Blogs & Opinion


Niall Quinn says Bayern Munich can edge Barcelona in first leg

Niall Quinn - Niall Quinn Posted 22nd April 2013 view comments

This a dream semi-final for any football fan and it's what the Champions League is all about. All I can say is sit back and enjoy.

I'm thrilled to be watching the game, but it's not so easy to try and call it because every time you find a positive for one side, you can find similar ones for the other!

Barcelona have been the best side in Europe for several years, but Bayern Munich are the new pretenders to that crown. They surprised many people when they beat Real Madrid in the semi-finals last year and they'll be looking to do the same to Barcelona this time around.

Gomez: main attacking threat for Bayern

Gomez: main attacking threat for Bayern

They've a great chance as well. I wrote in this column at the start of the season that Bayern Munich were my tip to win the competition because of their strength in depth and the way they have progressed over the last few years.

They have the best goalkeeper in the land in Manuel Neuer and people like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben give you all sorts of threat. However, you'd have to say Bastian Schweinsteiger is their talisman in the middle of the park.

Going forward it's a shame that Toni Kroos is injured because he's a player I've been looking at for many years and Mario Mandzukic is banned, so you'd have to say the main goal threat is likely to come from Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller. They may have long periods of domination but will they have someone to score the vital goal when required? That's a big question going into the game.

Bayern have momentum on their side at this stage, though. The only blemish on their Champions League record this year is the second leg against Arsenal when they went asleep a little bit and lost 2-0 at home, but they came through the tie comfortably overall.

And we saw what they could do when they were revved up with their impressive performance against Juventus in the last eight, but if Barcelona turn up on the day and put on a performance then who am I to say that anybody can stop them?

They changed manager at the start of the season and he has had health issues during the season and overall they haven't been as fluent as in previous years. But when the chips are down this team is capable of beating anybody.

We saw that when they looked to be in big trouble against AC Milan when they lost 2-0, but upped it in the second leg and turned it all around.

Personally, I think they would be happy with a draw and take Bayern back to the Nou Camp and I think they may play more defensively than they would normally. You could even see Lionel Messi playing a little bit more withdrawn in this game.

They have drawn three of their last five Champions League games and Bayern would be concerned if they were to get another on Tuesday night because that would set the Spanish team up for a famous night the following week.

Bayern Munich need to win this first leg. They need the benefit of an advantage to take away with them. It should be a fantastic game and I'm edging towards them doing that. I still see them getting to the final.

NIALL'S PREDICTION: Bayern to narrowly win the first leg

See extended highlights of the first leg of Bayern Munich v Barcelona from midnight on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) on Sky Sports 1 HD.Click here to read Niall's verdict on Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

After a successful weekend of predictions, Merson expects Chelsea to prevail at Stoke on Monday....

Latest News RSS feeds

Skrtel earns Liverpool draw

A 97th-minute bullet header from defender Martin Skrtel earned Liverpool a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.

Johnson snatches derby win

Sunderland clinched a fourth straight win over Newcastle as Adam Johnson's last-gasp strike sealed a 1-0 victory.

McCoist leaves Rangers

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has left his role and will serve out the remainder of his contract on 'gardening leave'.

Redknapp: Errors deny Liverpool

Liverpool’s defensive problems are robbing them of the victories their attacking superiority deserves, says Jamie Redknapp.

Rodgers: Liverpool on the up

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool's performance in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Arsenal was better than in February's 5-1 win.

Features

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

"It was a bizarre game and lots of unusual things happened." That was how Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith summed up Liverpool and Arsenal's thrilling 2-2 draw on Super Sunday.

Premier League: Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic settling at Stoke and ready for fresh clash with Chelsea

Premier League: Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic settling at Stoke and ready for fresh clash with Chelsea

Bojan Krkic made his name at Barcelona but is now hoping to build a career at Stoke City, writes Adam Bate.

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Adam Johnson once again grabbed the headlines in the Tyne-Wear derby, finding the net at St James’ Park for the third season in a row to help Sunderland to a record fourth-straight victory over arch rivals Newcastle in the Premier League.