Bayern against Barça – that’s the best pairing in the quarter-finals. They are the only Champions League winners in the field. And the winner of the previous three knockout round duels also won the title – Barcelona in 2009 and 2015, and Bayern celebrated in 2013.
The coach spoke of “optimal” days in the Algarve. The batteries are charged, the Bavarians feel ready for the first knockout round. “We know what chance we have. We’re just really excited to play the game,” said national player Leon Goretzka. The fact that the quarter-finals and semi-finals are also decided in just one game increases the appeal and risks, as the Munich pros witnessed as television viewers in the dramatic last-minute win of Paris against Atalanta Bergamo at the beginning of the tournament.
Much of the Flick Bayern is reminiscent of the triple Bayern seven years ago under Jupp Heynckes. 26 out of 27 games have been won since December 2019. There was only a 0-0 win against RB Leipzig in nine months. In Corona games without spectators, there were twelve wins in a row.
Nevertheless, Germany’s record player Thomas Müller warned of his 113th Champions League appearance: “Even if Barça had problems recently, anything can happen. You can also dump the series if you can’t get where you need to . “
Much depends on which offensive star gets the better day: Lewandowski or Messi? With 53 goals in 44 season games, the Pole is the ultimate guarantee of success. “For me he’s the best center forward in the world right now. He has everything, he plays with, scores goals and he works for the team,” said his former team-mate Mats Hummels at the Borussia Dortmund training camp.
But Barcelona has Messi, the often alien. To stop the little Argentine is a task that many teams have failed to accomplish. Also Bayern with Messi expert Pep Guardiola in the last duel so far in 2015, when Messi fooled the Munich defense twice in the 3-0 first leg and was able to overcome Manuel Neuer. Stop messi? “I think it only works as a collective,” replied Goretzka. The young Alphonso Davies is particularly challenged as a direct opponent when the adductor problems allow the Canadian to play.