work done by the many people involved in an initiative by Dolce&Gabbana and the Leo Messi Foundation.