There are still four more rounds for the Bundesliga to end, but the challenge for the title is over. Bayern Munich have won the title for the 25th time in their history and for the third consecutive time, without any competition. The Bavarians have only lost twice in the league this season but their domestic success cannot be considered an achievement if they don’t prove themselves in the Champions League among three other world class clubs.
Retaining the title is a magnificent achievement. Bayern have been impressive throughout this season, their squad consists of the world’s best players. The manager, Pep Guardiola, has built a name for himself since his first season as a coach at Barcelona. There is no doubt that they are the best in Germany, it seems like they belong to a league of their own, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Munich have reached this point through a carefully planned strategy, they played fair and square yet they managed to distinguish themselves in the Bundesliga. Today, winning the league should not be considered as an achievement for Guardiola, the Catalan manager should strive to win his first Champions League title as a Bayern Munich manager. However to do that, he has to defeat his former club Barcelona as well as either current champions Real Madrid or Juventus.
In Europe, Munich have been fairly inconsistent with their results winning 6-1 against Porto, 7-0 against Shakhtar and 7-1 against Roma. On the other hand, they lost against Manchester City 3-2, against Porto 3-1 and drew 0-0 with Shakhtar. Their performance is really unpredictable, when they face Barcelona; their odds are pretty low considering Barcelona did well in most of their high profile matches since December. Despite that, Barcelona are still fighting to win the La Liga title which means Bayern can rest their stars ahead of their clash with Barcelona while the Catalans cannot do the same.
Barcelona’s forward, Neymar, vows to claim revenge when he plays against the German club. The Brazilian still feels the soars of Brazil’s world cup loss against Germany. By playing for Barcelona, it’s his only chance to defeat many of the players that consisted of the German squad on the day Brazil lost. Former Bayern star Jean-Marie Pfaff claimed that Bayern are better as a team than the Catalans, but Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s secret weapon, if he’s having a good day, he’s enough to gift his team a victory. Besides that, Barcelona’s three forwards have scored a total of 102 goals across all competitions this season. The two previous times Barcelona had a formidable front three, they won the Champions League on both occasions (2008-2009 and 2010-2011). The partnership between Suarez, Messi and Neymar is strong than the previous two, they have what it takes to defeat any club in the world. The rivalry goes beyond that as the challenge between the Alcántara brothers will be a special one. Thiago plays for Spain; Rafinha for Brazil. They are similar talents but they took separate paths.
Bayern can defeat Barcelona if they use Guardiola’s experience to exploit Luis Enrique’s faults. The Germans have to be careful as they cannot afford to give their opponents any chances on the counter. For Munich to win the treble, they need consistency and a perfect performance during their final matches. All in all, it will be a draining and emotional experience for the two managers and the players but whichever side emerges winner between the two, they will still have a bigger challenge, winning the final.