Two giants of European football, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, will go head to head in a mammoth UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday.
Bayern Munich will be ready for a tremendous clash at the Allianz Arena when they take on Barcelona in their Champions League. Their group is already touted as the ‘Group of Death’ owing to the stature of the teams. The Bavarian giants passed through the first hurdle against Inter Milan last week, but this one will be different.
Bayern Munich were eliminated somewhat surprisingly last season in the quarter-finals by Villarreal, with Paris Saint-Germain knocking them out in the quarter-finals in 2020/21; in the campaign before that, they thrashed Barcelona 8-2 in a single-legged tie. The German heavyweights went on to win the title that year, but things are expected to be different this time.
Bayern Munich need to rediscover their usual fluidity if their league form is of any measure. The Bundesliga holders have drawn their last three domestic games, with the latest coming against Stuttgart despite leading twice in the clash. They will be put through their first real test of this campaign when they host Barcelona.
Barcelona can take confidence from their current form and go into this clash with their heads high. The acquisition of former Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has proven to be top business so far, and the Polish forward continued his scoring spree when the Catalans beat Cadiz by four goals.
Barcelona have won their last five games in all competitions and have been in relentless scoring form. The old memories of playing against Bayern, especially the 8-2 mauling, will be fresh, but Xavi Hernandez is a different manager with a much-changed side.
That is not to say Barcelona have the upper hand here, but they remain in the form that will let them take on a giant like Bayern with complete confidence. Moreover, they will be keen to exploit the problems in Julian Nagelsmann’s current setup, although hoping for a clean victory would be considered a far-fetched dream right now.
Team News & Tactics
?️ @J__Nagelsmann: I am already clear about a number of positions. All three centre-backs are playing at a high level. I don't know who will start alongside @LucasHernandez, I haven't decided yet. Marcel Sabitzer will play alongside Joshua Kimmich.#FCBFCB pic.twitter.com/Zw8xGA6TGu
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) September 12, 2022
Julian Nagelsmann will have to do without Kingsley Coman and Bouna Sarr for the Barcelona clash. However, having rested several of his starters for the Stuttgart game, the Bayern Munich manager will name a strong lineup ahead of the game at home.
Changes are expected in all areas, especially in the attacking third. French defensive pair Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard are in line to return to the starting eleven, replacing Dayot Upamecano and Noussair Mazraoui, respectively.
Leon Goretzka started alongside Joshua Kimmich in midfield at the weekend, but Marcel Sabitzer could replace the former Schalke midfielder in the double pivot. With Coman absent, Serge Gnabry could take his place on the right side of the Bayern Munich attack.
Jamal Musiala reprised the no.10 role against Stuttgart, with Thomas Muller taking up the false nine position. Muller could come back in the attacking midfield area, with Sadio Mane set to lead the line for Bayern Munich against Barcelona, having been kept on the bench at the weekend. Leroy Sane will provide support from the left-hand side.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, de Ligt, Hernandez, Davies; Kimmich, Sabitzer; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Mane
Xavi Hernandez left out Sergi Roberto at the weekend, probably as a precaution after the versatile midfielder suffered a muscular problem against Viktoria Plzen. Nevertheless, the Spaniard is included in a strong 25-man travelling squad to Bavaria.
Good afternoon, Germany ? pic.twitter.com/2ssbqJiiYd
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 12, 2022
Apart from that, Xavi has a fully-fit squad at his disposal, with no fresh injuries reported at the time of writing. Having rested several other notable first-team starters, the Barcelona manager will likely field his strongest eleven against Bayern.
The likes of Jules Kounde and Eric Garcia may come into the defensive setup. Xavi will ponder over changing his left-back, despite Alejandro Balde’s top performance against Cadiz at the weekend. There is a feeling the Barcelona manager might resort to replacing the youngster with the more experienced Jordi Alba, who has encountered a few issues since the start of the campaign.
Pedri will be restored to the starting lineup, replacing Frenkie de Jong in the midfield unit. He will be partnered by Sergio Busquets and Gavi in the middle of the park. Star striker Robert Lewandowski is expected to return and lead the line for Barcelona against Bayern Munich, with Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele providing support from wide areas.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Dembele
- Bayern Munich are undefeated in 30 of their last 32 matches in the Champions League.
- Bayern Munich have scored at least three goals in their last four matches against Barcelona in all competitions.
- Bayern Munich have won seven of their last eight matches against Barcelona in all competitions.
- Barcelona have won their last five games in all competitions.
- Barcelona have been losing at half-time and full-time in their last three games against Bayern Munich in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Mr. Lewandowski on his way to Germany pic.twitter.com/Eklbun9rhF
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 12, 2022
No player will have the spotlight more than Lewandowski when he makes a quick return to the Allianz Arena. Although the Polish striker knows a few things about Bayern following a spell that included 344 goals from 275 appearances, the German giants will be hoping he is not on his best form.
Incidentally, Lewandowski has been in top scoring form and will be someone the Bayern Munich defenders have to be wary of. The Pole is key to Barcelona’s hope of beating Bayern Munich or getting a result in this away Champions League game.
Bayern Munich 2-2 Barcelona
On the one hand, Bayern Munich will be considered overwhelming favourites against this transitional Barcelona side, but the current form of both sides points toward a different outcome. The Germans may have a slightly superior squad, but Barcelona’s momentum will have a huge role to play.
Moreover, Xavi has a fully-fit squad at his disposal, with all his players nearly sharp on the field. They will be ready for the challenge, and this game has the hallmarks of an entertaining, high-scoring draw. Both teams may be content with such a result, which will be considered positive.