Bayern Munich looks to bounce back against Porto
Paolo Buendia on Apr 21, 2015 06:11 PM
(Photo via Associated Press)
Porto delivered the biggest upset in the first leg of matches with a 3-1 victory over 2013 Champion Bayern Munich. The Madrid derby ended up in a scoreless draw while Juventus edged Monaco by a single goal. Barcelona hammered PSG 3-1 and will be the favorite to progress to the semifinals.
April 22, 2015 early morning matches
FC Bayern Munich v FC Porto
Much depleted Bayern Munich will have to score two goals or more to overturn the first leg result. Porto capitalized on the defensive mistakes committed by the backline of Bayern. The home side is excellent at home, winning all four home games in this competition. The German club will still miss the services of numerous key players like Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, David Alaba, Mehdi Benatia and Javi Martinez. There is still hope for the inclusions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phillipp Lahm but it will be through a last minute fitness test. Porto also has a good away record, winning three and drawing two of the last five matches in Europe. This is the biggest test of Coach Pep Guardiola’s stint with Bayern; a defeat in this stage will be the worst performance of this club after three straight years of making the semifinals or better. I predict a come-from-behind victory by Bayern to snatch that semifinal slot from Porto.
FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain
Barcelona dominated PSG in the first-leg to secure a 3-1 victory, scoring three important away goals in the process. If PSG manages to score two goals for this match, Barcelona still progresses on the away-goals rule. Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are back from one-match suspensions. These two players can provide the spark needed by PSG. Verratti pulls the strings in midfield while Zlatan scores the goals. Barcelona has only lost one match at home from the last thirty one games, winning twenty four and drawing seven matches. Only Andres Iniesta is the injury doubt for Barcelona, who will be the favorite to progress to the semifinals. I believe that Barca will end up in the semifinals.
April 23, 2015 early morning matches
AS Monaco FC v Juventus
Juventus brings a slender 1-0 victory earned from the first-leg but will need another brilliant performance away from home to seal a spot in the semifinals. The Italian champion stumbled in this stage in the club’s last three quarterfinal appearances but resounding wins against Malmo and Borussia Dortmund away from home is a significant detail to look back on. Although Monaco holds a good home record of only one loss in the last nine matches in Europe, the Ligue One club’s record against Serie A clubs in six previous knockout ties is one win in six matches. Andrea Pirlo recovered from an injury to make it to the first-leg match but Paul Pogba is still out for the return leg. This may be Juventus’ biggest chance to make it back to the top of European football and I see the Serie A champion progressing to the semifinals.
Real Madrid FC v Club Atletico de Madrid
There is still everything to play for in this series after the 0-0 draw between these two clubs in the first leg. Madrid had the lion’s share of possession and shots-on-goal but could not score. Atletico’s keeper, Jan Oblak, played the game of his life and shut down all of Madrid’s shots-on-goal. The home side has not beaten Atletico for the last seven matches, with four wins and three draws. The home side will be playing without injured stars Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, two significant absences that Coach Ancelotti will have to replace in the starting eleven. Karim Benzema is also doubtful with an injury picked up last weekend. Madrid lost only one in the last twelve home matches in this competition, winning the other eleven matches. Atletico only has the absence of Mario Suarez to cope with but will be facing a hungry Madrid squad at home, looking for that elusive victory over the visitors. I predict a 1-0 victory by Madrid.
The matches to look out for will be the Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid match and the Barcelona v PSG match. As it stands, Barcelona and Porto are the teams with a comfortable two-goal cushion to preserve. The Madrid derby and the Monaco v Juventus matches are still wide open, any team in the matchup can still make it to the semifinals. Here is the schedule of matches for the second-leg on BALLS Skycable Channel 34 and Destiny Cable Channel 36.
April 22 2:30am Barcelona v PSG
April 22 4:30am Bayern Munich v Porto (LIVE 2:30 am on ABS-CBN Sports + Action 23)
April 23 2:30am Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid
April 23 4:30am Monaco v Juventus (LIVE 2:30 am on ABS-CBN Sports + Action 23)
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