The pairing of Bayern Munich and Barcelona would be a fitting finale to any Champions League campaign – but these two must meet over two legs to determine who will play in the final.
At one time or another, these two teams have been the outright favourites to replace Chelsea as champions of Europe, but both sides have had their stumbles on the way to the final four and that would suggest that anything could happen in these two games.
Bayern Munich are the home side for the first leg on Tuesday, April 23, and they have been almost flawless since the start of the year. Jupp Heynckes’ side have won 16 of their 17 games in all competitions in 2013, but that one defeat did come in the Champions League.
Bayern were expected to cruise into the quarter-finals after they beat Arsenal 3-1 in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium, but instead they limped into the last eight on goal difference after a 2-0 loss on their home turf. They responded well with a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over Juventus in the quarter-finals, and that would suggest they are back to their best.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have, by their high standards, wobbled during the past couple of months. They have won only two of their last five games in all competitions – with those two victories coming against sides in the Primera Division relegation zone – while their Champions League run has hardly been smooth.
Barca looked to be heading out of the competition when they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at AC Milan in the last-16. They saved themselves with a 4-0 thrashing of the Italian side in the second leg, but that was not their last scare in this competition. Barcelona twice blew the lead as they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at Paris St Germain, and they then needed super-sub Lionel Messi to help them rescue a 1-1 draw in the second leg that saw them through on away goals.
Barcelona are 2/1 join favourites at Coral
, but Bayern Munich should not be overlooked at 3/1 with Ladbrokes
. This has all the makings of being a memorable Champions League tie.