By DAN KARELL
With Lionel Messi on the bench, Barcelona will hope for another savior to help them come back from four goals down when they host Bayern Munich today in the Champions League semifinals (2:45pm FX Channel).
Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has called for his side to play good soccer, and through that, he’s confident that they will find a way to score goals. But it’s not going to be easy to come back from a four-goal deficit against a talented and fit team, even at the Camp Nou. Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets have both been ruled out with injury, meaning that the frailties of the Spanish side’s defense could be on full display again.
Jupp Heynckes’ squad won their tenth match in a row last Saturday, despite putting out a team with ten different starters from last Tuesday’s win over Barcelona. Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller were fully rested while Frank Ribery and Javi Martinez featured in the second half, meaning that the vaunted Bayern midfield should be at full strength when kickoff comes. Mario Mandzukic is available again, and though Dante is suffering from a slight illness, he’s expected to be ready to go.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action.
Its over for Barca and La Liga. Bundesliga and Bayern have arrived. They will be dominant for years to come! Nobody can stop Bayern, not even a team that has a good history against them in Dortmund.
Yeah, like Patton said “A fixed fortification is nothing but a monument to the stupdity of mankind.” Because Barca is such a known commodity and they are so utterly dependent on Messi, they are now back to being the best team on the Iberian Peninsula, instead of the best club on earth. They need to rotate in more players and consider adapting their style to suit different situations. More Ibra’s, less midgets. This would not only enable them to counter other strategies, but it would make it harder for opponents to disect them with a specific “anti-Barca” strategy. Tiki-taka is not going anywhere anytime soon, but there has to be a balance. In that regard, McBride has a point.
warren barton actually speechless about tito’s decisions as a manager. he can’t even manage commentator doublespeak or defection talk to not make a big deal about it haha
and brian mcbride telling barcelona to go away from tiki-taka is hilarious and so beyond dumb. they need new attacking talent like neymar that will stretch a defense and a new LB/RB combo.
While McBride is not the most eloquent about it I think most recognize that Barca must move away from strict tiki-taka. It’s the same tactics, with the same XI, with the same subs all the time from Barca. The subs never change the tactics and therefore if the ONLY thing they do is not working all they can do is more of the same.
Real madrid fans must be eating this up!! while Barcelona fans are getting a dose of humble pie.
how about the importance of Lionel? Hard to claim that Iniesta and Xavi make Lionel with as much gusto as has often been heard after what Barca has done without him
it was a laugher
can’t believe im saying this, but come on over mourinho.
Great work from Ribery
WOW Is this the worst champions league semi final ever. 7-0
and there it is
chances of Tito being fired after this game are increasing by 10% a goal.
lol, good one, which is a 70% chance right now
He or whoever else was handling Messi injury should be fired. They should have rested him for the game last weekend. Why were they risking him in a virtually meaningless game in La liga.
I don’t think the management there is brave enough to tell Messi not to play unless he is completely broken. Why risk a hurt player’s health at all in a situation like that weekend game?
How about Gus sticks to basketball but Fox keeps Ian Wright in the booth
yeah i really like ian, knowledgeable but not condescending, and has a good pace and voice
He seems great to me! Don’t think I’ve ever heard him before. Seems very straightforward, down-to-earth, but yes, just like you say, knowledgeable but not condescending or showy about it or whatever.
seems like he’s enjoying the match at hand, but now as crazy as ray hudson–love that man
my god i can’t wait until dani alves is gone. dude–that’s frank ribery standing behind you.
if bayern scores a 3rd i can see tito being fired before the weekend. there’s a pride factor in major football on top of the work. losing by 7 or 8 to 0 is more than a loss.
Wow. Way to put an exclamation point on it.
it’s like tito never watched the team when they were firing on all cylinders.
ian wright has been talking about it since the first minute and it’s simply impossible to understand how tito has continued to allow david villa to STAY INSIDE and not out wide like he should be.
And cesc is so far out of position. And so many more things.
I hate criticizing coaches for selections because many times we have no idea what they’re trying to do, but these players clearly do not work in their current location.
Oh, look — Robben trying to get on his left!
Xavi, then Iniesta subbed. And Song still on the field? Towel thrown.
uh soooo tito just conceded the match
Have I missed it or does Bayern need to think about getting some players out? I mean Barça even WITH a healthy Messi is not likely to notch 6 goals in 30 mins, so…
and Barca waving the white flag with their subs
dang it gus, his name is IN-iesta not IAN-esta.
