Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 12th 2015 Contents A61
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MUNICH---Bayern Munich must
do what only team has ever done
in the history of the Champions
League, and overcome a three-goal
deficit in the knockout rounds.
That would be hard enough
against any opponent, much less
against Lionel Messi and Barcelona s
But that s the task facing the Ger-
man champion today after losing
the first leg of their semifinal 3-0 at
Camp Nou last week against coach
Pep Guardiola s old team, with Messi
contributing two superb goals.
In the 23-year history of the
Champions League, only Deportivo
la Coruna has managed to wipe away
a three-goal deficit, beating AC Milan
4-0 at home in the 2004 quarter-
finals after losing the first leg 4-1.
Five-time champion Bayern, seek-
ing its 11th final on June 6 in Berlin,
can feel some optimism due to its
unblemished record at home this
season in the competition, with 19
goals scored and one conceded in
five games. In its last two Champions
League home matches, Bayern has
scored 13 goals, including a 6-1 rout
of Porto after a 3-1 away defeat.
But Bayern has lost four straight
matches across all competitions and
has not scored in its last three match-
es---for the first time in 17 years.
Here are some things to know
about today s match:
Messi won the first duel with his
former manager by scoring a pair of
highlight-reel goals that ignited the
Camp Nou before setting up Neymar
to make it 3-0.
Messi has 53 goals this season,
including a Champions League-lead-
But what sets this Barcelona apart
from recent years is that the club
has found the two perfect wingmen
for Messi, and Bayern will have to
find a way to stop all three if it wants
to keep the clean sheet required to
even dream of a comeback.
Neymar has scored in his last six
appearances, and took his season
tally to 35 goals on Saturday by net-
ting Barcelona s first in a 2-0 win
over Real Sociedad that left it one
win away from the Spanish league
"I m very comfortable with my
teammates because we are having
an excellent season," Neymar said.
Luis Suarez has added 24 goals
despite missing the first two months
of the season as he completed a four-
month ban for biting an opponent
at the World Cup.
That s 112 goals between the strik-
ers, and yet another reason Barcelona
is poised to reach the final.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is
not taking anything for granted, and
has reminded his players this is the
Bayern that responded to a 3-1
defeat at FC Porto with a 6-1 come-
back in the quarterfinals.
"We don t want to have a crazy
game and if it is a crazy game we
will have to calm it down with
counterattacks," Luis Enrique said
Monday. "We want to have the ball.
It will be difficult because Bayern
will do the same thing."
Luis Enrique rested midfielder
Ivan Rakitic over the weekend, and
only played Andres Iniesta and Ser-
gio Busquets as second-half sub-
stitutes. That means he will likely
repeat the same starting 11 that out-
played Bayern in their first meet-
When Germany played Argentina
in the final of last year s World Cup
final, Germany coach Joachim Loew
sent on Mario Goetze as a substitute
and told him to show the world that
he can be better than Messi. Goetze
responded by scoring the winning
goal with wonderful touch.
But while Messi is enjoying a pro-
lific season, Goetze has remained
mostly under the radar. He is often
used as a substitute and has had
few outstanding moments despite
scoring nine goals.
Former Bayern great Franz Beck-
enbauer last week sharply criticized
Goetze, saying he had to show more
of a presence on the field.
With Franck Ribery and Arjen
Robben injured, Guardiola may
decide to start Goetze as a forward.
Perhaps he also needs to give him
some extra motivation, just as Loew
Guardiola s guru-like aura since
his arrival in Bayern last season is
beginning to evaporate. The media
are beginning to question some of
his tactics, including a back-three
defense attempt in Barcelona that
lasted 15 minutes.
Critics are pointing out that Bay-
ern has won four of 11 matches in
the Champions League knockout
phase in two seasons under Guardi-
ola.In the Bundesliga, Bayern has
struggled against higher-ranked
teams, losing to Wolfsburg and
Borussia Moenchengladbach and
also going out against Dortmund in
the German Cup.
Guardiola has called it a "super
season" despite the setbacks, but
there is already speculation whether
he will remain for the last season
on his contract.
