Carlo Ancelotti says that Bayern Munich have closed the gap on Barcelona and believes it is very difficult to predict who will win the Champions League this season.
Barca struggled to a controversial 2-1 home win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their quarter-final last week, leaving the tie wide open ahead of the return clash at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.
"Until a week ago, everyone thought Barcelona were the favourites to win the Champions League, including me,” Ancelotti told Goal.
“Now, nothing is certain. Barca’s level has dropped a touch and it is very difficult to say who is going to win the competition.”
Ancelotti is set to take over Bayern Munich this summer and the German giants beat Benfica 1-0 at the Allianz Arena in their quarter-final opener.
"Bayern are having a great season. They are top of the Bundesliga and still alive in the Champions League,” the ex-Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid boss stated.
“Expectations are high. They had a good result in the first leg against Benfica and are favourites to reach the semi-finals. Maybe the result could have been better but it is a good result in any case.”
Outgoing coach Pep Guardiola has received a lot of criticism in the media for thus far failing to win the Champions League during his time in Bavaria.
So, is the Spaniard on the right path this term to lead the Bundesliga champions to continental glory?
"I think so,” Ancelotti remarked. “All coaches are criticised. Just look at [Barcelona coach] Luis Enrique, who recently went on a long unbeaten run but was still criticised after the Clasico.
“Criticism is normal for a coach. Guardiola knows the Bayern team and environment well and is the ideal coach to take Bayern to the semi-finals or further.”
Guardiola and Bayern travel to Lisbon on Wednesday for the second leg of their quarter-final tie against Benfica. [source]