Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona

Preview: Bayern vs. Barca
© AP Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to the first leg of the showpiece Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Europe's two most dominant clubs meet in a Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

Bayern Munich welcome Barcelona to the Allianz Arena in the first semi, with another German-Spanish battle taking place between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid the following day.

Bayern are 20 points clear and have already sealed the Bundesliga title, while Barca hold a 13-point lead over Real in La Liga.

Both sides go into the match on the back of domestic wins, with Bayern moving their goal difference to +75 with a 6-1 thrashing of Hannover, while Barca saw off Levante thanks to Cesc Fabregas's goal.

Lionel Messi has been passed fit for the clash, overcoming a hamstring strain to play for the visitors, who are looking to extend an eight-match unbeaten sequence on German soil.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes will have to decide whether to continue with in-form Mario Gomez up front. He has scored five goals in the last two games but is second-choice to Mario Mandzukic.

These two last met in the 2008-09 quarter-finals and it was Barca who triumphed 5-1 on aggregate after four goals in the first half of the first leg in Catalonia. Thierry Henry was one of the scorers in that match.

Recent form

Bayern: WWWWWW

Barca: WWDWDD

Possible starting lineups

Bayern: Neuer; Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba; Martinez, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Muller, Ribery; Mandzukic

Barca: Valdes; Dani Alves, Pique, Adriano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Bayern defender Dante rues a miss against Borussia Moenchengladbach on December 14, 2012
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1916305294351
2Atletico MadridAtletico1912612882042
3Valencia19124340192140
4Real Madrid1895432171532
5Villarreal199462621531
6Sevilla199282328-529
7EibarEibar198382431-727
8Getafe207672520527
9Real Betis198383336-327
10Athletic Bilbao206862221126
11GironaGirona197572828026
12Celta Vigo197483327625
13Leganes187381517-224
14Espanyol196671521-624
15Real Sociedad196583334-123
16Levante193971526-1118
17AlavesAlaves1960131427-1318
18Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo1944112137-1616
19Malaga1932141333-2011
20Las PalmasLas Palmas1932141446-3211
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