Barcelona have one foot in next month’s UEFA Champions League final in the German capital following their 3-0 annihilation of Bayern Munich in the first leg last week.
La Liga was virtually wrapped up at the weekend for Luis Enrique’s side as Real Madrid were held at home by Valencia to give the Catalans a four-point lead with two games remaining.
It’s still up in the air whether La Liga games will be postponed this weekend but last weekend’s results mean a result at Atlético Madrid in their next game is not so crucial and therefore no stars need to be rested in Munich.
Pep Guardiola continues to have a whole host of players out injured, as he did in the first leg last week.
Left-back David Alaba may not return before the end of the season and centre-back Holger Badstuber is done for the season. Backup defender and midfielder Sebastian Rode is available again though.
Neither Franck Ribéry or Arjen Robben have recovered in time – Bayern Munich played without an out-and-out left winger last week, though Mario Götze is capable of playing in that role.
Luis Enrique has no absentees for his trip to south Germany.
Pep Guardiola has to play more attacking football this time after barely producing a shot on target versus Marc-André ter Stegen at Camp Nou. The three-at-the-back system didn’t work so we think the Spanish head coach will go with a back four, whilst Mario Götze plays up front with Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller, instead of Philipp Lahm who was one of their most attack-minded players in the first leg.
No changes from Barcelona in the first leg although Pep Guardiola could potentially give one of his midfielders a rest. Barcelona don’t often change their tactics so don’t be surprised if they play similar to the first leg in going for the win, instead of sitting back and hitting the hosts on the counter.
Lionel Messi vs Juan Bernat
Lionel Messi produced two moments of magic late on to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead before his intelligence set up the third to all but kill off the tie after 90 minutes. He scored two excellent goals cutting in from the right so don’t be surprised if he gets the better of Juan Bernat, Jérôme Boateng, Manuel Neuer, and well, the whole of the Bayern team, once again.
Luis Suárez vs Jérôme Boateng
The Uruguayan had a lively opening 20 minutes, missing a one-on-one and a close-range header before fading out of the game. We can’t rule out Luis Suárez scoring in the second leg because he just keeps working and looking for goals. Jérôme Boateng got turned inside-out and landed on his stomach when Messi ran at him – perhaps Suárez will feel he can do similar in the second leg.
Thomas Müller vs Jordi Alba
Barcelona kept most of the Bayern Munich attack quiet in the first leg. Thomas Müller was even substituted in the second half such was his non-performance. We see Bayern Munich giving a fight to begin with in this game but ultimately losing hope when they either fail to score or concede another in the first half. When attacking, Thomas Müller down the right and when he moves in field will be one of the keys to any success Bayern have. If they have any.
4 – Bayern Munich are unbeaten at home in all four previous matches versus Barcelona in Europe (W2, D2).
7 – Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in each of their last seven competitive matches.
9 – Barcelona are on a nine-match winning streak in the Champions League.