I’m feeling somewhat smug after a nice little double last week on victories for Inter and Bayern Munich.
We can now turn our attention to the second leg of the Champions League Semi Finals and wonder what stories are set to be written as we postulate as to what may happen at the Stade Gerland, Lyon and the Nou Camp, Barcelona later this week.
Lyon seek revenge mission
On Tuesday night all eyes will focus on France as Lyon host Bayern Munich hoping to overturn a slender 1-0 deficit from thefirst leg in Munich.
Lyon have an exceptional record at home in the Champions League and this will not be an easy game for Bayern.
The first leg was much closer than many critics expected and had Jeremy Toulalan not got himself foolishly sent off in thesecond half, there is every chance Lyon would have snatched a point from the first leg.
As it is, they will remain confident of being able to defeat Bayern at the Stade Gerland. The problem Lyon have is that they need to defeat them by two clear goals to progress and that could well be the problem.
As much as I can see Lyon edging this game, I can see Bayern scoring at least an away goal. That may be the single crucial moment of the ninety minutes.
I can see a Lyon victory of 1-0 forcing extra time and maybe penalties, or a victory of 2-1 that means Bayern go through on away goals, but I cannot see the French side getting a 3-1 victory, even if Bayern are without Ribery.
For me, Lyon’s best chance comes from a 1-0 victory and then a penalties success. I think if Bayern score at any point during the 90 minutes (or extra time), then they will go through.
My tip for this though is a draw on the night. I think the game will initially be very tight and probably 0-0 at half time before a more open second half. Lyon will snatch the lead but Bayern would pull a goal back late on to take them through.
You can get on the draw at 3.4 with Bet365.
Can Barcelona reign in Inter?
Wednesday night sees the second leg of the Barcelona – Inter Milan clash after the first leg in Milan saw Inter emerge with a stunning 3-1 lead.
Pedro’s early goal seemed to put Barcelona in complete charge but Inter roared back to secure a fine win and a two goal advantage to take to the Nou Camp.
The bookmakers have Barcelona as the big favourites to win the game at odds around 1.4, but whether the Catalan’s can do enough on the night to make the final is more open to debate. Given their excellent home form recently, it is hard to make a convincing case for Barcelona to be beaten.
However, I wrote those words almost a month ago for the game between Chelsea and Inter at Stamford Bridge. On that night, Inter secured a memorable 1-0 victory against the odds to take their place in the quarter final.
Barcelona are a tough proposition, but Mourinho will have drawn up his plan to deal with Barca as effectively as Inter did in the first leg.
The key to the game in Milan was Inter’s tireless closing down of Barcelona, something Barcelona does very well to the opposition. The key in Wednesday night’s game will be exactly the same. It will be whichever team can deal with this the best that will emerge victorious.
The key for Barcelona is, quite simply, Lionel Messi. If the Catalans can get the Argentinean superstar more involved then they can easily win this game 2-0 to progress. If Inter keep him subdued then the Italians are in the box seat for a place in the final.
It’s a tough call to make but given their performance at Chelsea, I think Inter can cause something of a shock and not only progress to the final, but prevent Barcelona winning the game completely.
I fancy a draw, currently available at 5.27 with Betfair.
Two draws in two nights means an Inter Milan – Bayern Munich Champions League final. Now it is up to Claude Puel and Josep Guardiola and their men, to prove me wrong.