Bayern Munich Vs Barcelona: Watch Live Streaming Of UEFA Champions League Semifinal [PREVIEW]
Lionel Messi should be back for the Bayern clash. (Photo: Reuters)
Barcelona travel to Munich Tuesday to take on Bayern in their Champions League Semifinal first-leg. The game kicks off at 2:45 p.m. and can be watched live on the Fox Soccer Channel or streamed online (at user's risk).
It is rapidly approaching crunch time in the UEFA Champions League tournament. Any team with hopes of lifting the title has to quickly find their form to ensure their place at Wembley in May. Both Bayern Munich and Barcelona have ambitions of winning the competition, reflective of the strength of their squads. Neither team can afford any slip-ups in what is to be a decisive evening.
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The fitness of Lionel Messi once again takes center stage. The Argentine was left out of the squad for Barcelona's victory against Levante Saturday. The diminutive striker hasn't played since his 30 minute cameo against PSG in the quarterfinals, in which he spearheaded Barcelona's progression to the next round. Although Messi has yet to receive the all-clear to play, he has returned to full training with the team and should play the game, even if not 100 percent.
Bayern will be encouraged by their opponents' recent dip in form. Two abject displays against PSG were followed by a stuttering performance against Levante. Although Messi and Xavi did not start, Barcelona was far from convincing in the game, eking out a win thanks to a Cesc Fabregas 84 minute winner.
Unlike Tito Vilanova's team, Bayern enjoyed the perfect preparation for Tuesday night's game; a 1-6 away victory against Hannover 96 Saturday. The Germans have looked commanding this season, as underlined by their 4-0 aggregate defeat of soon-to-be Italian league champions, Juventus, in the quarterfinal.
Their preparation for the game has slightly been side tracked by reports that former Barcelona and future Bayern manager Pep Guardiola has been giving the Germans tips for beating his former team. Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes has reacted angrily to the claims, implying that influence has not been undermined by the arrival of Guardiola.
"I admire Pep for his career as a player and coach, and we have a good relationship," Heynckes told the Mirror. "But since the draw, the German press have said things that are not true."
"I did not need extra information because I know the club and my team," he said. "I don't need to win things through the back door, I'll go through the front door."
Heynckes has done an exceptional job this season. His team is in contention for winning a treble having sewn up the league, reaching the German cup final and the semifinals of the Champions League. Despite his triumphs, he will be replaced by Guardiola at the end of the season and the German manager would like nothing better than to win the Champions League in his last game for Bayern.
Bayern will be without striker Mario Mandzukic, who has picked up a suspension. Toni Kroos (groin) and Holger Badstuber (knee) will also be missing. Barcelona will be without Javier Mascherano (knee), Carlos Puyol (knee) and Adriano (suspension), forcing Vilanova to play inexperienced Marc Bartra alongside Gerard Pique in defense.