Could there be a ‘miracle’ in Munich tonight?
The spanish side know that they will almost certainly need a victory in Germany to avoid elimination, and Xavi’s arrival has boosted their chances.
Still yet to be assured of a place in the Champions League knockout rounds, Barcelona face a huge task against Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s final Group E clash. The Blaugrana’s are heading into the jaws of Champions League death, but they won’t go down without a fight.
The Catalans sit two points above Benfica in second spot, but they have a worse head-to-head record and Benfica will certainly be confident of beating Dynamo Kiev, so Xavi’s side are at an alarming large risk of settling for Europa League football and failure to secure maximum points against Bayern will mean Barca will fail to advance from the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2000/2001 season.
Barcelona attacker Memphis Depay has said that Wednesday’s (today) Champions League match against Bayern Munich is “like a final” for the Catalan giants.
Financially, Barcelona are desperate to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League, with the club having budgeted to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
Elimination and entry into the Europa League would not only be a source of mirth for their rivals, but a blow to their hopes of reinforcing the squad either in January or next summer.
“The team is capable of going to Munich and winning,” said Xavi. “That’s the objective. It’s up to us. “We’re going to one of the toughest grounds in the world, but we’re going there to give everything we have, and to compete.”
“Beating Bayern is something that can be achieved,” President Laporta told AS in November. “There is going to be a miracle, I am convinced that we are going to win.”
But forward Thomas Muller has threatened the visitors that the game will not be taken lightly after the Ballon d’Or snub for his team-mate Robert Lewandowski.
Xavi will look at Augsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach’s victories over the German outfit which goes to show that Bayern are not unbeatable. The latter thrashed them 5-0 in the DFB-Pokal, and they have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight matches.
Both teams go into the fixture on the back of contrasting fortunes from the weekend, as Bayern beat rivals Dortmund 3-2 while Barca lost to Real Betis at the Nou Camp.
Meanwhile, Barca could find solace in the fact that Bayern might not be at full strength, as their squad has been hit by the deadly coronavirus in recent weeks.