Bayern Munich went into last night’s Champions League quarter-final second leg with FC Porto 3-1 down from the first leg.
The Bavarians were even missing key players such as Dutch winger Arjen Robben and French star Franck Ribery.
Despite the missing players and the deficit Bayern produced a fantastic display that saw Pep Guardiola’s side head into half-time with a commanding 5-0 lead.
It was quite an incredible performance from the German side, which seemed slightly lacklustre in the first leg.
A first half brace from Robert Lewandowski, and strikes from Thiago Alcantara, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller had virtually put the Bavarians through to the last four of the competition in the first period.
Colombian international Jackson Martinez got a consolation goal for the Portuguese side in the second half, but it meant very little, especially when Xabi Alonso added a sixth goal with a superb free-kick two minutes from time.
The fact that Bayern managed to produce such a good performance in this game with the likes of Robben, Ribery, Javi Martinez and David Alaba all missing shows the strength of Guardiola’s squad this season.
Bayern have also missed the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm, who have both only recently returned to the first team fold through injury.
With everybody fit Bayern will fancy their chances of making it through to the Champions League final against any of the remaining teams in the competition.
Barcelona and Bayern are the only two teams confirmed for the semi-finals, with two games set to take place on Wednesday night.
Ten times winners Real Madrid will be confident, but slightly wary as they host arch-rivals Atletico at the Bernabeu Stadium. First leg ended goalless and Los Blancos have not beaten their city rivals in the last seven meetings, so Diego Simeone’s team will be no pushovers.
How the Madridista’s will be expecting their team to get the better of the reigning champions and take their place in the last four of the competition.
In the other remaining tie of the round Italian giants Juventus visit French club Monaco, with a very narrow 1-0 lead from the first leg at the Juventus Stadium. The Old Lady will be confident of progression, mainly due to Monaco winning just one of their last five games in all competitions.
Juventus have not made the semi-finals of the Champions League since 2003. However, the fact that they have won all ten ties that they played against French clubs could also give Massimiliano Allegri’s side a psychological advantage.
Bayern were written-off by many prior to the second leg of their tie on Tuesday and now they are contenders again. Guardiola’s side will certainly not be afraid of any of their prospective opponents going into the last four of the competition.
Bayern have become one of the superpowers of European football in recent years, yet have won the Champions League just twice in nearly 40 years. That is not a great record, but the Bavarians have been perennial semi-finalists and finalists.
The German giants will be keen to put that record straight and claim the trophy they lifted back in 2013 against arch-rivals Dortmund.
A lot of the bookmakers cannot seem to separate Bayern and Spanish giants Barcelona in the betting. They are currently joint-favourites to win the Champions League trophy at odds of 13/8.
That betting is likely to change once the other quarter-final second legs have been settled. If Real Madrid conquer their neighbours no doubt they will be similar odds to win the trophy and hard to separate from the already qualified pair.
Bayern Munich are definitely now contenders to win the Champions League this season. The defeat at Porto in the first leg may just have been a good thing. Maybe it helped knock any complacency out of the players.
I cannot see Bayern producing such an ineffective performance in the semi-finals, no matter who they face. On the evidence of Wednesday night’s game Bayern could be ready to re-capture the Champions League crown and do so in style.
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