Bayern gear up for Barca test

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Bayern Munich’s coach Jupp Heynckes.Photo: reuters
Bayern Munich’s coach Jupp Heynckes.Photo: reuters

Bayern Munich face the litmus test in their bid to become the first German team to win the treble of European, league and cup titles when they host Spanish giants Barcelona in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, first-leg.

Having swept aside all rivals to win this season’s Bundesliga title, Bayern are bidding to reach their third Champions League final in four years, but Spanish champions-elect Barcelona block their path to Wembley.

Arsenal have proved Bayern are far from unbeatable in Munich with a 2-0 win as the Gunners lost the last 16 tie on away goals after the Germans’ 3-1 victory in London, but the hosts have belief in abundance.

But Barcelona will be a significant step up from what Bayern have faced recently in the German league.

Star midfielder Lionel Messi has not played since coming of the bench in the second-leg of Barca’s quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain on April 10, but is expected to start against Bayern.

Barcelona travel to Munich in the unusual position of not being overwhelming favourites and midfielder Xavi said he expects a battle royal in Bavaria. But Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes knows his side can ill-afford to focus on Barcelona’s individual players and need a good result in Munich before the return leg in Spain on May 1.AFP



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