Pep Guardiola is returning home. For the first time since leaving the club in 2012, the Spaniard and his Bayern Munich stallions will square off against the club that still runs in his blood, Barcelona, in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. Real Madrid and Juventus will square off in the adjacent semifinal to determine who the winner of this classic tie will face in the Champions League final.
Bayern faces Barcelona for the second time in three years in the semifinals of the world's greatest club competition. The Catalans will have the opportunity to avenge the 7-0 spanking they received from Bayern in 2013 before the Rekordmeister achieved the first ever German treble.
The script from before is now flipped going into this tie, Bayern trying to keep the memories of their Champions League victory fresh while Barcelona are trying to put themselves back on top. Barcelona experienced fitness misfortune in their encounter with Bayern two years ago, Lionel Messi barely fit to suit up in the first leg before joining Carles Puyol in the stands for the second. Now it is Bayern who have the injury concerns surrounding their squad, still hoping Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben will be fit in time.
Both teams also got a facelift since the last time they met, each recruiting its own set of World Class players to fill out their squad. Barcelona spent the last two years making their attack more robust with the additions of Neymar and Luis Suárez, while Bayern have buttoned up the back with several additions including Spaniards Xabi Alonso and Juan Bernat. Thiago Alcantara will also make his return to the club that raised him following his €25 million transfer in the summer of 2013.
Bayern hold a 5 W, 2 D, 1 L record against Barcelona all time, advancing past them two out of three times in a two-legged format. The last two ties these clubs have been entangled in, the winner would later go on to lift the Champions League trophy.
The first leg will take place in Camp Nou in Barcelona on May 6, and the return leg is scheduled for May 12 in the Allianz Arena in Munich.