Iniesta excited by 'thrilling' Bayern Munich tie

Germany and Spain’s dominant forces were paired together on Friday and players from both sides gave their thoughts via social media

Barcelona and Bayern Munich players took to Twitter to express their excitement after the two teams were draw against one another in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The draw in Switzerland on Friday morning saw the dominant forces of La Liga and the Bundesliga paired together, while the two sides who sit in second spot in those respective divisions, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, will contest the other last four tie.

Blaugrana players all seemed encouraged by the draw, with the first leg to be played in Bavaria on April 23, before the return leg on May 1.

“It will be a thrilling tie,” tweeted Andres Iniesta.

Cesc Fabregas and Jose Pinto both expressed their jubilation by saying: “We are going to Munich!”

Meanwhile, various Bavarian stars also gave their thoughts, but opted for a slightly more cautious reaction.

“If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best!” said Claudio Pizzaro.

The striker’s sentiments were echoed by his team-mate David Alaba who tweeted: “Barcelona in the semi-final! It’s a tough job!”

Brazillians Rafinha and Dante both conveyed their emotion by tweeting:  “We’re going to Barcelona!”

The two teams have both lifted the trophy four times, but only one of them will have the opportunity to make that five at Wembley on May 25.

Heynckes: I would never ask Guardiola for help

The Bayern Munich coach has reacted angrily to suggestions that he might enlist the help of the former Barcelona boss ahead of his side’s clash with the Blaugrana

Jupp Heynckes has reacted angrily to suggestions that he could consult Pep Guardiola about Bayern Munich’s upcoming Champions League semi-final with Barcelona.

The former Blaugrana boss will take over the reins at the Allianz Arena in the summer, but the 68-year-old has claimed that anyone who believes he would give his successor a call of being disrespectful.

“Please respect me and my work,” he told reporters.

“I have never consulted anyone!”

Looking ahead to the tie, Heynckes said that he is expecting two great games against a team whom he knows well.

“We’ll see two very entertaining games. Both teams like to attack and have a solid defence with good tactical awareness,” he continued.

“I said before the Juventus game that I don’t think playing the first leg at home is a disadvantage. Camp Nou is certainly a special stadium and we can expect a fantastic atmosphere there.

“I know Spain football very well because I’ve always been interested in it, even after I left Spain.

“Barcelona aren’t just [Lionel] Messi. They have great players like Xavi [Andres] Iniesta, ]Sergio] Busquets, [Cesc] Fabregas and [David] Villa.”

Lahm rates Bayern's chances of reaching final as 50:50

The 29-year-old is relishing the showdown with Blaugrana later this month while Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer also tweet their excitement about the game

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm believes their Champions League semi-final clash with Barcelona is impossible to call, with a place in the final at Wembley up for grabs.

Bayern progressed to the last four after an emphatic 4-0 aggregate win over Juventus, while the Blaugrana snuck through on away goals against Paris Saint-Germain.

The 29-year-old took to his twitter page to voice his opinion on the draw, which also pitted Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid.

“It’s a great draw. What a game! It’s our third semi-final appearance in four years and we meet Barcelona eye to eye. I think our chances of reaching Wembley are 50/50. It will be an interesting duel between two top teams.”

Meanwhile Lahm’s team-mates for club and country, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer, also expressed their views on the clash between two of Europe’s heavyweights.

Muller tweeted: “I’ve never played against Barcelona so I’m really looking forward to it,” while Neuer called it “a real cracker of a tie”.

The first leg will take place on April 23 at Allianz Arena, with the return fixture at Camp Nou on May 1.

Zubizarreta: Barcelona hope to return to 'magical' Wembley

The Blaugrana director is desperately hoping that the Catalans will get the opportunity to go back to the scene of two of their European triumphs

Barcelona director Andoni Zubizarreta has admitted that it would mean so much for the club to overcome Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League and thus secure a return to “a magical place”, Wembley.

