FC Bayern (2nd, 3pts) vs FC Barcelona (1st, 3pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Monday
Competition/Round: 2022-23 Champions League, Group C, Matchday 2
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: None
Bayern Outs & Doubts: Kingsley Coman, Bouna Sarr (out)
Date/Time: Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), BT Sport 4 (UK), SONY TEN 2 (India), Canal+ Sport 4 (Nigeria), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following a comfortable win over Cádiz to continue their unbeaten start to the La Liga season at the weekend, Barcelona return to action with a trip to Germany for the first major test of the campaign when they face Bayern Munich in Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stage at the Allianz Arena.
After a summer of huge investement in the squad, Xavi Hernández did an excellent job of rotating his best players in and out of the lineup over the last two games to get them as close to 100% for this one, and they are all are fit and ready to go just a few hours away from what is undoubtedly Barça’s toughest challenge so far.
The Blaugrana are flying high and scoring goals for fun, and their defense is stronger and more solid this season. But the Bayern defense is big, fast and physical, and their attack is about as devastating as it gets whether it comes from long sequences of possession or lightning quick counter-attacks that split defenses wide open.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side destroyed Barça in both games when these two sides met in last season’s group stage, and it was the defeat in Munich that sent the Blaugrana to the Europa League in one of the most depressing moments in club history. It’s truly remarkable how much things have changed for the Catalans in less than a year, and it’s undeniable that they arrive in Munich this time more than capable of putting up a real fight and maybe, just maybe, pulling off the upset.
Their biggest reason for hope is Robert Lewandowski, who left Bayern for Barça this summer and is the number one attraction in his first game against his former club. The Pole has been a perfect fit and cannot stop scoring for Barça, and the Blaugrana’s chances of getting a result on Tuesday night are directly related to Lewy’s ability to find the back of the net or use his presence in the box to set up his teammates for scoring opportunities.
Bayern deserve to be favorites even though they haven’t exactly set the world on fire in the Bundesliga so far this season, but their dominant win away to Inter Milan last week was a reminder of how good they still are. Barça will need to play at their very best to even have a chance, and any result that isn’t a defeat will be cause for celebration.
This will be all kinds of fun, and I really think Barça will prove they’re ready to compete with the continent’s best. Win, lose or draw.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Eric, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Raphinha
Bayern (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Upamecano, Hernández, Davies; Kimmich, Sabitzer; Sané, Müller, Musiala; Mané
The Law of the Ex is undefeated: a great player ALWAYS scores against his former club in a big game, and something tells me Lewandowski will have a huge night at the Allianz Arena one last time: 2-2 draw, a game for the ages, great performances from both teams, and a Lewy Double.