Bayern vs Barcelona: What Are The Chances?

Who will advance to the Champions League Final - Bayern Munich or Barcelona? With one of the most anticipated Champions League semi-finals starting Tuesday night in Munich, today on the blog bettingexpert German blog editor Joachim shares his statistical analysis for what promises to be a compelling semi.

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Currently the two best club teams in Europe meet each other in this year's Champions League semifinals, an epic encounter by every conceivable measure. The winner of this duel has an excellent chance of going all the way and lift the trophy. But who will succeed? I've compiled a few interesting stats to provide us with a clearer picture, displaying just how good both of these teams are.

Who Will Advance? How The Bookies See It

Bayern or Barcelona to advance based on the odds

These numbers are based on the average odds offered by the bookmakers. However, I have omitted the overround, as we would be looking at more than a 100% total market otherwise. What is an overround and how do you convert bookies' odds into probabilities? That is something we explain in our betting academy. What's interesting: These numbers correspond almost exactly to the expected ball possession (see below).

The Odds

Bayern Munich are favourites with the bookmakers to win the opening leg at home, with Ladbrokes offering a best price of 2.30, while BetVictor offer odds of 3.60 for Barcelona. If you fancy the draw, BWin are likewise offering odds of 3.60.

To advance to the final, Barcelona are favourites with Bet365 offering odds of 1.80 while Ladrokes have Bayern Munich at odds of 2.25.

Statistics

Bayern - Barcelona: Two cases of domestic dominance

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How well each of these clubs have performed this season is expressed by this simple statistic. Bayern have taken 90% of all available points this season, and are now tied for the all-time Bundesliga record (Dortmund had just shattered the record the previous season with 81 points total). Barcelona is coming in a very close second, and for all the problems that Barcelona have faced this season people seem to forget just how impressive it is to win 87.5% of all available points.

Bayern – Barcelona: Ball possession in the Champions League

Bayern – Barcelona: Ballbesitz in der CL

Source: Whoscored.com

Barcelona's dominant style has been established and well known for several years now, complete control and their dreaded quick short passes are the hallmark of their way of playing football. It tends to be a frustrating and often disastrous experience for their opponents, as they rarely see much of the ball - they usually spend the better part of 90 minutes chasing it down. 75% ball possession on average in this Champions League season's away games exemplify just how little as changed under new head coach Vilanova.

Bayern has also improved much in this regard. At home they sport an average of 59.2% ball possession in the Champions League this season. Not that much compared to Barcelona, but impressive nonetheless. Controlling the game and setting the pace is an important part of Bayern's game this season. Javi Martínez, who was transferred from Bilbao in exchange for 40 million Euros, is a very important piece of Bayern's ball possession puzzle. He's almost flawless when in possession, and used to this style of play from Spain's national squad. Whether he was worth the hefty transfer sum financially will remain for the accountants to decide, but there is no doubt he has raised the level of Bayern's game.

Bayern – Barcelona: Expected ball possession for the first leg

Bayern - Barcelona: Erwarteter Ballbesitz

What ball possession can we expect in the first leg in Munich? Will one team completely adapt or will both try to impose their style of play on the opponent? That is the central question in this encounter, especially in the first leg. Based on the performances so far you can project an expected ball possession, the results of which see Barcelona at 55.9 % and Bayern at 44.1 %.

I think the actual ball possession will be key in determining the winner of this match, and it will be interesting to see how things look in reality. Will Barcelona be able to cope with Bayern's intense pressing or will they have to give in to the pressure? Can Barcelona impose their dominant style against Munich and keep them busy in their own end? The fact remains that Bayern's last encounter with Barcelona in 2009 (Barcelona won 5-1 on aggregate) under coaches Klinsmann and Guardiola is of little predictive value, as Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Ribery are the only players remaining from that contest.

Bayern – Barcelona: Guns Blazing

Bayern - Barcelona: Offense comparison

Source: Whoscored.com

When you look at the numbers, you can immediately see the quality both teams bring to the table in terms of offense. Bayern has posted an average of 17.8 shots on goal in the Champions League, of which 37 % are on target. Equally amazing is their scoring efficiency, as a third of those shots actually made it into the back of the net.

Even though not quite as impressive, Barcelona's offensive stats still look very impressive. Barcelona managed to steer 35.2 % of their shots on target in the Champions League, which amounts to a total of 5.6 shots per game. With a 32.1 % efficiency in converting these into goals Barcelona are right up there with Bayern, the only difference is that they fire slightly fewer on target and thus tend to score a little less than Bayern. Messi with his 8 Champions League goals scored this season is of course a huge part of this - a blessing when he's on the pitch, but also a bit of a curse if he isn't or if the opposition manages to neutralize him, which is hard enough to do.

Bayern - Barcelona: Crumbling Walls

Bayern - Barcelona: Defense comparison

Source: Whoscored.com

Defensively Bayern's Champions League campaign leaves a bit to be desired this season. Their opponents score an average of one goal per game on them, something they are certainly not proud of. In total Bayern's opponents fire off an average of 9.1 shots on goal, 29.7 % of which make it on target. In 37 % of those cases goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has to collect the ball from the back of his net, usually with a hint of disgust on his face, as it's a situation he isn't used to at all from domestic competition where Bayern's defensive stats are outstanding.

But Bayern isn't alone with its defensive troubles, Barcelona averages one goal against per Champions League match as well, despite their overwhelming ball possession. Their opponents still average 10 shots on goal per game, 38 % of which are on target. Valdés concedes 26.3% of those shots on target, so at least statistically he is a bit better than his trusted colleague, Manuel Neuer.

Conclusion

These stats show one thing in particular: Absolute class. Despite the odd defensive glitch, both teams are in very good shape and it is hard to discern any substantial difference between the two teams. The bookies seem to think the expected ball possession makes Barcelona the favourite, but Bayern could more than make up for that with better offensive efficiency. This one might come down to form on matchday.

One thing is all too clear however: This will be a barn burner, everything is set for an epic battle. The best advice to give is to just lean back and enjoy. It just might be a duel for tha ages.

 

 

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