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[VIDEO] Graham Hunter exclusive: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, a 12/1 tip and a zebra

by Sean Goff | April 23, 2013

Graham Hunter byline

European football expert and red-hot tipster Graham Hunter is predicting tonight’s Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Barcelona to end all square.

{Find out Graham’s 12/1 tip by scrolling down and watching the video} 

There’s an old saying from the hard-boiled private detective fiction of  Raymond Chandler and his cronies which I love – “If you hear the sound of hooves coming, don’t look for zebras – it’ll be horses”.

Those writers used it to say ‘don’t look beyond the obvious suspect’ and perhaps it applies to Bayern v Barça tonight.

The Bavarians have stomped all over their domestic competition and gave Juve a slapping in the last round.

Barça are full of incognitos (is Busquets fully recovered from his groin strain? Is Messi properly fit for his explosive bursts of genius? Who will play alongside Piqué? Bartra? Abidal?) and they’ve played without their old intensity in the second half of this season.

So, perhaps it’s stupid to look for a zebra when we are going to see a horse?

Many of the shrewd bets must favour the home team. But I think there are some minor indications that the nag might be sporting one or two stripes tonight.

Barça haven’t lost in Germany for eleven years – five wins and three draws in that time.

Barça love to face teams who are going to give them a game – Philip Lahm’s words about going toe-to-toe with Tito Vilanova’s side will be very welcome. They get SO sick of having to unpick defences with ten men behind the ball all the time.

Teams who attack them give them spaces – and chances. If Messi is firing on all cylinders then, obviously, he’s the banker bet to exploit them.

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However I like Pedro – quick, a deceptively good finisher and with a couple of recent big goals (against PSG and France) to his name. It was actually against this keeper, Manuel Neuer, he learned a big lesson. World Cup semi final 2010, through one on one and with Fernando Torres alone beside him Pedro tried to round the keeper, his studs slipped on the arid African pitch and the chance for 2-0 was gone. Coaches for Spain and then Pep Guardiola advised him to shoot hard, low and early in similar circumstances. He’s done it and perhaps he´ll come full circle tonight.

If you are betting in-play then watch Busquets. Against PSG, both games, he was wildly out of form and Barça were far the worse for it. If that groin strain has fully healed and he fires on all cylinders the Spanish league leaders function much better, simple as that. In fact if he does fire up, I’d back them not to lose. Vice versa too.

The ref? Viktor Kassai is a straight shooter. Barça won’t be looking to him for favours. But this is a guy who brings good memories for them – that 1-0 Spain v Germany World Cup semi final (no bookings and no reds in the entire match), a red card for Paul Pogba for stamping on Xavi’s ankle in that Spain 1-0 France match last month, the Champions League final of 2011 when he took an hour to book anyone and Barça’s 4-0 win over Milan this season when, again, only four bookings (one for Barça, Pedro).

To Kassai’s great credit he seems to blend southern and northern European reffing styles – a rarity.

A fine game, Bayern deserve to start favourites, both teams to score. Four goals shared. Enjoy.

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