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Makeshift Barcelona defence 11/10 to yield over 1.5 goals against Bayern

The news that Lionel Messi has returned to full training after hamstring problems will be a huge tonic for Barcelona, but injuries to key defenders Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano may have an equal if not greater impact on their chances. Bayern have smashed 10 goals in the two home games since they beat Juventus at home in the previous round and they can be backed to score over 1.5 goals against their visitors at 11/10 with Coral.

Bayern Munich warmed up for the arrival of the Blaugrana with a 6-1 Bundesliga victory at Hannover  – just their hosts’ third home defeat of the campaign – that underlined not only how scarily good they can be, but the strength in depth within the Die Roten squad. A typically imperious success was secured without recourse to the services of stars Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Champions League’s second highest assist-maker Phillipe Lahm.

Barcelona eased some of the grumbling about their poor away form by beating relegation battling Zaragoza with a weakened team of their own at the weekend, but Tito Villanova’s men will face a task of a much higher magnitude in trying to topple Bayern at the Allianz Arena. That 3-0 victory was just their third away win in their last nine games in all competitions and their first away clean sheet since a Copa De Rey shut out against Liga Segunda side Cordoba back in December.

Munich have notched two or more goals in all their home Champions League encounters this term, with the exception of the psychological dead-rubber second leg against Arsenal, whilst Barca have shipped twice in three of their last four European away games. Catalan ambitions of halting the red tide are undermined further by the fact that they must rely on makeshift central defensive pairing Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra in Germany.

An away goal for Villanova’s men would be a great asset ahead of the second leg in Spain, with the Germans conceding once or less in 20 of 21 away games this term. Bayern are actually more defensively lax at home, where they’ve conceded six times in their last five games and both teams to score can be backed at 7/10.