Barcelona are gunning for their first Champions League final in five years, while for Bayern the wait now stretches to seven. It’s the latter who look better positioned to make a mark this term however, with the Catalan giants facing familiar problems yet again this season.
Quique Setien praised Barcelona’s resolve after coming through their tie with Napoli, but the inexperienced boss is facing increasing criticism in the dugout and probably won’t make it to next season unless he can land this trophy.
It would be the first time in over a decade where Barcelona have failed to win anything, but he was lambasted by the local press for shunning youth players like Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig at the weekend, despite Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Arthur Melo, Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite all being unavailable.
Whereas Barca were once all about tiki-taka, especially when Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta prowled the midfield, they then evolved under Luis Enrique and became more potent on the counter-attack with a more direct approach enabled by the signing of Neymar.
However, recruitment has largely been poor in recent times and the team has thoroughly lost its identity. They’re still heavily dependent on ageing forward stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, with the former scoring an exquisite goal to help Barcelona past Napoli.
Robert Lewandowski To Score Anytime
Bayern have their own in-form hitman however, with Robert Lewandowski unlucky that the final stages of this tournament is all one-legged as he chases down Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 17 goals set in 2013/14.
Lewandowski is currently on 13, averaging an incredible 1.85 goals per game, and we’d back him to score against a rather susceptible defence.
Bayern Munich To Beat Barcelona
In fact, Barcelona only have three clean sheets from eight appearances since late June, each coming against bottom-half sides in the shape of Espanyol, Valladolid and Alaves.
Meanwhile, they have one clean sheet in their last seven in Europe as they were held to a goalless stalemate by Slavia Prague in the group stages.
Whereas Barca continue to stumble and especially away from the Nou Camp, it’s impossible to ignore the sort of form Bayern find themselves in.
So far, they’ve won 22 of 23 unbeaten matches in 2020, netting at least three times in 15 of these games, while they also registered 12 clean sheets.
We wouldn’t back on another shutout here given Barcelona’s forward talents, but we’d expect the favourites to show their dominance and outgun the disjointed Catalans nonetheless.