After watching La Liga rivals Real Madrid just fail to overturn what looked an impossible deficit to the Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund last night, Barcelona face what looks an even greater task as they attempt to become the first side in Champions League history to come back from a 4-0 first-leg defeat.
The Catalans were completely blown apart in the Allianz Arena a week ago as an irrepressible Bayern took advantage of a Lionel Messi clearly lacking fitness and a Barcelona defence that looked decidedly shaky to strike four times through Thomas Mueller (twice), Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben.
Tito Villanova’s side will take comfort however from the way they managed to put four past AC Milan in the last 16 at the Camp Nou after a 2-0 defeat in the first-leg, while Messi looks certain to start and now looks far fitter after a goalscoring cameo off the bench in Barcelona’s weekend draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Elsewhere, Jordi Alba is suspended meaning Adriano should come in to replace the Spaniard while in central-defence, Marc Bartra’s unconvincing evening in Munich a week ago may mean a spot for Eric Abidal, Alex Song or perhaps even Javier Mascherano should he prove his fitness after a recent spell on the sidelines. Up front, Pedro could make way for either Cesc Fabregas or Christian Tello as Barcelona search for more variety.
For Bayern, Jupp Heynckes will field a near full-strength side after having the luxury of resting a number of key players for Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Freiburg in the Bundesliga. Toni Kroos is the squad’s only absentee due to injury while Mario Mandzukic returns from suspension and should take his place up front in place of Mario Gomez.
However, the German outfit will need to be wary of their discipline with six of their squad only a single booking away from missing the final in captain Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo, Dante and Mario Gomez.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Barcelona