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Barcelona

Statistical breakdown of UCL semis

Five Aside
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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...

Barcelona won't be distracted by Guardiola return; too much at stake

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.

Pep Guardiola will be sitting on the wrong bench at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. Despite leaving his beloved Catalunya after only four seasons in charge and choosing to continue his professional career in Munich instead, Barcelona fans will never consider their former ball boy, captain and inspirational leader as an enemy.

Guardiola, born in Santpedor, is without a shadow of a doubt the club's best manager in over 115 years of history, the man who orchestrated the most attractive football the Camp...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Juve-Real Madrid; Barcelona-Bayern: Champions League predicted XIs

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 Champions League is down to the final four with Italian champions Juventus hosting European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday and Pep Guardiola returning to Barcelona with his current club Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Ahead of the fixtures we've factored in form, suspensions and injuries to predict the possible starting XIs for each team as they look to gain a first-leg advantage.

Juventus vs. Real Madrid

Juventus XI
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Juventus team news: Juventus will be without star midfielder Paul Pogba (thigh) and...

Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo -- who is more important to their team?

The age old debate continues as the ESPN FC crew discuss who is more important to their side in the Champions League, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

The UEFA Champions League has reached the semifinal stage, and this week sees the first legs of Juventus vs. Real Madrid and Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich.

This is the stage of the competition where the game's biggest stars shine, and there are none bigger than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Statistical breakdown of Real Madrid-Juventus and Bayern-Barcelona

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 Champions League semifinals kick off on Tuesday. Here is a statistical look at both matches this week, complete with Soccer Power Index (SPI) projections:

Juventus vs. Real Madrid (Tuesday)

Real Madrid and Juventus are ranked third and fourth among the semifinalists according to SPI. As a result, each received its best possible draw for the remainder of the tournament. Real Madrid would have been an underdog against both Bayern Munich and Barcelona, but is instead a 62 percent favorite to...