Weblog: The football punter

No happy homecoming in store for Guardiola

JOSE MOURINHO has had his weekend in the sun – but now the fawning moves up a level.

Stand aside Special One; the Mighty Pep is heading back to Barcelona and that means it’s time to lavish praise on arguably the greatest ever human being.

A manager who’s so cerebral, so knowledgeable, so tactically aware, that he can spot things on a pitch that few of us mortals could ever notice. Think Gary Megson in a pullover.

The Guardian save all their longest adjectives for Guardiola so you can bet they and footy’s self-proclaimed intelligentsia will be marvelling at everything Bayern do in the Camp Nou – unless, of course, they get hammered 5-0 in which case it will have nothing to do with Pep; it’ll all be down to pants refereeing from Nicola Rizzoli.

The other thing you’re not allowed to say within earshot of Guardiola admirers is that Barcelona are a better side now than they were under him.

Well they are, aren’t they? Clocking up the passes was great, don’t get me wrong, but now Barca clock up the goals as well and do so in ludicrous numbers thanks to one of the best trio of strikers the world has ever seen.

An end product, eh? What would the purists say?

Bitching aside, this ought to be a belter and I don’t see any danger in nerves getting the better of either of them. I’m on over 3.5 goals and remembering the way Bayern made a mess of it in Porto (Guardiola not guilty, obviously) I’ll take Barcelona to take a lead back to Germany.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS1

Barcelona v B Munich

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Barcelona have won 15 of their last 16 matches
Expert verdict
Injuries have hit Bayern Munich hard and they face a daunting task, particularly as they lost away 3-1 to Porto in the quarter-finals. This may need another Munich miracle because Barcelona are playing beautifully at the moment and the front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are pretty much unstoppable.