YOU don't often find Bayern Munich outsiders to win a game or qualify from a tie but their credentials are clear and I can't resist going with the German champions ahead of Tuesday night's meeting with Barcelona.
Affronted by his cheek, Bayern made a wager themselves. “Klopp's arse,” said vice-president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “will end up in the Bayern museum. He should have bet his hair transplant. It would be easier to transport than his arse.”
Talking out of it or not, Klopp simply said what many people were thinking when Bayern and Barcelona's names were pulled out the hat. A common reaction to it was: “Oh, now that could be awkward.”
Guardiola is the elephant in the room and with that mischief Klopp had reminded everyone of it. Resentful of the implication he couldn't mastermind a plan of his own to beat Barcelona, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said: “I don't need anyone's help studying an opponent. I ask for respect.”
This underlying narrative to the tie gives it a certain fascination, particularly from a psychological point of view. For instance, how must Guardiola feel?
You'd imagine for all that he's a professional and a man of great integrity he might still feel conflicted and torn by it. He's only human after all. Wouldn't a Barcelona win over both legs be in his interests too? You'd definitely think it would make his job at Bayern next season that little bit easier.
As for Heynckes, well, were he to oust Barcelona from the competition, you might argue it would be like beating Guardiola by proxy, that it would make a statement along the lines of: We already have our own winning philosophy, what do we need his for?
Further to that it would reinforce the growing doubt as to how exactly Guardiola can improve this team to say nothing of leading to a groundswell of sympathy for Heynckes at being pensioned off despite a record-breaking season.
The exchange has Barcelona as favourites to qualify from this tie and for the final at 1.84. That's understandable but it strikes me as perhaps a touch too respectful of everything they've achieved over the last four-and-a-half seasons.
Barcelona have only won one of their last five Champions League games. That, lest we forget, was the “reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated” performance against Milan in the Round of 16 when they overturned a 2-0 first leg defeat with a 4-0 win in the second.
Lionel Messi, you might say, got them out of jail on that occasion and did once again in the final half-hour of their quarter-final against Paris St Germain when he shrugged off an injury to come on and inspire his teammates to find the equaliser they needed to go through on away goals.
With that in mind there's no hyperbole in saying Barcelona haven't been as convincing as in recent years and you suspect their defensive frailties – Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano are injured while Adriano is suspended – will come under more exacting scrutiny than they have done by anyone else this season when they meet Bayern at the Allianz Arena.
Saturday's 6-1 away win at Hannover was a Bundesliga record 26th this season and was their ninth in a row on the road. If winning the Meisterschale already hadn't allowed Bayern to focus on the Champions League then going 3-0 up inside 40 minutes at the weekend did at least permit Heynckes to bring some of his stars off early so their legs are fresh for Tuesday night.
The only concerns they have are as follows – Mario Mandzukic, their top scorer, is suspended for the first leg while Toni Kroos, their chief technician, a player as important for his passing as Mandzukic is for his pressing is injured.
Their absences will be felt, particularly given the assumption the attributes they have are the kind that would allow Bayern to impose themselves and maybe even dictate the terms of the tie.
So powerful has this team shown itself to be, though, that a defeat at home seems unlikely. Bayern at this moment in time look more than a match for Barcelona. On that note back them to win on the night at 2.3 and to qualify at 2.16.
Bayern to win at 2.3
Bayern to qualify at 2.16