There should be big pressure on Barca tonight, as they need to win this season’s competition to salvage this campaign – having relinquished the La Liga title to Real Madrid – however, the pressure has seemingly been significantly lessened by Bayern’s heavy favourites tag, with the Bavarians priced at -200 to qualify from this tie. Nobody is picking Barcelona to win tonight and Quique Setien’s sacking seems to be a forgone conclusion, while the inquest into why Barca have failed so badly this season, seems imminent.
With all that said, this subsequently now puts a large majority of the pressure on Bayern, who were installed as 3/1 tournament favourites before the August restart, with Barcelona – the 9/2 pre-tournament in September- available at 9/1. This all strikes me as huge over-reaction to the post-lockdown form, where Barcelona lost out on the La Liga title, while Bayern Munich swept aside all, maintaining a 100% record on route to their domestic league and cup. However, that form bears little to no relevance on this one-off game, where the personnel seems to be relatively evenly matched – as outlined by my combined XI – with Barcelona possessing the “Messi magic“ to turn any game on it‘s head. I also think the Catalans may benefit from a situation where they aren’t forced to dictate the pace of the game, leaving them far less susceptible to mistakes and counters. This may be something to note, for those intending to hammer the over.
Prediction- Everyone will tell you about Bayern’s recent form, however, Barca have only lost 2 of their last 31 Champions League games and are unbeaten in their last 6 matches against German clubs since a 2nd leg defeat to Bayern in the semi-finals of the 2015 competition. While Bayern are the rightful favourites to qualify tonight, I have zero interest in taking -200 in contest where I narrowly favour Bayern.
Give me Messi and Co here at a ludicrous +150 to qualify for the semi-finals. This is a team who have snatched defeat from the jaws over victory over the last 2 seasons, and it would be a typical footballing irony to see them counter those back-to-back disappointments, by rising against the odds today.
Recommended Bet- 0.5U Barcelona to Qualify @6/4