Who would have thought at the beginning of the season, that teams like Bayern Munich or Olympique Lyon would reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid would be eliminated so early. This year’s competition is full of surprises, the latest coming from Italy, Inter defeating Barcelona last night 3-1. But tonight’s game looks more balanced, the only thing that would surprise me, but I doubt it, would be Lyon’s victory by more than a goal.
Bayern eliminated Fiorentina and Manchester United to get this far and the germans are slight favorites tonight, playing at home and being in better form, scoring 7 goals in their latest Bundesliga game against Hannover. Last time Bayern won the competition was in 2001, beating Valencia in the final. They’re in first place in the Bundesliga and they hope to win their 22nd title this year. Bayern’s boss is the experienced dutch manager Louis Van Gaal, who has won the competition with Ajax in 1995.
The underdogs are the french, they eliminated Real Madrid and Bordeaux to reach the semi-finals and they lie in third place in the Ligue 1, with almost no chance of winning the title this year. They’re famous for their record-breaking streak of seven successive national titles (2002-2008)and they have played in the Champions League eleven times and have never reached this stage of the competition. The team’s manager is Claude Puel, who has reached the semi-finals as a player in 1994 with Monaco.
Badstuber and Mark van Bommel will not play for Bayern tonight, the first being suspended and the second out injured. For Lyon, Mathieu Bodmer, Francois Clerc and Jean-Alain Boumsong are out, all injured. The probable line-ups are:
Bayern(4-4-2): Butt; Lahm, Van Buyten, Demichelis, Contento; Robben, Schweinsteiger, Pranjic, Ribery; Olic, Mueller
Lyon(4-2-3-1): Lloris; Reveillere, Cris, Toulalan, Cissokho; Kallstrom, Makoun; Bastos, Pjanic, Delgado; Lisandro
The key player at Bayern is Arjen Robben, the dutch midfielder has had an incredible season so far scoring 19 goals in all competitions this season (3 of them in the Champions League). He has scored the decisive goal against Manchester United in the quarter finals, helping the team qualify.
Miralem Pjanic is the man to watch at Lyon, the 20-year-old Bosnian attacking midfielder scored 4 goals this season in the Champions League and helped Lyon eliminate Real Madrid in the first round of the knock out round.
My prediction is that Lyon won’t win, the game seems pretty balanced, I’m going with a draw, maybe 1-1, but Bayern’s victory wouldn’t surprise me, it’s going to be a very close encounter tonight at the Allianz Arena.