LLOL Just did it again. He should listen to Wright.
wow. xavi out for sanchez when david villa is doing what he’s done?!
and to keep up with my comment above–don’t think Rosell won’t hesitate to kick tito to the curb if Barcelona goes SCORELESS over two legs in the champions league.
I do agree with you that he doesn’t use Fabregas correctly. Always deployed in weird positions.
I hear Mourinho is looking to move…. haha
I wish Ray Hudson was calling this game. He would sound so depressed, right now.
Why would you not push Robben to his right? He goes left almost exclusively. Not taking anything away from the goal, though. Great finish. (I still hate him)
man, was JUST going to post that. I was going to earlier when he kept cutting back to his left and Barca seemed to not know that he tries to do that literally EVERY TIME!
Wright made the same commentary and it’s absolutely on target. Dunno what the Barça defenders are thinking there…
Not watching with sound (down low at the office), so I missed that comment from Wright. I knew I liked him for a reason (not an Arsenal fan)
not watching with sound either 🙂
Yeah I don’t remember which defender it was but he called him out for it. And he brought it up again later when Piqué stopped Robben on a similar sort of move, saying, “See? Piqué knows” or something like that.
no sound here either, but I like Gus, just can’t have sound on here
That was actually Ian Wright…
I meant that I don’t have it muted becasue of Gus…I don’t mind Gus.
Barcelona, sign Clint Dempsey. Tottenham will let him go for 5 million pounds. He can guarantee you 15 goals in all competitions.
Messi on the bench – The worst decision since Luis Suarez’ mum slept with a beaver.
I’d say the decision to start him last week when he was not close to fit was perhaps bigger
Bye bye Barcemoda, no guts no glory no nothing…
also i see tito being fired
At the end of this year? I would say there is about a 1% chance of the happening
way way higher than 1%. there’s already talk of him being fired–to the extent that the club had to issue statements on it.
his tactics have been beyond dismal with the talent at his disposal. he’s gone away from tikitaka rather dramatically and as Hislop just said on the game commentary, he started Messi in the league game and benched him for the champions league semi final.
He’s going to be destroyed in the media. Destroyed.
My 1% is only if Roman Ibromavich buys the teams and fires someone who just won the league by 10-15 points.
Also I think its Ian Wright not Hislop.
guess it sounds like him now that you mention it
The first time I heard Wright comment I thought it was Hislop too. My friend had to point it out to me.
Villa just stands around and sills every surge. Sub?
Kills. not sills. no idea what sills means.
he is actually visibly pouting
Not sure why. The res of the team should be pointing because of him, lol.
he needs to go from this half and team along with alves and pedro
gus has only gotten xavi and pedro right. this is painful.
Get ready for more when he does the final, as well!
Barcelona is playing with good urgency. Still, they are in a bigger hole than RM were yesterday.
fun to watch games when Barca has to go for it, the back and forth action is great fun if you don’t care who wins, like me. Barca maybe can counter after Bayern streak forward on their own counter? At least there’s some space then
Robben is to Bayern what Xavi is to Barca. Really good player who I greatly dislike do to constant complaining about everything, real and imagined.
MOVE DAMMIT VILLA MAKE A FREAKING RUN
yeah , even the anoucers called him out
see you later villa, good riddance
So ol’ Gus has so far called Pique Alves and Neuer, Mûller…
and barca, bayern but hes trying. gotta love him
Ha — missed that one!
Who is the guy doing the color today, anyway?
Ah, Ian Wright, evidently.
Fox release says Gus is doing the final, as well. :-
That WAS a back pass…
any fans of Game of Thrones?
Unsullied here !!
A man approves of this thread.
but who do you think will be crowned US Soccer Player of the Year? No sure frontrunners except Dempsey
If jozy can find his scoring boots with the national team he’ll be in the running. Guzan will be a candidate too. If deuce keeps lighting it up for the Nats tho, he’ll probably be favorite.
I suppose by definition, there can only be one frontrunner and I would agree that Dempsey is probably that guy, but I think Altidore and Bradley will be in the conversation. Perhaps Howard and Gomez as well. It also depends on the age-old debate about how such things are assessed – is __________ the best player or did he have the best year?
Dempsey or Bradley
It’s a shame Barca didn’t sign Dempsey last season. They never would have been in this situation had he been on the team
LOL, that’s the funiest thing i’ve heard all week.
Messi on the bench…oh well.
it’s a huge blow, but no Puyol in this matchup is just as critical imho
It sure was last match. I had to look up who Bantra was.
Barca 0 – 1 Bayern