Barcelona faces its Boogeyman in the Champions League opener
The Catalan club begins their Champions League quest against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
Barcelona vs Bayern
Barcelona has never struggled against any other teams like they do against Bayern. The Spanish club has lost 7 games against the Bavarian giants. The pain of the last defeat is still felt through the streets of Barcelona.
Bayern defeated Barcelona 8-2 in their quarter-final meeting at Lisbon in 2020. Since then, Barcelona has undergone numerous changes in the squad, losing the likes of Suarez, Rakitic, Griezmann, Arturo Vidal, and Lionel Messi. All the players played in that ill-fated humiliation.
This Barcelona side for most of its entirety is different from the one that played the match at Lisbon and the side is undergoing a transition.
The Spanish giant is not in a state to compete to win the Champions League. Captain Sergio Busquets and manager Ronaldo Koeman brilliantly evaded the questions about winning the European title by noting Chelsea as an example. Chelsea as all know was not a favorite to win the title, eventually did win it in 2021 after Tuchel took over.
The Catalan side has numerous injuries at the moment. Koeman cannot count on four of his forwards. Kun Aguero, Martin Braithwaite, Ansu Fati, and Ousmane Dembele are all out with injuries. Sergio Dest is unavailable in defense after suffering an ankle sprain on national duty with the USA. Meanwhile, Bayern can count on every squad member except Tolisso, who will not travel to Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Coutinho is expected to have his first minutes for Barcelona after a lengthy layoff from last year. With limited options upfront, Koeman is expected to revert to the 3-5-2 of last season. Statistically, the 3-5-2 is the successful formation for Barcelona last season. Mingueza is expected to step in the place of Dest in the right wing-back role. Jordi Alba is expected to start at Left-Back. Busquets, Pedri, and Frenkie De Jong are expected to start in midfield with Depay and Luuk De Jong starting as forwards. Memphis Depay has started his Barcelona career very well. The Dutch international has so far scored 2 goals and assisted once in three games so far. Meanwhile, Marc Andre Ter-Stegen is expected to start at goal.
Bayern is expected to play their default 4-2-3-1 shape. Manuel Neuer will start in goal. Pavard, Upamecano, Hernandez, and Davies are expected to start in defense. Alphonso Davies caused a lot of problems for Barcelona when they met last time. Goretzka and Kimmizh will start in the double pivot role. Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman are expected to start on wings. Since Serge Gnabry is still a doubt for this game. Lewandowski will start upfront with Muller playing behind him as the number 10.