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FC Bayern's six steps to beat Barca

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FC Bayern's six steps to beat Barca
Are you listening Pep? Photo: DPA
16:29 CEST+02:00
Just how do you go about beating Catalonian giants Barcelona, arguably the best team in Europe, by four clear goals? This is the mammoth task facing FC Bayern München, who have one last chance to save their season.

Following a Lionel Messi masterclass last week at the Camp Nou, Bayern are 3-0 down at the halfway stage in the Champions League semi-final.

In the pre-match build up, manager Pep Guardiola has stressed the importance of defence - even though his squad will need to score 3 goals or more.

If the German champions want to have any chance of booking their tickets to Berlin, they will need to do the following:

1)      Get the crowd going

The ever loyal supporters will be key in creating a hostile atmosphere for the Catalans. Photo: DPA

It's a footballing cliché, but if the home team can score early and get the stadium bouncing, it will suddenly be a test of character as much as skill for Barcelona.

The Allianz Arena in Munich is traditionally a fortress, and Bayern have to harness their home fans' hostility to put the Spanish side under pressure. Equally, if Barcelona score first the atmosphere will go flat, and an uphill task will become an insurmountable on.

2)      Keep the ball

Veteran midfielder Schweinsteiger will need to help his team keep possession. Photo: DPA

It sounds simple, but these kinds of matches are all about control. Bayern have to stay in control of the situation and the best way to do this is keep possession. This is Guardiola's expertise, but Barcelona are equally big ball hoggers.

The experience of the likes of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xabi Alonso will be key in controlling the ball and therefore the match. The new era at Barcelona is less possession-oriented, so Bayern will have a good chance of keeping the upper hand.

3)      Stop Messi

Magical Messi: stopping him will make anything possible. Photo: DPA

Last week Guardiola admitted that it is impossible to stop Messi, because he is simply too good. After blowing Jerome Boateng's mind and leaving him in a hopeless heap on the floor last week, the subject of much amusement on the internet, Messi will be central once again.

How do you stop him? Pack his area of the pitch with Bayern defensive players and don't be afraid to foul him when needed. If Messi doesn't influence the game to his full potential, then Bayern will have a good chance.

Here's some fan footage of Boateng's humiliating tumble from the first leg:

4) Expose Barca's defense

Arguably Barecelona's biggest weakness is their centre of their defence. Javier Mascerano and Gerard Pique are top players, but if Robert Lewandowski can embrace his face mark, become a mean machine, and dominate them physically, Bayern will look a lot more dangerous going forward. Support from Thomas Müller will be crucial to isolating one or the other.

5) Attack from the wings

It is well known that Bayern have been without star wide-men Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. In the first leg they looked lackluster in the wide areas and lacking in penetration. Whether it comes from left back Bernat, who has been excellent in recent months, or from Müller and Lahm on the right, Bayern need to threaten down the wings and push back Barca's attacking full-backs.

Could this even be the moment that recent scapegoat Mario Götze, who Franz Beckenbauer described as "childlike", silences his critics?

6) "Battle until the death"

Pep Guardiola said in the pre-match build up that his team will fight until the last minute - just about all anyone could ask. The manager has to make himself the source of the team's passion, so hopefully Pep recaptures the gesticulating, raging, almost-fourth-official-attacking demeanor on the touch line that we saw against BVB in the German Cup. Can he be so animated against a club so important to him?

If Bayern manage to do all these things then they will have a good chance, but if Barca score first then the tie will be all but over.

Like most big games, a combination of luck and Manuel Neuer heroics may also be required. Fingers crossed, or "thumbs pressed" as the Germans say .

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