Guardiola

Bayern’s returning stars need to show their worth
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will need their returning stars to put right the abhorrent performance from last week that has left them in the tumultuous position of needing a convincing win tonight if they are to stand a chance of progressing in the competition and keeping their treble hopes alive. The Bundesliga giants suffered a surprise 3-1 loss to Portuguese titans Porto when they visited the Estadio de Dragao in the first leg of the tie. Without a host of their stars, Bayern were poor and deserving in their loss; in tonight’s return leg, the German side welcome back most of their heavy hitters including Bastian Schweinsteiger. News that French superstar Franck Ribery will still be unavailable for Pep’s side is a cause for concern for Bayern however and will require their key players to rise up to the occasion in the hopes of pulling off a fantastic turn-around and making history in the European completion, as they seek a fourth semi-final appearance in as many years. BF

Any Zlatan impact is too late
We’ll never truly know what difference Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have made to the first leg, but now that he has returned from suspension (along with Marco Verratti) it seems the damage may already have been done. Football matches aren’t decided on paper but Paris Saint-Germain have to score at least three times in the Nou Camp tonight in order to progress to the semi final in place of Barcelona, and there will be few people backing them to do so. It could prove to be a frustrating evening for the Swedish striker against his former club, as Barca’s aggregate lead encourages PSG to come out and chase the game, which in turn plays right into the hands of their hosts. Already a crowd favourite in Paris, Ibrahimovic would be given the keys to the city if he was able to inspire a famous turnaround tonight. JW

Porto’s defense needs to remain stoic
The only side still unbeaten in this years Champions League, FC Porto will need their defence – missing the suspended pair Danilo and Alex Sandro – to remain as resolute as ever if they are to capitalise on their fantastic first leg performance against Bayern Munich and reach the semi-finals of the competition. With nine games played, three draws and six victories, Porto have shown that they have the correct set-up for such a game as they prepare for a 90 minutes of intense pressure from one of the best attacking sides in World Football. With only six goals conceded, the joint lowest of any club still left in the tournament and 24 scored, the joint most with tonight’s opponents Bayern, FC Porto should be well configured to weather Pep’s sides storm. BF

Another long night for David Luiz
Every now and again the defensive shortcomings of David Luiz are exposed at the highest level, and we certainly saw that in the first leg as the Brazilian came on as a sub for the injured Thiago Silva only to be twice embarrassed by Barcelona’s Luis Suarez on the way to scoring. The pair look set to line up against each other this evening and it seems inevitable that there will be another moment of note involving the two players. For better or worse, Luiz is unlikely to compromise his style of play – just ask Chelsea fans – and, with PSG needing goals, he can be expected to maraud forward on the ball from the back. Arguably a necessity if the visitors are to overrun their hosts in Barcelona, it nonetheless puts his side at risk in the Nou Camp and offers space in the PSG half that Suarez and co will thrive on. In these circumstances, surely goals will be scored at both ends. JW

Guardiola bringing a magic sponge
In the wake of Bayern’s defeat in Porto, a row between manager Pep Guardiola’s row with the club’s long-serving doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt led to the resignation of the medical team, who were disgusted at the suggestion that any blame for the loss should be attributed to them. While the methods of Müller-Wohlfart were not necessarily the most modern, Guardiola hasn’t emerged from the week particularly rosy and could do with an aggregate comeback tonight to win back some support from fans. Whether or not Bayern’s plague of injuries were down the previous medical staff, it doesn’t help the team’s situation in Munich this evening as any new physios will not yet be familiar with the role. Guardiola will be hoping another one of his players doesn’t keel over, or else he might have to get on himself to give treatment. JW

Words by Joe Walker & Ben Fawcett