Friday, March 20, 2009

Barcelona V Bayern Munich

The English clubs managed to avoid Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final draw though either Chelsea or Liverpool are set to meet the German giants in the semi-final. That’s of course if Bayern manage to overcome many critic’s favourites Barcelona in their quarter-final.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s return to Bavaria has not gone quite as swimmingly as the former German national coach may have hoped. Having adopted a side that were already Bundesliga champions, Klinsmann has had problems instilling his liberal attacking approach at the Allianz Arena, with the early season, in particular, highlighting some teething problems between the coach’s preferred system and his new charges. However, an eleven match unbeaten run leading up to the winter break left Bayern level on points with surprise leaders Hoffenheim, and 2009 has seen mixed form from Bayern, leaving them currently lying in second place, four points behind incumbent leaders Hertha Berlin.

A growing trend at Bayern in recent times has been the increasing dependency on French winger Franck Ribery. The dynamic wide man was the principle reason behind Bayern’s autumnal upturn in form, and he grabbed a brace in FCB’s 5-0 first-leg victory over Sporting Lisbon in the last 16. In defence, the impressive Lucio is partnered by Argentine Martin Demichelis. Converted from a deep lying midfield role, Demichelis can look uncomfortable in his new role and is often found susceptible to positional problems.

Their 12-1 aggregate success over Sporting Lisbon is most certainly paper over the cracks, but their individual quality in the attacking third often gets them out of trouble. For that reason, the Bavarians will always be a threat. They will however, be missing talismanic forward Miroslav Klose in the quarter-finals after the German international picked up an ankle injury.

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