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Barcelona

Statistical breakdown of UCL semis

Five Aside
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History means nothing in the Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich duel

The ESPN FC team discuss Robert Lewandowski's mask he will be featuring in Bayern Munich's clash with Barcelona, where Raf Honigstein believes Lewandowski seems to be comfortable despite suffering a fractured nose and jaw at the end of April.

Beware the law of small numbers. Up until the semifinal in Belo Horizonte last summer -- you'll probably remember, it finished 7-1 -- Germany had never beaten Brazil at a World Cup before. They had not even managed a draw against the Selecao, only defeat -- specifically, in their one and only meeting up until then, in the 2002 final in Yokohoma. Brazil won that one 2-0.

When the sample size is so small, it's not a good idea to draw grandiose conclusions. Yes, FC Bayern's record against Barcelona...

 By Lee Roden

Beating Pep Guardiola's Bayern could shape the future of Barcelona

For the first time since leaving the Catalan giants, Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola will face FC Barcelona in a competitive fixture.

It is hard to fathom two matches of greater importance for the future of Barcelona than their Champions League semifinal clash with Bayern Munich on Wednesday. A final appearance in Berlin in June would certainly be huge, but the emotional significance of facing the coach who shaped the greatest team the club has ever seen adds an extra degree of weight to this tie.

At the height of that team's prowess, the hope among many supporters was that Pep Guardiola could become Barcelona's Sir Alex Ferguson;...

Pep Guardiola faces biggest challenge yet against former club Barcelona

The ESPN FC crew give their take on the SPI prediction that gives Barcelona a slight edge over Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League.

The wonder, and real key to the Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is whether Pep Guardiola has by now found what he describes as the "flash of inspiration ... the moment that makes sense of my profession."

Because, by the time the Bayern coach returns to the luscious lights and 99,000 welcoming fans of the Camp Nou on Wednesday, Guardiola will hope to disappoint those same fans by drawing on what he has deduced from hours spent alone in a darkened room.

It is his preparation...

 By Lee Roden

Champions League semifinals rest on four one-on-one battles

Take a By The Numbers look ahead of the Champions League semifinal first legs, as Real Madrid search for consecutive Champions League titles and Bayern Munich aim to continue their dominance at the Camp Nou.

The business end of the Champions League is upon us, and with seven the minimum number of final appearances made by each team in this year's last four, the current semifinals promise to be particularly spectacular.

Real Madrid may be gunning to become the first team to defend the trophy in the Champions League era, but with a win in this competition being the one achievement eluding Juventus in their post-Calciopoli scandal resurgence, the will of the Italians shouldn't be underestimated -- and neither...

Can Andres Iniesta beat Pep Guardiola, the man who made him great at Barca?

ESPN FC's Martin Ainstein previews the Champions League semifinal as Barcelona takes on former manager Josep Guardiola and his Bayern side.

Let's go back to the Camp Nou press room in March 2009.

FC Barcelona have just beaten Athletic Bilbao 2-0. In the distance is the treble. They'll win it, too, in Pep Guardiola's first season. Exactly a month away is the Champions League quarterfinal, home and then away to the other FCB: FC Bayern München.

Guardiola is commenting on the match his side have just won and suddenly goes into overdrive. He says about his No. 8 that day: "Andrés [Iniesta] stands alone. Beyond the fact that he's a terrific...

 By Michael Cox

The differences between Guardiola's Barcelona vs. Guardiola's Bayern

Take a By The Numbers look ahead of the Champions League semifinal first legs, as Real Madrid search for consecutive Champions League titles and Bayern Munich aim to continue their dominance at the Camp Nou.

The super club era, and the resulting repetition in the Champions League knockout stage, means it was inevitable that Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola would meet old club Barcelona at some point.

It's somewhat fitting that it comes in at the semifinal stage, because the 2013 semifinal between Bayern and Barca was effectively when Guardiola's reign at Bayern started. In reality, he wasn't literally involved in the tie, having departed Barca the previous summer. But Guardiola had already been announced...