The cracker between the quarter-final matches of the Champions League is unmistakably the duel between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The Germans are the favorite of most football followers to reach the semi-finals, but beating a team that includes Lionel Messi is not easy.
The Catalans still had an eighth final match open. After a 1-1 draw at Napoli, the return against the Italians in Camp Nou was scheduled for last Saturday. After a series of matches in La Liga in which Barcelona did not really convince for a moment, there were here and there doubts about the chances of Lionel Messi and co to advance a round. In the match against Napoli, however, the level that coach Quique Setien’s team reached was high enough to achieve a good result. Mainly due to a good phase in the first half, the Italians were played to a 3-1 defeat. Frenkie de Jong celebrated a successful return to the starting eleven of Barcelona.
Naturally, Napoli does not have a bad team, but the task that Blaugrana will face on Friday evening is a lot tougher, although Antoine Griezmann was not depressed in the run-up to the match. “We have to make sure we are ready, whether it is a tough opponent or not,” said the French forward. “We start the game with a lot of enthusiasm and confidence.” Setien has little incentive to change many things in his starting elf. Sergio Busquets will of course return to the starting eleven, after he served a short suspension last Saturday. His return is normally at the expense of Ivan Rakitic.
Bayern Munich also had to play a return of the eighth finals. The German series champion had actually already done the job with Chelsea months ago, by winning no less than 0-3 in London. Last Saturday, the British were again defeated by a margin of three. Partly due to a Doppelpack from the strong playing Robert Lewandowski, Chelsea was defeated 4-1 in Munich. With the two hits, the Polish goalgetter brought his European subtotal to thirteen. Counting all competitions, Lewandowski has already scored 53 times this season.
Leon Goretzka spoke to the media on Tuesday. The midfielder was mainly asked about how the team intends to stop Messi, but Goretzka did not want to focus too much on the Argentinian. “This is the tenth question I have to answer about him,” said the German international. ‘But we know that Barcelona also has other star players; we will be well prepared for that.
Goretzka and his teammates can build on spectacularly good figures. In the calendar year 2020, Bayern only dropped points once, and that draw against RB Leipzig (0-0) was actually not even a bad result, given the German title fight. Bayern was also the last team to beat FC Barcelona in a European context at Camp Nou. In May 2013 Der FCB won 0-3 in Barcelona. Although there will of course not be an away match for Bayern on Friday, but a duel on neutral ground: the Estadio da Luz, in Lisbon, forms the backdrop for this top match.