It’s the final game week in UEFA Champions League GW6. Bayern vs Barcelona will be the most important game which will be played this game week in UCL. Barca vs Bayern has gotten a lot of attention since that Lisbon debacle. Both clubs on paper are considered as European giants but in reality, the story is completely different. The German giants Bayern have been the dominant force but Spanish giants have been into a mess lately. The fate of one team depends on this encounter result while one fate is already sealed.
Why to watch out for
This might seem like a one-sided encounter with Bayern winning it comfortably. But will that be the case?
FC Barcelona has a certain Xavi Hernandez coaching them this time around. Unlike previous coaches, he is a fairly new name to the coaching world, and the way he could approach this game would be highly unpredictable.
On top of that Bayern are expected to rotate heavily in this game. So, we can expect an even game this time around, at least on paper. It should be a thrilling encounter to witness and from a neutral point of view, one shouldn’t miss this one.
Team News and Build-up
Mia San Mia is cruising in the Champions League. They have been all clear, they have won all 5 out of 5 games so far. Bayern looks like a complete team. They have bagged 16 goals and conceded only 3-4 in CL so far. The home team coming back from a victory over their arch Rivalry Dortmund in their last week’s game week in Bundesliga.
When it comes to injuries and suspensions Bayern too has some concerns. Lucas Hernandez was subbed off injured so there are questions on his availability. In long-term absentees, Kimmich, Bono Sar, and Sabitzer will miss this clash. Bayern coach confirmed that Chupo Moting, Goretzka Gnabry too are ruled out. They will go with the strongest Eleven to back the words of Thomas Muller after what he said after Balloon Dor Ceremony. Or else they will heavy rotate the squad since their fate is already sealed in the Champions League (Qualified)
Défense : Pavard, Nianzou , Sule , Richards
CDM: Roca , Tolisso
Attack: Coman, Muller, Sane
With Bayern, you will get one thing for sure irrespective of which squad they play. They will be intense, high pressuring on possession loss and high defensive line. They will always try to have control over the game through ball possession. And Of course, you will get goals for sure.
Key Players for Bayern for this clash
The Bayern’s no. 9 has been in splendid form this season. He is the leading goal scorer in Europe’s top 5 leagues having scored a whopping 16 goals in 14 games this season. In the Champions League campaign, he has bagged 9 goals in 5 games this season. He has been the talisman for the home team for a good part of the last couple of years. Having narrowly missed out on the Ballon D’Or, he is leaving no stone unturned in this season and will again look to make his case against Barcelona by taking the side home in the last Champions League group stage game.
If Lewandowski has been scoring goals, the German forward has been providing assists continuously. Having 13 assists in the league and another 2 in the Champions League, he is the unbreakable link between defence and the final third for the hosts. He continuously changes his position and makes runs into the box too occasionally. His pre-match comments have already gathered a lot of media attention and as such he has an added responsibility on his shoulders to get the team over the line.
One of the most promising young talents currently in the world, he has a great opportunity to showcase his talent on the biggest stage against a not-so-convincing Barcelona side. The German attacking midfielder has already scored 2 goals and assisted 3 others in the league so far. He is not a guaranteed starter but he might get the nod to start this game and as such he will be looking to create a significant impact on the team’s performance. His speed and dribbling will be of massive utility against a Barcelona defence that has been leaking goals continuously.
- Bayern Munich has an excellent record against Barcelona and has won nine out of 14 matches played between the two teams, as opposed to the Catalans’ paltry three victories.
- Bayern Munich has scored an astonishing 14 goals in their last three games against Barcelona and has been fairly ruthless in this fixture.
- Bavarians is unbeaten in their last five home games against Barcelona in all competitions.
- If Barcelona suffers defeat this week, the 2021-22 Champions League campaign will be their worst in 23 years.
- Bayern Munich has scored five goals apiece in the two home games in the UEFA Champions League so far this season.
- Barcelona, on the other hand, has scored only four goals in their last eight Champions League matches.
- Thomas Muller has scored seven goals in six appearances against Barcelona and has been more prolific against the Catalans than any other player in the history of the Champions League.
- Barcelona’s 8-2 debacle against Bayern Munich in 2020 remains the worst defeat in the history of the club.
Team News and Line-up
Now coming on to Barca, the situation is quite simple for them it’s a must-win game. The Blaugrana are in a tight situation they need to get results in their favour anyhow if they aim to avoid group-stage elimination from the Champions League. It was exactly 21 Years back that Catalan giants were eliminated from this competition in the group stage itself.
Barcelona’s life under their new coach Xavi has been full of ups and downs. In some games, it looks like they have answers while in another they are flat. It seems Xavi is still experimenting and getting used to this set of players. When stakes are high, we see Barcelona come out with flying colours. Now the question is, Is this Barcelona capable of doing what past Barca teams achieved? The biggest problem for Blaugrana is the lack of goals and a prolific goal scorer. Not to mention but with talisman Leo Messi Barcelona was crashed by Bayern. Now without him, the task becomes, even more, harder. But hopefully, Xavi Hernandez and his team will come out all guns blazing.
Now coming to squad selection and absentees then it would not be wrong to say that Barcelona is blessed with injury concerns. Ansu Fati, Pedri, Martin Braithwaite, Aguero, and Roberto are out. While players like Dani Alaves, Abde, Ilias Akhomach cannot play as they are not registered in the UCL squad. The latest to join the injury list is young Gavi who got knock on his head was stretched off, reports suggest he is all fine is included in this matchday squad, it’s unlikely that he will not start.
Coming onto the line-up Barca will either go with their traditional 4-3-3 or considering opponents Xavi might prefer 3 at back formation with wingbacks pushing forward and providing the width. Now with 3 at the back, Xavi might choose to either go with 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1. Barca’s game plan will be to keep their vulnerable backline as secure as possible.
In goal, Ter Stegen will start along with Eric Garcia, Gerard Pique, and Ronald Araujo as 3 Centre-backs. Now if Xavi decides to go with 3-4-3 then either Oscar Mingueza or Dest will partner Jordi Alba in for that wing-back role. In midfield, Busquets and F. De Jong are a certainty. In attack Depay and Dembele will surely start now as third attacker Xavi might go for Dest as a winger and play Mingueza as wingback ensuring defence shield well enough with double protection on either wing.
GK: Ter Stegen
Défense: Dest, Araujo, Pique, Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba
Midfield: Sergio Busquets, F. De. Jong
Attack: Gavi/Demir, Depay, Dembele
Key Players for Barcelona in this Clash
1. Ronald Araujo
He has been Barcelona’s best defender. Araujo is quick and strong in defence. He is agile and has a strong aerial game. Araujo has been a goal threat for opponents, especially from Barca set pieces. Against Bayern, he has to play very crucially both defensive and also offensively if needed.
2. F. De Jong
The Dutchman has been crucial for Barca in their midfield. De Jong’s game improved a lot under Xavi. De Jong’s presence and his ability to take those runs from midfield can be a crucial deciding factor. He along with Busquets can control the game and dictate the tempo of the game in Barca’s favour.
He may not have scored the most amount of goals for Barca in any of the seasons gone by, his potential cannot be doubted by any means.
Out of all the players in the squad, if there’s someone who can change the game in an instant, it has to be Ousmane Dembele. With Bayern set to play an inexperienced Omar Richards on the left side of the defence, Dembele’s pace, two footed-ness and dribbling could turn out to be a nightmare for the young defender.
This match could be unexpectedly close unlike the previous two encounters between these two teams. Will Barca spring up a surprise result? Or will it be Bayern winning for the third time in a row against the Catalan giants?
Well, only time can answer that…
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