We have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and the second semi-final takes place on Wednesday night.
The My Club Betting prognosticators offered a trio of bets last night – and all of them won! We gave you winners at odds of 1.40, 1.91 and 2.82 – and also weighed in with a 9.20 correct score winner!
Our guys cast their eyes over the second semi-final and pick out a trio of bets to whet your appetite…
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A lot has been made of the injuries that Bayern Munich have to overcome in order to reach the Champions League final.
It is true that they will miss the pace of Arjen Robben, who can unlock the tightest of defences.
But even though they have kept five clean sheets in their last five games, this Barcelona side is far from solid at the back.
Bayern will certainly be weakened by the loss of Franck Ribery, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.
However, it is likely that the influential Poland international striker Robert Lewandowski will play, albeit with a face mask.
Lewandowski has contributed five goals two assists in 10 Champions League games this season and Pep Guardiola, who won 14 trophies in four years at Barcelona, will know his Bayern side are unlikely to progress unless they grab an away goal.
Guardiola returns to face the club that made him and the Bayern Munich manager knows it won’t be an easy homecoming.
Bayern have not fared particularly well on their travels in Europe this season and had to overcome a 3-1 first-leg quarter-final deficit against Porto, winning the second-leg 6-1.
But they have won three of their previous four encounters with Barcelona at the Camp Nou, including a 3-0 success in the 2012-13 semi-finals. That was part of a 7-0 aggregate win.
Barcelona, who seek their eighth European Cup final appearance, have won 13 of their 18 two-legged ties with German opposition and they are scoring goals for fun. They have bagged 14 in the last two matches and have kept five straight clean sheets.
While that 2012-13 semi-final thumping is unlikely to have been forgotten, Guardiola knows the Barcelona players and the system. He hopes to negate perhaps the most effective strike-force ever assembled in Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Likewise, the Barcelona players know his systems and how he thinks.
Italian whistle-blower Nicola Rizzoli is potentially a bad omen for the Blaugrana. He took charge of the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. In that game Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer escaped any sanction for his diabolical attack on Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain.
This season he took charge in Barcelona’s 3-2 defeat to PSG at the Parc des Princes and was also in the middle for Barca’s 2-1 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium a couple of seasons ago. In that game he disallowed what looked a perfectly good goal from Lionel Messi.
Bayern have won five of their seven European Cup semi-finals against Spanish teams and while they are injury-hit, this might be a more difficult test for Barcelona than many pundits are anticipating.
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