UEFA League: Which Teams will Be In Berlin? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UEFA League: Which Teams will Be In Berlin?

Posted: May 11, 2015 at 2:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The final of the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League will hold at the Olympiastadion stadium in Berlin, Germany on 6 June with four teams-Barcelona, Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in hunt for the final tickets.

But if first leg semi-final results were anything to go bye, Barcelona is the only team that has one of its leg in the final having beaten Bayern Munich 3-0.

In the other semis, Juventus takes a 2-1 advantage to the second leg on Wednesday at Real Madrid.

On Tuesday at the Allianz Arena, Bayern will attempt to overturn a three goal deficit against a Barca side that possesses the most dreaded formation in person of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Bayern was almost written off in the quarter-final after a 3-1 first leg deficit. But Pep Guardiola men bounced back to annihilate Porto 6-1 in the second leg at the Alianz Arena and qualify for the semis.

And Bayern home form this season in the UEFA Champions League may be the reason why Barca players were   in no mood for celebration despite their 3-0 win last Wednesday.

And consequently, Coach Luis Enrique has told his Barca players that they cannot relax ahead of the return leg in Munich on Tuesday.

“In the last 15 minutes we won the game but not the tie,” Luis Enrique said in his club’s official website. “In Munich we will not be speculating with the result.

“Getting into the Champions League final is a very big prize and I am sure that the team will take the second leg as responsibly as it should.

“We are going to try to win the return leg and make our fans happy. We need their support and it will be harder over there because they will have their fans.

“We don’t see ourselves in the final yet.

“I remember a team that was winning a Champions League final 3-0 at half-time only to then lose (against Liverpool in 2005).”

Wednesday’s performance was a special one for Barcelona, not only because it put it a big step closer to the Champions League final, but because its former boss Pep Guardiola was at the helm of Bayern and was returning for the first time since leaving the Catalan club in 2013.

The last meeting between these two sides before last Wednesday was in the 2012/13 semis with Bayern winning both legs 7-0.

Barca defender, Javier Mascherano insisted he and his Barcelona team-mates cannot rest on their laurels and assume they have one foot in the Champions League final.

“We have Messi so it’s an advantage for us,” Mascherano told Sky Sports 1. “I think it was a very tight game. Difficult, but we have the biggest chances to score. I think we played the game that we wanted to play before the game so we are really happy.

“Now we know how difficult it will be in Germany. It’s a good advantage but it is not done. It’s not done. Now we have to go in with the same mentality that we have today (Wednesday) and try to do our job.”

Guardiola’s strategy, in particular playing three at the back, seemed to catch many by surprise but Mascherano said the brave plan was hardly a revelation to the players who know him so well.

“We knew that Pep always in any pitch and any stadium will try to win, will try to play,” he added. “They come to press higher, but sometimes when you go and press high you take risk, and we know that we have a lot of people in front with quality to make the difference.”

Mascherano was almost lost for words when asked about fellow Argentinian Messi, who pulled the strings to fashion Barca’s huge win.

“He’s a player that is impossible to describe him,” he said. “It’s just, you have to watch him. So we are happy, we are happy because it’s a good result but we need to think about the next week and try to do our job to be in the final.”

Germany striker, Thomas Muller, who was substituted after Messi’s opener and appeared to argue with Bayern coach Pep Guardiola as he took his place in the dug-out, admitted that Bayern is unlikely to repeat its quarter-final comeback against Porto last month.

“We defended well for a long time,” Muller said. “Out on the pitch, I had the feeling we were in control in the second half and maybe even held the initiative to a certain extent, but we were our own worst enemies.

“We have to pull together as a team now. We’re FC Bayern and our heads stay up.

“We can’t expect the return to go the way it did against Porto, but the 11 out on the field will give it everything through to the end.”

Skipper Philipp Lahm said Bayern’s late capitulation, which was capped by Neymar catching them on the break in stoppage time to slip the ball through the legs of Neuer, was unforgivable.

“We were caught on the break three times. It leaves a very, very bitter taste,” Lahm said.

“We worked hard, we had one huge chance, and we kept it an open contest for a long time. But we made fatal errors that led to goals.

“We made it too easy for Barcelona, we gave away possession and gave them the chance to counter-attack.

“That can’t be happening, especially away from home. You can go a goal down, but it mustn’t end in a 3-0 defeat.”

Neuer added: “We did very well for a long time, but we laid on their opening goal for them.

“We had men over on the left and could have broken at speed, but we offered Barca the ball on a plate.

“Obviously the individual class of a player like Lionel Messi is unique.

“I think we were a little thrown by the first goal but our glimmer of hope is the game against Porto.”

On Wednesday, Real Madrid will attempt to overcome a 2-1 first leg deficit in Turin against Juventus. With Madrid having all but thrown the La Liga title away trailing Barcelona with four points with just two matches remaining, the Champions League remains its only trophy for the season.

With 20 European Cup finals between them, Juventus and Real Madrid CF have a wealth of experience with the Italian side holding the edge ahead of their second leg in Spain.

Madrid has won 21 out of its 29 home matches against Italian opponents and drawing two.