MOTD- Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich

Marc Barta goes to ground after being tripped by Mario Mandzukic, an image that sums up Barca's night

Marc Barta goes to ground after being tripped by Mario Mandzukic, an image that sums up Barca’s night

Bayern Munich have reached the Champions League final for the third time in four years, where they will meet Borussia Dortmund in the first ever all-German final.  Barca, who were surprisingly without Lionel Messi, struggled to use the wings throughout the game, partly resulting in Bayern’s 3-0 win.  Although Messi played over the weekend against Athletic Bilbao in a non-important La Liga match, the Argentine was rested for the semifinal, which will surely cause headlines.  Barcelona were also suffering from multiple injury and suspension set-backs, with Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets among those who could not play.  Bayern thrashed the Spanish side 7-0 on aggregate after their 4-0 win in the first leg, and 3-0 on the night.

Both sides started the match rather poorly, with bad touches and passes marring the match.  Bayern were the first to come out of the early daze, and the German side almost went up in the thirteenth minute when Tomas Muller laid the ball off to Bastian Schweinsteiger at the halfway line.  Schweinsteiger curled a ball above the Barca defense to the run of Arjen Robben down the right, but right as the winger was about to pull the trigger in the box, Gerard Pigue marvelously recovered after being caught out, and dispossessed Robben.  Bayern again Continue reading

MOTD- Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona

Bayern deservedly crush Barca 4-0, with the German side seemingly grabbing a spot in the Champions League finals

Bayern deservedly crush Barca 4-0, with the German side seemingly grabbing a spot in the Champions League finals

Bayern Munich notched an historic and well-deserved 4-0 victory over Barcelona in their Champions League semifinal first leg, with Barcelona’s gamble to play a half-fit Lionel Messi backfiring on the Blaugrana. Although Barca had much of the possession in the early stages of the match, Bayern looked more dangerous than their Spanish opponents, who despite the possession could not create any chances. Bayern’s first chance of the match came in the second minute when Javi Martinez’s cute back-flick to Arjen Robben gave him space to shoot, but the Dutch winger’s scuffed shot from the right side of the box was kicked away by Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Continue reading

MOTD preview- Bayern Munich vs Barcelona

Barcelona are set to travel to Munich to take on newly crowned German Champions Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal tie, with the two powerhouses both looking to gain an advantage in the first leg.  While the news of Lionel Messi being declared fit to play is a huge boost for the Blaugrana, they will have a though time against Munich, who have only lost to Barca one in the clubs last six meetings.  There have been two draws in the last six meetings between the clubs, while Bayern have amazingly been victorious in three of the meetings.  Although not doing well in this fixture, Barca have been on an eight match unbeaten run on German soil stretching back to 2001.  Continue reading

Champions League semifinal draw: Barca get Bayern, Madrid get Dortmund

The prospect of a El Clasico Champions League final is still on track, with Real Madrid and Barcelona being kept apart in the Champions League semifinal draw.  Barca draw 2011/2012 finalists and newly crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, while Madrid drew Borussia Dortmund, which means there is a possibility of an all Spanish or all German Wembley final.

Bayern, who lost last seasons final on penalties to Chelsea, will bid to make their second successive final at Wembley on May 25, but will have to get past Barca, who they play in the first leg of their tie on April 23 at the Allianz Arena.  The German champions trampled over Juventus in the quarterfinals, winning 4-0 on aggregate after dominating both ties.

Barca are current leaders of La Liga, and are in their sixth consecutive Champions League semifinal after losing to Chelsea in the semis last year.  The Blaugrana drew twice with Paris Saint-Germain in this years quarterfinals, the first leg 2-2 in Paris and the second leg 1-1 at the Nou Camp, meaning Barca only progressed to the semifinals through away goals.  Tito Vilanova’s side will play Bayern, in a clash of two footballing giants, who play the exact same style of football.

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MOTD- Barcelona 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain

Barcelona have earned a place in the Champions League semifinals, with the injection of a half-fit Lionel Messi making the difference. Barcelona started the match playing their usual tiki-taka style, and Xavi almost put them up after only two minutes when his curling free-kick from the edge of the box beat PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, but skimmed just wide of the far post.  Despite barely seeing the ball in the opening minutes, PSG settled into the match well, with Lucas Moura’s low drive from the edge of the box forcing a good save out of Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes.  PSG became more and more confident, and the French side did not let Barca spend too much time on the ball.  The match started to become very open, and Sirigu pushed Pedro’s low cross away just before it reached Xavi, before Iniesta did well to hit a drive straight at Sirigu in the twenty-fourth minute.  Seconds later PSG almost got in front when Zlatan Ibrahimovic played a brilliant through ball to Ezequiel Lavezzi who was making a run into the box.  Lavezzi took one touch to control it, before hitting a low shot that an oncoming Valdes awkwardly palmed away.

PSG became more and more threatening, and then almost went up in the twenty-eight minute when Marco Verratti chipped the ball over the Barca defense for Ibrahimovic.  The Swede took the ball down the left side of the box, before curling in a cross to Moura at the far post, who forced Valdes to punch his blazing header out for a corner.  Continue reading

MOTD halftime- Barcelona 0-0 Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain have started their Champions League Quarterfinal second leg against Barcelona brightly, with the absence of Messi hurting Barca.  Barcelona started the match playing their usual tiki-taka style, and Xavi almost put them up after only two minutes when his curling free-kick from the edge of the box beat PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, but skimmed just wide of the far post.  Despite barely seeing the ball in the opening minutes, PSG settled into the match, with Lucas Moura’s low drive from the edge of the box forcing a good save out of Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes.  PSG became more and more confident, and the French side did not let Barca spend too much time on the ball.  Continue reading

MOTD preview- Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain

Barcelona are set to take on Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou in the Champions League Quarterfinals , with the possible absence of Lionel Messi looming over The Blaugrana. Messi had to be substituted at halftime in the first leg through a hamstring injury, and if the Argentine is declared not fit enough to play, Barca would play Cesc Fabregas in his “false number nine” position. The two sides drew 2-2 in the first leg in France , with Blaise Matuidi scoring an injury time equalizer for PSG, despite Barca having a 65% possession throughout the match. Barca only need a 0-0 or 1-1 draw to progress to the semifinals for the sixth consecutive time, and should not be to worried, even though center-backs Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol are injured along with Messi. Mascherano and Puyol’s injury will be a huge boost to PSG, who will be looking to give the Barca defense, who have been looking very shaky in recent weeks (shipping thirteen goals in their last ten matches), a very hard time.

Barca have nearly locked down the La Liga trophy (being thirteen points clear of rivals Real Madrid with only eight games left in the season), and their focus is now concentrating on the Champions League (as they are also out of the Copa del Rey). The Blaugrana have been in inconsistent form by their standards, and have suffered Continue reading