The odds are stacked against Bayern Munich for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final showdown against Barcelona following their 3-0 first leg defeat at the Camp Nou, but here we pick out some reasons why you shouldn’t rule Pep Guardiola’s side out just yet.
Reasons why they can do it Porto lesson.
This is not the first time Bayern have had to overturn a considerable deficit in this year’s competition. Their Champions League hopes appeared to be hanging by a thread after their shock 3-1 defeat to Porto in their quarter-final first leg, but they responded in stunning fashion at the Allianz Arena.
Thiago Alcantara broke the deadlock in the 14th minute, and there was a feeling of inevitability about what followed. A brace from Robert Lewandowski and strikes from Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller put Bayern 5-0 up at half-time, and it finished 6-1, giving the Bavarian side a 7-4 aggregate victory that looked nigh-on impossible after a chastening night at the Estadio do Dragao. Barcelona are, of course, a far stronger side than Porto, but the Catalan side would be wise to keep that result in mind.
The demolition of Porto was not the first time Bayern have put a Champions League opponent to the sword this season. Shakhtar Donetsk held Bayern to a 0-0 draw in Ukraine during the group stages, but they were hammered 7-0 in the return game at the Allianz Arena. Bayern have won all five of their Champions League home games so far, scoring a staggering 19 goals and conceding only once.
Bayern need to score three goals against Barca to have any chance of progressing to the final, but they can take encouragement from their average scoring rate of 3.8 goals per game in European home matches this season. Indeed, despite their 3-0 defeat at the Nou Camp, Bayern remain Champions League top scorers with 30 goals in 11 games in total.
Despite their miserable night at the Nou Camp, Guardiola’s inside knowledge means he remains the best man for stopping his former side. Barcelona’s first leg victory owed a lot to Lionel Messi, who Guardiola had described as “unstoppable” in the build up to the game, and it should be noted that Bayern kept the hosts out until the Argentine’s 77th-minute opener.
Their late collapse has given them a mountainous task at the Allianz Arena, but Guardiola believes scoring the first goal could give them a route back into the tie.
“We have to be patient and cannot do everything in the first 15-20 minutes,” the Spaniard said at his pre-match press conference. “First we have to play football and see what happens. Maybe we can then score a goal and create an atmosphere in the stadium.”
Thomas Muller celebrates scoring against Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in 2013 Thomas Muller celebrates scoring against Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in 2013 Bayern will need to be at their absolute best on Tuesday night, but history is on their side. In 22 home games against Spanish opposition, Bayern have won 15, drawn five and only lost twice. Bayern have also fared well against Barcelona in past encounters. They have won five of their previous nine meetings, and before last week’s defeat they had only been beaten once by the Catalan side.