Skip to main content

Bayern brimming with confidence ahead of Barcelona clash

By Gary Morley, CNN
April 20, 2013 -- Updated 2221 GMT (0621 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bayern Munich's dominant form continues with Saturday's 6-1 victory away to Hanover
  • German champions set more milestones ahead of semifinal clash with Barcelona
  • Spanish leaders labor to 1-0 victory over Levante, again resting star player Lionel Messi
  • Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid also win ahead of their Champions League semi

(CNN) -- "Bring on Barca!" trumpeted Bayern Munich's website on Saturday.

Confidence is brimming in Bavaria ahead of this coming week's Champions League semifinals, in which the best two German clubs will take on the best two from Spain.

Not many teams fancy their chances against Barcelona, but Bayern's mood is buoyant after another day of milestones in the Bundesliga.

The 6-1 thrashing of Hannover extended the champions' record winning streak to 13 league matches, it was an unprecedented 26th victory from 30 matches, and equaled Borussia Dortmund's leading points tally of 81 with four games to play.

It also constituted a record ninth consecutive away win, and only a late header by Andre Hoffmann denied goalkeeper Manuel Neuer a record 20th clean sheet.

Ferrer: Spain can win 2014 World Cup
CNN Football Club: Who will be champions?
Aston Villa or Sharon Stone?

"We wanted to prepare well for the match against Barcelona, and we succeeded. We've played well, and especially in the first half, it was a convincing performance," Neuer said.

Read: Does Bayern Munich really need Guardiola?

Strikers Mario Gomez and Claudio Pizarro netted twice each as coach Jupp Heynckes made eight changes from Tuesday's German Cup semifinal win, and even altered his usual formation to accommodate the two forwards.

"Once again, the players have proved we don't have a B-team, we only have an A-team," said Heynckes, who will step aside to allow former Barca coach Pep Guardiola to take charge at the end of this season.

"The players are just enjoying their football, and our attitude is superb. Every man was totally motivated, we put together some very fluid moves, we showed great discipline, and we created outstanding goals."

The win contrasted sharply with Barcelona's labored 1-0 victory over Levante, which left the Catalan side with a 13-point lead in La Liga ahead of Tuesday's trip to Munich.

With Lionel Messi among those players rested, as the four-time world player of the year protects his problem hamstring, his replacement Cesc Fabregas snatched victory in the 84th minute after David Villa missed a first-half penalty.

Read: Real Madrid 'most valuable club'

Andres Iniesta made his 447th appearance for the Blaugrana, putting him fifth equal on the club's all-time list alongside Carles Rexach. They are behind only Xavi, Carles Puyol, Migueli and Víctor Valdes.

Eric Abidal made his first start following his liver transplant, and the French defender is now in contention to play against Bayern.

"We are very happy for Abidal," said assistant coach Jordi Roura.

"More than just the sporting aspect, it is something very nice for him, for the dressing room, for everyone to see him complete the game and look fine.

Exclusive: What makes Ibrahimovic tick?
PSG: One year on
Gullit: Mourinho will return to Chelsea

"He is a new option and alternative looking towards Tuesday. In the next few training sessions we will decide who will be paired in central defense in Munich."

The other two teams left in Europe's top club competition also enjoyed victories on Saturday.

Dortmund won 2-0 against Mainz to stay second in the German league -- 20 points behind Bayern -- with goals from Marco Reus after 32 seconds and Robert Lewandowski late in the match ensuring qualification for next season's Champions League.

Lewandowski scored for the 12th successive match -- four short of Gerd Muller's record for Bayern in the 1970s -- and the Poland striker now has a league-leading 23 this season.

Jurgen Klopp's team will next host Real Madrid on Wednesday, when Jose Mourinho's team will seek to improve on a dismal record of just one victory in 24 visits to Germany in European competitions.

"We were focused on winning it, but Real was always in the back of our minds," Lewandowski said.

"I want to score at least one goal in each game because that makes me happy. It would be wonderful to chalk up a goal or two against Madrid, too!"

Madrid stayed second in La Liga with a 3-1 victory at home to Betis, as Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil scored twice and France forward Karim Benzema added the other goal.

However, midfielder Luka Modric and defender Marcelo are in doubt for the first leg of the semifinal after both were taken off with injuries.

"Marcelo has felt it quite a lot. Luka looks like fatigue, but he said he felt something and we'll need to see how it develops," said assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who faced the press in place of Mourinho -- whose future at Real was again questioned in Spanish reports before the match.

Mourinho gave a debut to 21-year-old Brazil international midfielder Casemiro, who is captain of Real's reserve side.

"It is a dream and I will continue to work hard to have more opportunities," said Casemiro, who is on loan from Brazilian club Sao Paulo.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT