The second matchday of the Champions League sees Fc Barcelona pitted against Bayern Munich in a matchup that many fans of the two teams are beginning to grow weary of. Xavi has to deploy his best possible Line-up against the Bavarians to put on a show at the Allianz Arena.
Date: Tuesday, September 13th, 2022
Competition: Uefa Champions League
Match Day: 02
Venue: Allianz Arena
Time: 09:00 pm Central European Time (Barcelona)
For the 4th time in three years, the two teams face off in this competition, the most notable of these fixtures being the 8-2 loss which prompted the large-scale overhaul of the Blaugrana over the past two years. Regardless of recent history, Barcelona fans have hope. The team has shown great promise since Xavi’s arrival as a coach and the recent reinforcements on the pitch have many neutrals favoring the Catalans in this tie.
2020. August 14. A day that will be known as a day of grief for the supporters of the Garnet and Blue, as the team suffered a historic 8-2 defeat from Bayern. However, as strange as it might seem, somehow this tragic night in Lisbon could have initiated a rebuilding process, which resulted in this current team, with a young, ambitious manager on the board and a quality squad filled with talent and experience.
Xavi’s arrival brought back hope to Camp Nou, but his presence was not enough yet to prevent Barca from another 3-0 defeat from their Bavarian kryptonites last December. However, this summer he has got all the tools to complement his ideas with world-class players like Jules Koundé, Raphinha, and the biggest of them all, Robert Lewandowski.
Beyond dispute, the return of the Polish marksman to the Allianz Arena will be the spiciest individual narrative of the game, as he is set to step on the pitch of Allianz Arena for the first time following his summer switch to the Catalans. And, it’s safe to say he continued everything where he left off: the 34-year-old star kicked off the new season with successive stellar performances, and nothing indicates that he will slow down soon.
His clinical finishing will be key in the success of the Blaugrana, in order to convert their chances into goals as well as disrupting the defensive structure of Bayern with his movement and link-up. As how we could see this and last season as well, their defense is not unshakeable, especially when the immense pressing is outplayed and they are left exposed to counters.
This is where our intensive high counter-pressing can be for good use, a point to break through the seemingly impenetrable shield of Nagelsmann’s machine. Fortunately, with the likes of Torres, Fati, Dembélé, and Raphinha all available, Xavi has the luxury to choose which attackers to play, according to the perspective he approaches the game.
However, Bayern’s main strength does not lie in the defensive but in their monstrous attacking section. Gnabry, Sané, Musiala, Müller, Coman, Mané… these players provide a terrific force in the hands of Nagelsmann, plus, their versatile and flexible attacking profiles increase fluidity and unpredictability around the opposition box.
Nevertheless, it will be a huge test for Xavi and his new-look team, and by no means an easy objective against possibly one of the best sides in Europe. However, no matter the level of difficulty, the name of Barcelona should be served with 100% perseverance and dedication. Motivated by past failures, the team will surely seek revenge on this monstrous giant of Bayern München.
Potential Line up:
Alejandro Balde is likely to be given the keys alongside Ronald Araújo, Eric Garcia, and Jules Kounde at the back. The aforementioned backline promises astute build-up play and ample defensive diligence, especially following their recent run of games.
In midfield, Busquets, Pedri, and Gavi appear to be mainstays with Busquets controlling proceedings from the base of midfield, and Gavi and Pedri complementing their strengths to ensure constant pressure and creativity.
Up front, Raphinha, Lewandowski, and Dembélé will be tasked to feast in the final third; the trio has proven to be a major success in previous outings, with Dembélé and Raphinha particularly rotating incessantly, while Lewandowski imposes himself centrally. All three seem to be arriving in great form with no shortage of goals, which exude optimism.
Goal Keeper: Ter Stagen
Defenders: Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde
Midfielders: Pedri, Busquets, Gavi
Forwards: Dembele, Lewandowski, Raphinha