London, Aug 14: A mouth-watering clash awaits the football fans on Friday night as Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich lock horns with Spanish giants Barcelona for a spot in the final four of Champions League.
Barca overcame Napoli in the quarter-finals to reach the quarter-finals while Bayern romped past Chelsea with a 7-1 aggregate victory.
There will only be one-legged matches in the quarter-finals after UEFA's flagship competition was moved to Lisbon in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
French defender Benjamin Pavard is ruled out due to an ankle injury. Philippe Coutinho is available to face his parent club Barcelona although it is likely he will be named on the bench. Winger Kingsley Coman is expected to be available for this game after his recovery from a muscular problem.
Samuel Umtiti will again not be available due to a knee injury but Ousmane Dembele has returned to training following a long-term hamstring issue and he could be involved.
Bayern's form is remarkable at the moment - they are unbeaten in all competitions since early December. They have a very well-organised team who are on top of their game. Bayern play with high intensity and dynamism which will be tough for Barca to handle. Coman/Perisic, Gnabry and Lewandowski will lead the attack for Bayern.
On the other hand, Barca will have to curb their attacking instincts to focus on their defending. An early goal might help their cause. They do play better against teams which don't sit back and if the game is wide open Barca have a good chance of surprising Bayern.
Bayern are slight favourites to win this match owing to their recent good performances and the impressive form of their main man Lewandowski. However, with Messi in their ranks, Barca will always have a chance. Forwards Suarez, Lewandowski, Gnabry and Messi will have major responsibility on their shoulders to deliver a good performance in this match. These four will create goal-scoring opportunities in the match and are good options to try as captain and vice-captain.
Prediction for this game is 3-2 to Bayern. Players coming off the bench like Antoine Griezmann, Perisic, Braithwaite, Coutinho, Dembele could also potentially play some part in this match.
Probable Starting XI
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Thiago, Goretzka; Coman, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Vidal, De Jong; Suarez, Messi.
Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
Defenders: Semedo, Pique, Jordi Alba, Roberto, David Alaba, Davies
Mid-Fielders: Kimmich, Coman, Gnabry
Strikers: Suarez, Messi, Lewandowski, Muller