“Barcelona are going to be beaten badly in the UCL semis”, “going to be humiliated by Bayern”, “Bayern are going to be ruthless” ,”Messi will disappear”.These are some of the sentences that probably every Barca fan has been hearing repeatedly for the past few days .
Be it social media talks or friends football talks or even football pundits comments, everyone believe that it is Bayern Munich, that is going to progress to the semi finals of the Champions League .
While Barcelona fans hope for the best, even they acknowledge the fact that a massive giant is staring at them. To be fair, it is agreeable that Bayern are a very dangerous opponent.
Their scintillating performances against Spurs, Chelsea , topped by their dominance in the Bundesliga personifies their threat. As a matter of fact, it is fair to say that Barca’s chances are slim. However, here are the reasons why Barca fans should not lose hope.
1) Barcelona are the underdogs
When was the last time when Barcelona were not the favorites coming into a Champions League knockout match? Probably long time back. But this time the Catalan club do come into this encounter as underdogs. While this can seem to be an understatement considering their stature, it can actually be an advantage. At Rome and Anfield, the burden of expectation proved to be too much for Barcelona. It is no secret that this set of players have often crumbled under the pressure of expectation. However, with the tag of an underdog, the pressure to perform becomes negligible.
2) The New Champions League format
To be precise, the new Champions League format has completely opened up the game. The possibility of upsets have become much higher now. Every team now has an almost equal chance of progressing to the next stage. With a format not favoring the theory of a clear favorite, consequently it becomes very difficult to predict winners. This might give Barcelona an outside chance coming into this game.
3) The Messi factor
You might have heard this already and are probably going to hear it again as well. Any team that has Lionel Messi, is extremely difficult to beat. These are the exact words by Napoli head coach, Gattuso at the end of Barca vs Napoli match. Having Messi in the team is equivalent to a one man advantage. The diminutive Argentine has shown us time and again, what he is capable of. As a result, Bayern Munich can by no means take their foot of the pedal.
While Barcelona are definitely not the favorites, it will be foolish to write them off at this moment. It is worth considering that even though Bayern Munich are enduring an excellent season, they have been prone to plenty of less fortunate days as well.
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