The UEFA Champions League 2013 semi-final first leg will kick off in a few hours. Bayern Munich will take on Barcelona FC at Allianz Arena, Munich on Tuesday night. It will be a clash between the German champions and four-times Champions League winners.
The game will be played at Bayern Munich's home ground - Allianz Arena - and will be telecast live on Ten Action at 12:15 AM (Wednesday) IST (19:45 BST). [READ Match Report and Photos]
Tuesday night's match is going to be an exciting one, as Bayern Munich, which made history by winning the Bundlesiga crown in record time, will take on Barcelona who could lift the La Liga trophy if Real Madrid loses this weekend.
Bayern Munich's route to the Champions League semi-final is impressive. They won seven games, drew one and lost two to book a place in the last four. They beat Juventus on 4-0 aggregate in their most recent Champions League games. Their success run in the DFB Cup is commendable too.
Barcelona won five games, drew three and lost two to book a place in the Champions League semi-final. Their performance this season is not as impressive as that of Bayern Munich, settling for a draw in the last two matches with Paris Saint German but they can't be written off. The Catalan giants will be keen to lift the trophy for the third time in five years.?
The winner of Tuesday night's game will meet the second leg semi-final winner (either Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund) in the final at Wembley.
Bayern Munich: Philippe Lahm, Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who were rested in the game against Hannover last weekend, are expected to return to the team for the semi-final match.
Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber have been ruled out for Tuesday's match due to injuries while Mario Mandzukic is serving suspension. Mario Gomez is expected to fill in for Mandzukic.
Players who could be suspended for the return leg if booked on Tuesday: Luiz Gustavo, Philipp Lahm and Dante
FC Barcelona: Lionel Messi, who was rested in the last couple La Liga matches due to a hamstring injury, has been declared fit and would return to the team for the semi-final match. The return of four-time world player of the year will give a big boost to the team. Sergio Busquets, who was kept out of play due a groin problem, has recovered.
Defenders Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano have been ruled out due to injuries and Adriano is serving suspension. So, Marc Bartra is likely to play in central defence with Gerard Pique, who was rested in the previous match.
Players who could be suspended for the return leg if booked on Tuesday: Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Alex Song
Bayern Munich have good record against Barcelona in European competition, winning three, drawing two, and losing one in their six previous meetings. However, Barcelona thrashed Bayern Munich on 5-1 aggregate in the quarter-final in 2009. Blaugrana's overall record against the Bundesliga is - nine wins, 10 draws and five lost.
Bayern Munich are on a roll, winning 18 of their last 19 games in all competitions, but Barcelona's eight-match unbeaten run on German soil since 2001 make them the favourite to win on Tuesday.
Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm (c), Daniel van Buyten, Dante, David Alaba; Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Franck Ribery; Mario Gomez, Claudio Pizarro
Victor Valdes; Jordi Alba, Marc Bartra, Gerard Pique, Dani Alves; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez (c); David Villa, Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodríguez