FC Barcelona (3rd, 4pts) vs FC Bayern Munich (1st, 12pts)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 UEFA Champions League, Group C, Matchday 5
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Sergi Roberto, Memphis Depay (out)
Bayern Outs & Doubts: Manuel Neuer, Leroy Sané, Lucas Hernández, Bouna Sarr (out)
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), Not Available (Canada), BT Sport 5 (UK), Canal+ Sport 4 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following a dominant win over Athletic Bilbao at the weekend to continue their good run in La Liga, Barcelona return to European action for the final home game of the UEFA Champions League group stage when they welcome German champions and Group C leaders Bayern Munich to the Greatest Stadium on Earth on Wednesday night.
Because of Barça’s disaster against Inter Milan two weeks ago, this has essentially become a meaningless game and it will be officially meaningless if Inter beat Viktoria Plzen in the other game in Group C and clinch a place in the Round of 16. That match at San Siro kicks off two hours earlier, so Barça will already know their fate in Europe before kickoff against the Germans.
Barça seem destined for a second straight season in the Europa League, a huge disappointment after a summer of great signings and big optimism. Xavi Hernández is yet to pass a big test in continental play, and the two bad nights against Inter have cost the team in the worst way.
The Blaugrana come into this one with nothing to lose, especially if their elimination is already sealed. We don’t know if the result at San Siro will impact Xavi’s team selection and whether or not we’ll see a weaker side to preserve bodies for the big league match away to Valencia at the weekend, but regardless of which team is on the pitch the Catalans must show some improvement.
The two big wins over Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao helped bring some positivity back in the camp, and a third straight victory and a good performance against the mighty Bavarians would improve the mood even more as Barça look for a strong finish to the pre-World Cup calendar.
Bayern are virtually guaranteed to finish in first place and will officially clinch that position with a point at Camp Nou, so they still have something to play for in this one. Thomas Müller and Co. would love to officially send their former teammate Robert Lewandowski to the Europa League, so expect a strong team and a strong performance by the Germans.
It is hard to really, really care about this one since it will mean very little once Inter get the job done in the early kickoff, but maybe it will become a gigantic match if Plzen do the unthinkable. We don’t really know how much this one will matter, but it would be nice to see Barça beat Bayern for a change.
Let’s dance, I guess?
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Eric, Alonso, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Ferran
Bayern (4-2-4): Ulreich; Mazraoui, Upamecano, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Sabitzer; Gnabry, Müller, Musiala, Mané
Bayern don’t really need a result but will try to win this one anyway, and Barça will probably be eliminated when the game starts and have nothing to lose. I expect a fun game with loads of chances, and a strong performance from the home team to keep the good vibes going. And since Bayern won’t have Neuer, we might actually score: 3-2 to the good guys.