Once again, Bayern Munich finds themselves caught in a match that many think should have been the final. Barcelona will likely prove a much tougher test than Juventus, and the Germans certainly have their work cut out for them as they try to tarnish the Catalan Footballing Dynasty known as FC Barcelona.
Neither side has an easy mountain to climb. Bayern Munich are currently playing some of the best football they ever have, and Barcelona have been pulling off miracle comebacks and wins all season long. Both teams are loaded with talent all over the pitch, and have world class players in various positions.
Some are tipping the Bavarians to come up on top, and others think the Catalans will pull through. Here are some reasons to believe that the Germans can go onto the final at Wembley.
Bayern Are Effective On The Counter-Attack
While counter-attacking football isn’t something Bayern Munich usually has to do, it’s still an attacking style that the Germans are ruthlessly efficient in. We saw it against Real Madrid in last year’s Champions League, and with fast players like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich are efficient on the counter-attack.
Barcelona on the other hand have struggled to handle teams with an efficient counter-attack. Perhaps the best example of this would be their most recent games against Real Madrid, where Barcelona has fallen victim to the counter-attacks of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Oezil.
More than likely, Bayern Munich will play like they did against Arsenal. They will let Barcelona have more possession, and then try and do more with the possession that they get.
Barcelona’s Defense Is In Bad Shape
It seems cliché this season to say that Barcelona’s defense has been sub-par, but the Catalan defense has been unbelievably poor this season, conceding 56 goals in all competitions.
Barcelona will also have to cope with Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano struggling with injury. This leaves some serious questions for Barcelona, as they will likely field either Alex Song, a defensive midfielder whose performances at center-back have been questionable, or Marc Bartra who is untested against an attack like Bayern’s.
Of course, Barcelona’s defense just needs one gritty game of brilliance to pull off a win. But their frailty in the back will benefit Bayern greatly.
Robbery Can Expose Barcelona’s Full-Backs
Jordi Alba and Dani Alves are two of the best attacking full-backs in the world, and their contributions to Barcelona are unquestioned. Unfortunately, they can also be liabilities.
Having two attacking full-backs has worked well for Barcelona when they face teams who mostly defend, but Bayern Munich will not only defend. The Bavarians will look to score goals, and Alba and Alves could leave their flanks exposed for Robben and Ribery.
“Robbery” will likely be able to sneak past Barcelona’s full-backs and give service to Mario Gomez or Claudio Pizarro, which will cause lots of problems for Barcelona’s defense.
Bayern Can Take Advantage Of Set-Pieces
Saying Bayern Munich are efficient with set-pieces is a laughable statement, because truthfully Bayern’s ability with set-pieces is rather poor. However, they are more efficient than Barcelona, who won’t be able to compete with Bayern in that area.
It’s a materialistic observation to make, but Bayern’s players are taller than almost all of Barcelona’s. Players like Mario Gomez, Claudio Pizarro, Thomas Mueller, and Daniel Van Buyten are all effective headers of the ball, and Bayern will dominate the game aerially.
If Bayern plan on scoring, set-pieces will be key.
Simply put, no team in world football looks more motivated to take home the UEFA Champions League title than Bayern Munich do. After the heartbreaking loss to Chelsea FC in the final last season, the Bavarians have made all the moves to ensure a strong title run.
With major investments in players like Mario Mandzukic, Dante, and Javi Martinez Bayern have revolutionized their football and have been playing at a high level both domestically and in Europe.
They’ll need more than motivation to beat the Catalan giants, but if any team are poised to dethrone Barcelona its Bayern Munich.