MATCH PREVIEW: BARCELONA VS BAYERN MUNICH, CAN A MESSI-LESS BARCELONA AVENGE THE 8-2 LOSS AGAINST THE BAVARIANS?
BARCELONA VS BAYERN MUNICH
Barcelona starts a new chapter in their history as they host Bavarian giants Bayern Munich in the Champions League Group-E opener on Tuesday night. The Catalans enter the group stages for the first time without a certain Lionel Messi who was the heart and soul of the team for so many years. This clash marks the first meeting between two teams after Bayern’s 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League mini tournament in 2020. The game now feels like a million years ago as so much has changed for both sides.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 12, 2021
Barcelona have started their post-Messi era in a positive style. They have to thank Memphis Depay for that feat. The versatile Dutch forward after signing on a free transfer is already proving his worth in Catalonia. He scored two goals and assisted once as Barca won two of their opening games. However, they haven’t kept a clean sheet thus far and it might concern Ronald Koeman when the German champions visit. Also, the lack of match fitness would hurt Barcelona as their weekend fixture with Sevilla was postponed.
Bayern Munich started the season with a draw against Borussia Monchengladbach. Julian Nagelsmann’s side looked like a work in progress after that display. But the Bavarians responded like wounded animals after winning the Super Cup and putting 12 goals past their oppositions in the league in three games. Most notably they scored 12 in a single game in the DFB Pokal and dismantled their title rivals Leipzig 4-1. They look in ominous form before the Champions League clash.
Ronald Koeman knows that he can’t call upon Sergino Dest, Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Moussa Wague, and Martin Braithwaite due to various injuries. Both Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba await a late fitness call to make it to the starting lineup.
🇳🇱 De Jong^2 pic.twitter.com/ne4SbMJcia
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 11, 2021
Barcelona requested the league to reschedule their league fixture with Sevilla due to the late return of their South American stars. Hence they returned to training late on Saturday for the game on Tuesday night. We might see a Barcelona debut for deadline day loan signing Luuk de Jong. Philippe Coutinho might also make a return to the first team after months of being in the dark.
PREDICTED XI :
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen ; Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets Pedri; Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong, Philippe Coutinho
Bayern Munich meanwhile have positive news on the injury front. Alphonso Davies and Thomas Muller have made a comeback from injury and are in contention to face Barcelona. The French duo of Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso are out for the fixture. New signing Marcel Sabitzer might be hoping for his first start for Bayern Munich against Barcelona.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) September 11, 2021
Since it’s the first game week, suspensions are not a matter of concern for either side.
Manuel Neuer; Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez, Alphonso Davies; Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich; Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane; Robert Lewandowski
The Dutch forward has found himself under firm spotlight at Barcelona. It was a childhood dream for Depay to play for Barcelona and it came true when they signed him on a free. Instead of complementing Lionel Messi, he became the new face of Barcelona. Ronald Koeman knows how to get the best out of Depay from the Netherlands national team connection.
⚽ GOAL OF THE MONTH
🦁 @Memphis against Athletic, as voted by the fans!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 10, 2021
Depay can play anywhere across the front line and on Tuesday he might play down the wing to let Luuk de Jong take the central role. His contest with Alphonso Davies down the wing would be crucial if he starts on the right to accommodate Coutinho on the left. Depay needs to occupy Davies constantly to prevent the Canadian from bombing forward and hurting Barcelona.
The Polish forward has been in the form of his life. In fact, he has been in scintillating touch since 2019. He was a leading contender for the Ballon d’Or in 2020 till it was scrapped due to the pandemic. But he was unflinching and continued what he knows best. Lewy broke Gerd Muller’s scoring record in a single season last time out. He also hit a triple century of goals for the Bavarians and started the new campaign on fire.
Another game, another goal 🤖
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) September 11, 2021
Lewandowski is a fox in the box and needs only half a chance to stick the ball in the back of the net. It is crucial for Barcelona to cut his supply by shutting down the flanks. Their midfield must also close spaces to prevent Lewandowski from dropping deep and linking up play.
A clash between Barcelona and Bayern Munich never fails to live up to expectations. There is always drama, world-class moments and most importantly, goals. With a host of stars on the show on either side, this promises to be a highly entertaining affair.
Barcelona might downplay it, but revenge would be on their mind following the 8-2 reverse in their last meeting. They know that they don’t have a Lionel Messi to carry their attack. Barcelona must rely on teamwork and shouldn’t let their guard down for 90 minutes.
Bayern meanwhile smells blood in Barcelona’s makeshift backline. They would look to score early to set the tempo of the match and build on it.
FootTheBall predicts a 3-1 victory to Bayern Munich as their attacking flair becomes too much to handle for Barcelona.