By ADAM TROXTELL
Bayern Munich has already appeared to be on the way out of this season’s UEFA Champions League, yet here the German champions stand.
A 6-1 second leg win against Porto propelled Bayern back from a two goal deficit in the quarterfinals, displaying just how effective the club can be in the confines of the Allianz Arena. But today, it’s a three goal deficit, and the opponent is an in-form Barcelona squad (2:45 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).
While it seems like a much taller task for Bayern, history is on the club’s side. In the first leg at home against Barcelona in the 2013 Champions League quarterfinals, Thomas Muller scored twice as Bayern won 4-0 on its way to a 7-0 aggregate victory.
That episode, plus Bayern’s more recent accomplishments, will have Barcelona wary of a crazy result in today’s clash. The Catalan club received a big boost this week when defender Jeremy Mathieu was given the green light to return from injury in the semifinal second leg.
Barcelona is currently on a stretch of 19 games without a loss, and 18 of those games were wins. The run has Barca on the cusp of clinching the La Liga title with a victory this weekend.
In contrast, Bayern has slipped since claiming the Bundesliga title a few weeks ago. A surprise 1-0 loss to Augsburg over the weekend was Bayern’s fourth consecutive defeat, a run that includes elimination from the DFB Pokal by Borussia Dortmund.
Injuries have caught up to Bayern, and this second leg will be no different. Both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery remain out, as do defenders David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.
With the return of Mathieu, Barcelona has a fully fit squad to choose from. No team in the Champions League with a 3-0 result in the first leg of a knockout round has ever been eliminated.