Barcelona v Bayern Munich – Camp Nou at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1
Asian handicap betting professionals will be searching for value in this second semi-final which is a repeat of the 2012/13 Champions League semi-final. Where Barcelona were reduced to innocent bystanders as Bayern Munich crushed the Catalans 7-0 on aggregate, the largest margin of victory in a semi-final since the competition began.
This will be the first time that Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola, will return to his spiritual home to face his beloved Barca with his new club since leaving back in 2012. His legacy at the club remains but this season they have evolved again under new manager Luis Enrique, who has added more pace and urgency to their mesmeric passing style.
Enrique’s changes to tactic’s and personnel did take a few months to bed in but once it did, they have not looked back. They are undefeated in 16 games and if you go further back to when his idea’s really started to take hold of the team around November, they have won thirty six, drawn two and lost just two of forty matches!
The addition of Luis Suarez to their attack, along with the development of Neymar and the continued brilliance of Leonel Messi has given Barcelona the most feared and revered front three in world football. They have scored 108 goals between them already this season and with as many as seven games still to play, who knows what their final tally will be.
Barca have won their last six games in a row, scoring 23 goals in the process and conceding just once! Their Champions League form is equally impressive, as they have won eight straight since losing at PSG in the group stage. Notching another twenty goals while conceding only four during those eight games, demonstrates that Barcelona are getting very close to perfection this season.
Pep’s life at Bayern Munich has not been a plain sailing as some might have expected but his results cannot be questioned, for the time being at least. He has led the Bavarians to back to back Bundesliga titles, as well as a domestic cup triumph but with the limited competition Bayern face in German football, it is in the Champions League that his success will be measured.
Last season Pep’s Bayern also reached the semi-finals but were soundly beaten 5-0 on aggregate by eventual winners Real Madrid and with the second leg turning into a 4-0 rout at the Allianz Arena, the Spaniard will be desperate to avoid a similar humiliation against his old club this time around.
Although it is hard to believe that Pep’s job is under real threat at the moment, it is also unlikely that the assorted luminaries who run Die Bayern would stand for many more crushing Champions League defeats. Unfortunately for the manager he has to go into the match tonight with a half strength team.
Bayern’s injury list of David Alaba, Holger Badstuber, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben would be a major handicap against most teams, let alone when having to play away at an in form Barcelona. To make matters worse Robert Lewandowski is a doubt as well, after breaking his cheek and nose in the defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.
Bayern’s recent form has not been great either with just five wins in ten, including their shocking 3-1 reverse at Porto in the Champions League quarter-finals. In fact their recent away record in Europe’s top competition leaves a lot to be desired.
They have only won two of five away games in Europe this season and they have now only one once in their last five knockout round ties, since winning the tournament two years ago. Barcelona have won nine and drawn one of their previous ten home games in the Champions League, the last team to beat them was actually Bayern Munich.
Our algorithm shows that the bookies are not far off with their pricing on the Asian handicap betting markets for this match but there is a touch of value on the home side and with the injuries that Bayern have to contend with, it is hard to see how they can get anything from the match.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Barcelona -1 at 2.36
Price correct at the time of writing.
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