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Porto v Bayern: reporters' view

Our FC Porto match reporter David Crossan and FC Bayern München correspondent Andy James take an insightful look at this repeat of the 1987 European Cup final.

Much may hinge on the availability of Bayern's Arjen Robben
Much may hinge on the availability of Bayern's Arjen Robben ©AFP/Getty Images

Strengths
David Crossan: FC Porto's primary strength is their attacking prowess, especially at home, as FC BATE Borisov and FC Basel 1893 would testify having been taken apart by Julen Lopetegui's side in this season's competition. Cristian Tello (set to miss out with a thigh tear) and Yacine Brahimi provide the pace and trickery out wide, while captain and No9 Jackson Martínez will hope to recover from a groin injury in time for the quarter-finals to add potency.

Andy James: FC Bayern München are a passing machine, regularly commanding over 70% of possession and capable of piercing even the most stubborn defence with their formidable forward line. Playing on a weekly basis against Bundesliga teams who defend in numbers has taught Josep Guardiola's charges to be patient, while their 2013 continental title and considerable know-how may prove invaluable.

Weaknesses
David Crossan: There is potential frailty defensively as Porto have yet to come up against a club as well stocked offensively as Bayern, though they have kept six clean sheets in their last eight games in all competitions. Many supporters have been impressed with goalkeeper Helton, although Fabiano is back in the side after domestic suspension.

Andy James: The news that chief tormentor Arjen Robben – sidelined after tearing an abdominal muscle – could sit out this last-eight tie is a major blow. The German champions are an entirely different proposition without the Dutchman's incisive runs from the right, and with fellow flanker Franck Ribéry struggling to find his form of recent years, the Bavarians will need to guard against what led to their downfall in last year's semi-finals: possession without purpose.

Bayern stars on Guardiola
Bayern stars on Guardiola

Form
David Crossan: Porto have lost only one of their last 13 matches on all fronts, winning ten since a surprise 1-0 reverse at CS Marítimo in January. That was just the Dragons' second Liga defeat of 2014/15 after a 2-0 home setback to title holders SL Benfica, though they were also beaten by Marítimo in the Portuguese League Cup semi-finals on 2 April. Porto may require victory at pacesetters Benfica in late April to stand a chance of landing their 28th championship.

Andy James: Leaders Bayern are hurtling towards another Bundesliga crown yet their form in the second half of term has not been quite so impressive as in 2014. Two deserved defeats against their closest domestic competitors, VfL Wolfsburg and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, have proved they are not invincible and raised questions as to how they might fare against the heavyweights come the business end of the UEFA Champions League.

Knockout pedigree
David Crossan: Porto have not been beyond the quarter-finals of this tournament since winning it in 2004. They succumbed 3-1 at home to Sporting Clube de Portugal in the last 32 of this season's Portuguese Cup, and crashed 1-0 at Marítimo in the League Cup semis.

Andy James: Having contested three of the last five finals plus a semi-final 12 months ago, there can be little doubting Bayern's knockout pedigree in the UEFA Champions League. They remain among the favourites to pick up the trophy and boast the added experience of three straight domestic cup finals.

Brahimi on BATE hat-trick
Brahimi on BATE hat-trick

Prediction
David Crossan: Porto could well give Bayern a shock at the Estádio do Dragão, though Guardiola's men should have enough over two legs to prevent the Portuguese outfit achieving a famous repeat of the 1987 European Champion Clubs' Cup final result.

Andy James: Barring any major surprises, Bayern ought to overcome Porto. From there, it is a case of who they draw in the semis. Liga giants Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona remain their only equals, though much could hinge on the availability of Robben and Ribéry. Without their wing wizards, Bayern are statistically far less dangerous and could founder somewhat against a side that adopts a defensive approach.

One to watch/game changer
David Crossan: If Brahimi has gone off the boil domestically since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, the Algerian international has still looked sensational in the UEFA Champions League, saving his best for the big European nights. Bayern must be wary of conceding free-kicks in Brahimi's range, as he has already converted twice in the 2014/15 competition proper to supplement one against LOSC Lille in the play-offs.

2013: Robben's redemption
2013: Robben's redemption

Andy James: The fitness of Robben is a worry for Bayern. The free-flowing winger has been in the form of his life since notching the goal that secured Bayern their fifth European crown two years ago. In a team packed with quality, he is the player whose speed, trickery and finishing can make the difference at the highest level.

Possible starting XI
Porto: Fabiano; Danilo, Maicon, Iván Marcano, Alex Sandro; Herrera, Casemiro, Evandro; Quaresma, Martínez, Brahimi.

Bayern: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Dante; Alonso, Lahm, Schweinsteiger; Müller, Götze, Ribéry; Lewandowski.