Real Madrid vs Juventus
Real Madrid have all but lost the title race, and this game represents their final chance to obtain some silverware. At present, Real Madrid simply do not look capable of winning the Champions League. Having said that, the winner of the Champions League is not necessarily the best side. Carlo Ancelotti must find a way to get through to his players as they look demoralised in each game that they’ve played. Their injuries have not helped, but they have an squad of world-class talent and should not be using that as an excuse. On the other hand, Juventus have been terrific and thoroughly deserve their lead going to Madrid. Welcoming back Paul Pogba back will only help their cause and bolster up their star-studded midfield. Allegri has instilled a certain level of belief amongst his players and they will believe they can get to the final. I was impressed with the level of Juventus’ play last week and I expect them to continue to play with the same passion and confidence. This game could go either way, but I am backing the Italians to do what a traditional Italian team would do in this situation and get the result they need to keep their historic treble dream alive.
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona
Pep Guardiola was guilty of attempting to be too clever against his former club. He failed to show Barcelona’s front three the respect they deserve and paid the price as Messi and Neymar in particular ran riot. Messi seems to get better and better and he was a joy to behold in the first leg, embarrassing Jerome Boateng before delicately chipped the world’s best goalkeeper with his ‘weaker’ foot. I am not quite sure what Pep Guardiola has to do to overturn this deficit. Should they adopt a vastly attacking philosophy I have no doubt that Messi and co will hit them on the break and cause damage. On the other hand, if they play too patiently they risk the game passing them by, along with any hope of Champions League glory. I suppose, this is where top managers make their money, however I believe it is a hurdle too big for Bayern Munich, especially with the injuries they have had to cope with. I am expecting another fascinating encounter, with Pep Guardiola’s side performing well and giving Barcelona a run for their money. However, I do not see any way passed Barcelona to go all the way this season.