A Citizen Abroad; UEFA Champions League Semifinal Preview

WEEKEND PREVIEW SPLIT:

This week the penultimate round of the Champions League begins, and what tasty pairings we have! As if on field stories weren’t enough, there is plenty of behind the scenes drama to around. One such story broke yesterday afternoon and it is a transfer move that will shake the Bundesliga. The move will see Dortmund wunderkind Mario Götze leave for Bayern Munich on July 1. Götze was being chased by many top clubs in Europe, and the Bavarians have got the confident young playmaker that their new boss will need to make the new Bayern Munich tick. If we look at the final four clubs we see that we have some mouthwatering possibilities for the final. Could we see “El Classico” at Wembley? Or could London be blitzed by Germans again? (Too soon?) And who wouldn’t love to see the firepower of a Real Madrid-Bayern Munich final? Today, let’s take a closer look at our first semifinal matchup.

Barcelona-Bayern München
This matchup has been making news for months, even before we could’ve ever guessed that these two would meet up. Football is funny that way. What I’m referring to, of course, is that Pep Guardiola will be taking the helm for the Bavarians in June. Pep needs no introduction for a smart, football savvy person like you. I wonder if he was able to get in (Keebler elf) Jupp Heynckes (giant) ear to give him some ideas on how to defeat the feared tiki taka? Heynckes has come out and said that he doesn’t need to speak to Guardiola ahead of this match. This seems stupid to me, if anyone knows how to destroy the Death Star, it’s the guy that built it, right? I digress. On the pitch we see a matchup of two of the most potent offensive sides in the world. My fear, however, is that only one of these will be on display. 9 out of 10 clubs will “park the bus” against Barcelona and hope for a mistake (see Chelsea, etc.) I pray that Bayern will attack the Blaugrana. If we look at the defensive deficiencies for Barça, there is no reason why Bayern couldn’t defeat them. Munich is going to score, their style will decide how many. Victor Valdes is an error prone, overrated keeper (in my opinion), and the lack of a regular back line doesn’t help him at all. For all of the attackers Barcelona possess, their lack of depth at the back is nothing short of shocking. Mostly depleted by injuries, the center back pairing for the Catalans has been a carousel. It was so bad at one point that Adriano, a wing back, was fielded as a starting center half against PSG. To make things worse, they may be without the little magician, Lionel Messi. This, however, is up in the air, and there are a lot of conflicting reports as to his fitness. All of these factors leave the floodgates doors open for a deadly Bayern Munich to attack with extreme prejudice, should they choose to nut up. I see this half of the semis as the true final, and will say that Munich have a great chance to shock the Blaugrana. Keep your eyes on Javi Martinez for Bayern Munich, as there is a great chance that he could be deployed to blanket Xavi or Iniesta in order to break up the passing in the middle of the pitch. Also, expect to see a toned down version of Dani Alves for Barcelona. His constant marauding from the full back position will have to be toned down against Franck Ribery. One slip up by the Brazilian could allow Ribery one on one with Valdes, a battle Valdes would be hard pressed to win.

So folks, get where you have to be today to watch this one! Grab a pint, and cross your fingers because this has all the potential to be a whirlwind two leg tie. Talk to you later Blues!!

(Who the fook is) Joey McCune
@jtmccune on twitter…GO FOLLOW ME SUCKAS!

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