La Blaugrana will face the challenge of Bayern München on Wednesday night in front of the Camp Nou faithful in pursuit of redemption as they do not have a snowball’s chance in hell of qualifying for the knockout stages.
As per reports, Xavi is planning to use the same tactical setup against Bayern which he used to achieve a compelling result against Athletic Bilbao. Xavi made some tactical tweaks in his setup that made his team suffocate the Basque side in every aspect of play, and take the well-deserved victory.
While it looked like a 4-4-2 on paper, it was quite a flexible setup, especially in the attacking section, where fluid rotations and constant interchanges resulted in a seamless concept, retaining a fixed number of players but giving them positional freedom in itself, in order to continuously combine and disrupt Bilbao’s defensive lines.
In the middle of the park, Xavi deployed a double pivot consisting of Frenkie de Jong and Busquets, and two attacking midfielders in Gavi and Pedri. Thus, the four-man managed to create numerical superiority against Bilbao’s midfield trio, helping advance the ball into the final third and overcome the pressing face with ease.
In possession, one of the pivots, typically de Jong, was able to drive the ball out of the defense, move higher and combine with either the attacking midfielders or the dropping forwards, while the other one stayed deeper and held his position.
Meanwhile, the attacking mids often pushed high into the frontline, Gavi into the right halfspace, between Lewandowski and Dembélé, and Pedri to the left wing, as an inverted, ‘false’ winger, which opened space for Baldé to make bursting runs into the space and provide another outlet, quasi as a 5th attacker, outnumbering the visitors’ 4-man defensive line.
Thanks to these tactical variations, we completely dismantled the Basques’ defense while also minimizing the chance to launch dangerous counterattacks with a suffocating, heavy counter-pressing, which caught the visitors surprised as Ernesto Valverde admitted in his post-match interview.
The same tactical setup with some tweaks can help Xavi’s team dominate against Bayern as well and keep the last spark of hope alive, and if we pull it off and Viktoria holds Inter back to a draw, which has a really slim chance to be honest, unless some unexpected turn, we will advance through the UCL knockouts. Not an easy task and the final say is not in our hands but never say never. Visca Barça.