Posted April 22, 2013 on AP on Fox
At a time when Bayern Munich should be thinking about whether Lionel Messi is healthy enough to play in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday night, the German champion faces questions about a government investigation of club president Uli Hoeness for suspected tax evasion. The newsmagazine Focus - whose publisher is a member of Bayern's board - reported last weekend that Hoeness is under investigation. Hoeness, who owns a sausage factory, told the magazine he reported himself to tax authorities about a private bank account in Switzerland, a move that could mitigate his situation. ''That's, above all, a private matter of the president,'' Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said after his team won 6-1 in Hannover on Saturday. ''My team does not get affected by anything.'' Bayern clinched the Bundesliga title with six games to spare on April 6, the earliest clinching in league history. The club announced Jan. 16 that Heynckes will be replaced this summer by former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. Messi, the four-time world player of the year, arrived with the Blaugrana on Monday but still has not been cleared by doctors to play. He ''Clearly, Barcelona is stronger when Messi plays,'' Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said. ''But we have players who can hurt Barcelona.'' Messi injured his right hamstring on April 2 and has missed three Spanish league games while entering as 62nd-minute substitute against Paris Saint-Germain on April 10 and sparking his team to advance from the quarterfinal. Heynckes has described Messi as a ''phenomenon'' and ''extraterrestrial.'' ''But Barcelona is more than Messi, they have so many great players,'' Heynckes said. ''Barcelona has dominated European football in the past few years, but I have concept how to play and I am confident we can succeed.'' Messi has 57 goals in 46 games this season after scoring a world club record 73 last season. ''Messi is the best player in the world. He is very important for us, he can make the difference,'' Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez said. ''We'll see the best Messi from the start. He guarantees the stability of the team.'' Bayern will be without suspended forward Mario Mandzukic. His backup, Mario Gomez, has scored five goals this week - two in Hannover in a league match and three in the 6-1 win over Wolfsburg in the German Cup semifinals. Heynckes has not ruled out using veteran Claudio Pizarro - either with or instead of Gomez. ''I have the fortune that I have two more great strikers. Gomez has been the best German-born striker for the past few years and Claudio is the best foreign striker of the Bundesliga,'' Heynckes said. Long-term injuries have ruled out Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber, while Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will be missing defender Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano. His options include shifting Adriano over to the center of the defense, using young defender Marc Bartra, or even turning to veteran Eric Abidal after he played Saturday against Levante in his first start since a liver transplant on April 10 last year. Bayern and Barcelona are both seeking their fifth Champions League title. Bayern is in its third semifinal in four seasons, Barcelona is in the last four for a record sixth consecutive appearance.

Europe’s Final Four Part 2 – Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona

​Today’s game sees Bayern Munich host Barcelona in what should be an entertaining match. This is an encounter worthy of final that footy fans are fortunate to see played over two games. Each is team is no stranger to this competition, both Bayern and Barcelona have lifted the trophy four times, with Barcelona having done so twice in the last four years. And to little surprise...

Messi: Barcelona shouldn't give up hope

Lionel Messi says Barcelona must not give up hope in the Champions League semifinals after being overwhelmed 4-0 at Bayern Munich in the first leg. Messi says the return leg at the Camp Nou next week will be ''a very tough match'' given the seemingly insurmountable four-goal difference, but ''you have to go for it and try to achieve it. They are very good...

Messi vows Barcelona response

Lionel Messi has insisted he was fit to face Bayern Munich and has vowed to help Barcelona respond to their heavy defeat in Germany. The Spanish giants suffered a surprise 4-0 loss in their first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final and are now facing a huge uphill challenge to qualify. Messi was a peripheral figure at the Allianz Arena and did not look as if he had recovered...

Commons grateful for rest

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez has said he expects Lionel Messi will be fit for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg at Bayern Munich, despite the Argentinian maestro's hamstring woes. Messi missed Saturday's laboured 1-0 win against Levante and two games before that for the Spanish league champions-elect since coming on to help inspire his side in their quarter...

Bayern distracted by president's tax case

At a time when Bayern Munich should be thinking about whether Lionel Messi is healthy enough to play, the new German champion has been rocked by a huge distraction before its Champions League semifinal against Barcelona. Reports over the weekend that the club's president, Uli Hoeness, is under investigation for suspected tax evasion have dominated German headlines, nearly overshadowing...

Knockout Blow? Bayern Munich Dismantle Barcelona In 1st Leg

The Bundesliga Champions put one foot into the CL Final with a 4-0 mauling of Lionel Messi and Co. at the Allianz Arena on TuesdayThe post Knockout Blow? Bayern Munich Dismantle Barcelona In 1st Leg appeared first on The Soccer Daily.

Champions League semi-final preview

Story lines aplenty What does one expect when you have two sets of the games biggest rivals in the semi-finals of club football’s biggest competition? There has been no shortage of questions, story lines, and drama leading up to this weeks first leg fixtures. Perhaps the biggest news came today, with Mario Götze reportedly agreeing to terms to play for Bayern Munich next year...
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