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Barcelona

Statistical breakdown of UCL semis

Five Aside
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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...

Suarez and Messi team up to smash Cordoba

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson recaps Barcelona's 8-0 thrashing of bottom-side Cordoba.

Barcelona smashed Cordoba 8-0 on matchday 35 of La Liga, with Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez (hat trick), Lionel Messi (brace), Gerard Pique and Neymar scoring the goals for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 76 percent of possession, created 27 goal-scoring chances and attempted 20 shots, 11 of them on target and one to the post.

Manager Luis Enrique's decision to field his strongest possible XI from the initial whistle made the match hugely one-sided, with the Blaugrana dominating from beginning to end....

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...

 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 hit eight, Real Madrid keep pace - Five things learned from La Liga

The ESPN FC team continue their debate about whether La Liga or the Premier League is tougher, following Barcelona's 8-0 win over Cordoba.

Five things from the weekend's La Liga action as the things hotted up at both the top and the bottom of the table.

1. Title watch

Barcelona won 8-0 at Cordoba on Saturday to remain two points clear atop the La Liga table with just three games to play, but Real Madrid's 3-2 win at Sevilla could yet prove the more significant result in the title race.

It was a minor surprise that Barca's game against the already doomed Cordoba was still scoreless past the 40-minute mark, but Ivan Rakitic and Luis...

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...