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Barcelona - Bayern Munich - Champions League

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Bayern Munich - Barcelona in blockbuster semi-final

Lionel-Messi-2Barcelona travel to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night boosted by the knowledge star man Lionel Messi could return for the showdown.

The Argentinian superstar suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg of Barca's quarter-final tie with Paris St Germain and has only made one substitute appearance since then, in the second leg against the Ligue 1 side.

Messi has not yet been given the all-clear by medical staff but is in the Barca squad that has travelled to Germany for the first leg of the blockbuster tie, during which both teams will be looking to take a step closer to a fifth European title.

The two sides have dominated their respective leagues this year, with Barcelona 13 points clear at the top of La Liga under assistant coach Jordi Roura, while Bayern are in an even better position having wrapped up the Bundesliga crown two weeks ago.

Both have also been in two Champions League finals in the last four years, though the Catalans won both of theirs and the Bavarians came out losers on each occasion.

They share another connection in coach Pep Guardiola, who left Camp Nou last year after guiding them to Champions League glory in 2009 and 2011 and will replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern this summer.

It is the second successive season that Bayern have been tasked with overcoming a Spanish heavyweight at the semi-final stage after they dumped out Real Madrid last year, stretching their home record against Spanish opposition to just one defeat in 20 encounters.

Matches between Bayern and Barcelona have been surprisingly rare, with just six previous meetings.

The last, a Champions League quarter-final four years ago, came when Jurgen Klinsmann's reign at Bayern was in its death throes and saw a 4-0 Barca rout in the first leg with all goals coming in a memorable first half.

Tags: barcelona | Bayern Munich | Champions League

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