Bayern Munich have one foot in the Champions League final, but shouldn’t be overly confident against a Barcelona side capable of special things. Jaymes Monte discusses the team news and odds.
Over 3.5 goals @ 11/8
A weakened Barcelona side were held to a 2-2 draw away to Ath Bilbao at the weekend. Lionel Messi coming off the bench to once again inspire his side, scoring one and setting up another. But the La Liga title celebrations will need to wait a little longer after Ander Herrera’s last-minute equaliser denied Tito Vilanova’s men the three points needed to mathematically confirm top spot.
That result means that Barca have now won only three of their last eight games in all competitions, although they have won five out of six at the Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich’s remarkable season continues as a 1-0 win at home to Freiburg extended their winning sequence to 10 games in all competitions. Arsenal’s 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena in the second leg of the last 16 is the German champions’ only defeat in 34 fixtures.
Perhaps most importantly in relation to this fixture is the fact that Bayern have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last eight matches played.
Sergio Busquets is Barcelona’s main injury concern ahead of this Wednesday night’s game. Lionel Messi will definitely be fit to play after his appearance from the substitute’s bench at the weekend, while fellow countryman Javier Mascherano is edging closer to a return following knee ligament damage.
Jupp Heynckes was able to rest most of his first choice starting XI at the weekend, with Jerome Boateng being the only player to start in both the first leg of this tie and Saturday’s game.
Barcelona were torn apart at the Allianz Arena last week and although a couple of the goals attracted some controversy, it cannot be argued that the Germans did not deserve their first-leg lead.
If any reminder was needed that the tie is not completely over just yet, then Heynckes need only remind his players of the club’s most recent visit to the Camp Nou as evidence. Four years ago Messi scored twice as Barca beat Bayern 4-0 on their home patch in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
At odds of 10/11 there’ll be plenty tempted to back the home side for the win in 90 minutes. Of course Bayern do not need to win, and as we saw against Arsenal earlier in the tournament they are fallible in such situations.
However, the best bets could lie in the goals markets. Barcelona’s necessity to go on the attack means that there will be opportunities for Bayern to pick them apart on the counterattack once again. Heynckes will also know that any away goal will end the tie as a contest, if it isn’t already over. Over 2.5 is understandably short at 8/15, while Over 3.5 offers a greater return at odds of 11/8 and is equally appealing.