The famous London venue was the scene of the Blaugrana’s first European Cup success, in 1992, and their most recent on, two years ago.

Wembley is therefore a hugely important part of the club’s folklore, so even though Bayern Munich represent a formidable obstacle for Tito Vilanova’s men to overcome, Barca are determined to progress to this year’s tournament decider.

“We hope to reach Wembley, a magical place for us,” the former Spain international told reporters.

“We are two great teams, with different styles. But we are going to play our football and enjoy it. That’s what we like doing.

“Last season we were knocked out in the semi-finals, but we’re going to ignore the speculation and focus on Bayern.”

The Catalans will travel to Bavaria for the first leg before hosting Jupp Heynckes’ men at Camp Nou the following week.

Bayern handed the chance to end Barcelona's reign

The Catalan club have been the strongest side in Europe over the last five years, but the balance of power may be about to shift towards Bavaria as the teams meet in the last four

By Ben Hayward

It was a tie which neither side would have wanted, but one which could define everything. Barcelona and Bayern Munich were paired together in the semi-finals of the Champions League following Friday’s draw in Nyon. At stake is much, much more than just a place in the Wembley showpiece next month.

Barcelona have been the dominant force in Europe over the last few seasons. Semi-finalists for the last six years, winners in 2009 and 2011 (as well as 2006), hailed as the greatest side in history by many and hitting huge heights under Pep Guardiola, the Catalans remain the team to beat, the best footballing side there is.

Yet there has been something of a decline since the departure of Guardiola, with Carles Puyol plagued with injuries, Xavi slowing down and problems on the bench in the absence of Tito Vilanova during his treatment for cancer. Even Lionel Messi has been injured.

Madrid and Dortmund meet again after facing off in Group D earlier in the competition.

Then, Jose Mourinho’s men lost 2-1 to Jurgen Klopp’s side in Germany before an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu, when Mesut Ozil rescued a point for the home team with a free kick in the 89th minute.

Dortmund topped the sector as Madrid finished second and Manchester City were eliminted.

Dortmund left it late to knock out Malaga in the last eight and will have the psychological edge after their group results against Madrid. Real, meanwhile, will be looking to end their so-called ‘German curse’ – they were defeat by Bayern in last year’s semi-finals and have suffered many poor results against Bundesliga teams in the past.

Pep is Bayern-bound and without him this term, Barca have struggled in both knockout rounds ahead of their forthcoming semi-final meeting with Bayern. In it, the Bavarians, buoyed by securing the Catalan coach for next season and storming to the Bundesliga title with six rounds remaining, will sense the opportunity to knock the Blaugrana off their perch and begin their own era of continental control.

Bayern reached the final last season under Jupp Heynckes, but surprisingly lost out to Chelsea. The Munich side, then coached by Louis van Gaal, also finished as runners-up to Jose Mourinho’s Inter in the 2010 showpiece in Madrid. The thinking behind Guardiola’s appointment is clearly to get the best out a golden generation of players who have slightly under-achieved at the very highest level.

In many ways, Bayern mirror Barca. The Bavarians boast an exciting youth academy, a strong national core and something of a similar footballing philosophy. The club combines an ideal blend of youth and experience, is in excellent shape financially and completely wiped out an excellent Juventus side in the quarter-finals. And with Guardiola set to arrive in the summer, everything seems in place to make Bayern Europe’s best.

In the meantime, however, question marks remain over the mental strength of a side which has failed to win as much as it should have in recent years.

Those questions can be answered now. Bayern have responded in style in the Bundesliga after missing out on the last two domestic titles to fellow Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund, while they can also win the German cup and are on course for a treble if they can claim a continental crown as well.

But the game against Barca represents their biggest test. Win it and Bayern could usher in an era of dominance on the continent similar to the one enjoyed by the Catalans in recent seasons. Lose out and the Blaugrana will remain Europe’s dominant force – at least for another year.

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