"Oh lads. I ve said it 200 million
times...I have another year on my
contract. I will stay here next season,"
Guardiola said yesterday.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
and midfielder Thiago Alcantara
missed the final training yesterday.
Club officials said they were being
treated for unspecified problems but
would "in any case" be ready to play.
Bayern hopes to overcome Barca
Bayern's Thomas Mueller, from left, Robert Lewandowski from Poland, and Philipp Lahm warm up prior to a
training session in Munich, southern Germany, yesterday. FC Bayern Munich will play against FC Barcelona in a
second leg semifinal Champions League football match today. AP PHOTO
BARCELONA---A Spanish court will
decide whether football players can go
ahead with their planned strike before
the final two rounds of the season.
The National Court said yesterday it
was summoning the Spanish league and
the Spanish players union to "hear argu-
ments" on Wednesday before ruling on
the league s request that the strike be
The union has the backing of the Span-
ish soccer federation to begin an "indef-
inite" strike on Saturday in protest of a
proposed government law to regulate
broadcast revenues. If the law is approved,
it would centralise the sale of TV rights
and supposedly give the teams in the top
division the vast majority of the revenue.
The strike would affect the last two
rounds of the league and the Copa del
Rey final on May 30. Barcelona needs
one win to clinch the league title and is
set to play Athletic Bilbao in the Copa
del Rey final.
Representatives from the 42 first- and
second-division clubs that make up the
competitions run by the Spanish league
held an emergency meeting yesterday.
The league released a statement after-
ward repeating its stance that the strike
called by the players union last week, a
day after the federation had already
announced it was suspending all league
and Copa del Rey matches from May 16,
was "clearly a strategy of the federation
and was just as illegal."
Currently, each team strikes individual
TV deals. The government and league
argue that the new law would lead to a
more equitable split of revenues, thus
helping clubs other than Real Madrid
and Barcelona earn more money.
The players union says it supports the
general spirit of the law, but is striking
because it wants more money to go to
lower divisions. The proposed law would
send 90 per cent of revenues to the first
Court to rule on players'
strike in Spanish football GELSENKIRCHEN---Schalke
released midfielders Kevin-Prince
Boateng and Sidney Sam with
immediate effect yesterday.
The move came less than 24
hours after Schalke s 2-0 loss in
Cologne that threatens the team s
hopes of gaining a place in next
season s Europa League.
Boateng was sent home from
Ghana s team at last year s World
Cup in Brazil. He was signed from
AC Milan in 2013 and still had
another season on his contract. He
never became the leader Schalke
expected him to develop into.
Schalke director Horst Heldt said
the "mutual trust" had been broken
and that there was "no way back."
Also, midfielder Marco Hoeger
has been suspended until the end
of the week.
With two matches remaining in
the season, Schalke is two points
ahead of seventh-place Borussia
Schalke began the season with
the ambition of qualifying for the
Champions League but has strug-
gled under coach Roberto di Mat-
teo.It was eliminated by Real Madrid
in the second round of the Cham-
pick neutral venues
for W Cup games
ZURICH---Fifa says Afghanistan
will host its first 2018 World Cup
qualifying match in Iran, and
Myanmar chose Thailand as its
Fifa had ruled Afghanistan unsafe
to stage World Cup matches for
Fifa has confirmed that
Afghanistan will play Syria on June
11 at the Samen Stadium in Mash-
had, near Iran s border with
Myanmar is barred from hosting
qualifiers by a Fifa disciplinary deci-
sion after crowd violence in a 2014
World Cup preliminary round
match at Yangon.
On June 16, Myanmar will play
South Korea at the Rajamangala
national stadium in Bangkok.
Villar set to lead
Fifa selection of
World Cup refs
MADRID---The Spanish soccer
federation says its president will
again become chairman of the Fifa
Angel Maria Villar is set to replace
fellow Fifa vice president Jim Boyce
of Northern Ireland, who will step
down from the governing body s
executive committee this month.
Boyce oversaw training and selec-
tion of match officials for the World
Cup in Brazil after taking over from
Villar in 2013.
Fifa declined to comment on
possible appointments, which will
be confirmed after its annual con-
gress on May 29. (AP)
Schalke releases Boateng, Sam after loss
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