- Bayern must overturn a 3-0 away deficit to reach their 11th European Cup final
- Bavarians are unbeaten in last-four matches against Barca in Europe
- They also have a 100% record at the Allianz Arena this season
- Barcelona are 37-39 in Uefa competition ties which they won the home leg
- The Baulgranas have never beaten Bayern on the road
- Bayern without key players
Nobody sets out to conquer by accepting defeat before their first step, and of what basis is guts without emotions. Such was the aura of uncertainty that gripped the vicinity of Pep Guardiola’s media conference ahead of Bayern Munich’s home leg against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League.
Bayern’s bid for a third success against Barcelona in Europe’s elite last four suffered huge setback last week following their 3-0 thrashing in Spain. The German champions had it all to fight for until Lionel Messi stormed their boat and changed the tide after 77 minutes. And with that weight of disappointment hanging over their shoulder, Guardiola and his wards face a difficult task in inspiring the club’s biggest comeback.
“I’m the coach, I’m a realist, and I’ll never say we don’t have a chance,” the 44-year-old said. “We have to play with our hearts and our heads.”
It’s six years since Barca traveled to Munich with a commanding home lead on the way to their only previous two-legged victory over the Bavarians in the quarter-finals of the 2008-09 Champions League. Messi also provided two of the Baulgranas’ four goals as they won the first leg 4-0 at the Camp Nou and they went on to share the spoils 1-1 in the reverse.
Guardiola ironically led Barca to that successs against a Jurgen Klinsman-tutored Bayern, whose only goal was provided by the now-injured Frank Ribery.
“I did my best at Barça. For some it was enough, for others it wasn’t,” reckons the Spaniard, who will again be counting on his team’s rank and files in absence of Arjen Robben, Ribery and David Alaba amongst others. “It’s the same here. I just want us to play well.”
“Of course I want to win, but my life will not change if we do not win. We will do everything tomorrow. It is great to have won everything with Barcelona and Munich, but we had a super team with super players.
“Everything comes down to the players. I am not fighting for my own name, I am here for the players. I have always given my best. We will try our best.”
Bayern form vs. record
Five-time champions Bayern must contend with their recent downward trend if they must stage an 11th European Cup final appearance at the Olympiastadion in the German capital of Berlin.
Having failed to score a goal in 361 minutes of football, the Bundesliga champions are on a winless run of three consecutive games in all competitions (aside the 2-0 penalty shootout defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final of the German Cup) for the first time since 1998- their last win being the 1-0 league victory over Hertha Berlin which confirmed their third successive German title in April.
Bayern have won all two of their previous meetings with the Catalans in the last four of European competions, most notably a 7-0 aggregate (4-0 home; 3-0 away) thumping by Jupp Heynckes’s eventual champions in the 2012-13 campaign. They emerged Uefa Cup (now Europa League) winners in the 1995-96 championship when they also eliminated a Barca side that included Guardiola 4-3 on aggregate in the semi final.
And Guardiola’s men have already proved, this campaign, that they have enough spring in their bounce to regain their champions’ pedigree after recovering from a 3-1 away deficit to humiliate FC Porto 6-1 at the Allianz Arena; a result which pitched them against four-time European Cup winners Barcelona. That was the first time they have recovered from a two-goal first-leg deficit in Europe, and coupled with their 7-0 defeat off Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern have scored 13 goals in their last two matches in front of their boisterous Munich fans.
Guardiola added: “We have to have patience. We can’t do everything in 20-25 minutes. First of all we have to play football, and of course we have to score goals. People are saying we need to attack, but after the game in Barcelona we need control.
“We have to take advantage of any opportunities we create, but with our quality the game will speak for itself. We did not expect to beat win like we did against Porto [in the quarter-finals] and Shakhtar Donetsk [in the round of 16]. We will see.
“The mentality is not a problem in this team. We can’t forget that six, seven or eight of these guys have won the World Cup. “