Barcelona and Bayern Munich are two of the most successful football clubs in the world. They have met each other on 18 occasions, with Bayern winning 8 times and Barcelona 7. This is a rivalry with a dramatic history, so what’s the real story behind this game?
The bayern munich vs barcelona is a rivalry that has been around for over 100 years. There’s more to the story than the result of the 8-2 game.
Last season, Bayern humiliated Barcelona in the Champions League, setting off a chain of events that culminated in Lionel Messi’s departure from the club. Will this week’s match offer more of the same, or will the Spanish giants be able to redeem themselves? Getty Images/MANU FERNANDEZ/POOL/AFP
Barcelona went a record 38 games without losing in the Champions League at home between May 2013 and early December 2020, a period of seven and a half years. They won 34, drew four, and scored 112 goals. Invincible form.
Barcelona’s Champions League home record in the nine months between December 2020 and the start of Tuesday’s match against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou was: played two, lost two, scored one, allowed seven. Unacceptable.
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Take that dreadful 7-1 aggregate loss to Juventus and PSG, and add in the fact that the previous time Catalunya’s FCB played Bavaria’s FCB, the Germans triumphed 8-2 — can you believe it was just a year ago? — you can see why it’s been difficult to persuade Barca’s season-ticket holders to attend what some think would be another humiliating loss.
The humiliation suffered by Hansi Flick’s squad had clear ramifications. Coach Quique Setien was fired, and he embarked on a multi-month quest to be paid for the remaining months of his contract. Lionel Messi wrote a registered delivery letter right immediately, saying that his contract enabled him to go for free and that he’d made the choice to quit Barcelona right then and there.
The club, which is mired in debt, lost out on at least €30 million in additional income by exiting the tournament in the quarterfinals — the sort of money that Barcelona has had to beg back from veteran players like Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets. Oh, and Josep Maria Bartomeu, the quixotic figure who may be regarded as the worst president in Camp Nou history — but who will always be able to point to the club’s 2015 Treble victory — immediately pushed Luis Suarez out the door, a shrewd, well-judged move that resulted in the Uruguayan repaying him with 21 goals and three assists for Atletico Madrid.
The fallout from that cataclysmic result did not mark the August 2020 match as something special in the history of these two FCB clubs going head-to-head. Bartomeu himself only lasted two more months as Barcelona president, but please don’t imagine that the fallout from that cataclysmic result marked the August 2020 match as something special in the history of these two FCB clubs going head-to-head. When Barcelona plays Bayern, the result has been nothing short of spectacular and momentous.
Barcelona defeated 2-1 at Camp Nou (4-3 on aggregate) in the 1996 UEFA Cup semifinal, and Johan Cruyff was fired as a consequence. The most significant individual in the club’s history lost his position as a result of Bayern’s elimination.
Barcelona’s chances of reaching the Champions League final, which was hosted at the Camp Nou to commemorate the Catalan club’s centennial, were snatched away by double losses to Bayern in the tense Champions League Group D in 1998-99. Party poopers, to say the least. Manchester United was also in Group D, and along with Bayern Munich, they qualified for the Camp Nou climax in May. We all know what occurred next; it was a difficult situation to witness for Barcelona’s players, management, and supporters.
Following that Bayern loss, Koeman was named Barcelona manager, and he now has to inspire his ailing team to rediscover some form. This week will put his mettle to the test. Getty Images/Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto
Isn’t that enough evidence that when these two play, the air smells like cordite and dynamite?
Barcelona beat Bayern 5-1 in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in Rome in 2009, on route to the Treble. On their route to the Treble in 2013, Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich piled up Barcelona’s then-record loss in Europe, winning 7-0 in two matches to end late Tito Vilanova’s lone season in command at Camp Nou. Two years later, Luis Enrique’s Messi-Suarez-Neymar squad beat Pep Guardiola’s German champs 5-3… on way to the Treble.
That leaves us, of course, with last August’s 10-goal thriller.
Bartomeu’s effort to salvage a once-dominant football operation following their record European loss to Bayern was to hire Ronald Koeman, who performed well in his first season. You can only picture the grimace and bone-chilling shudder that went through Barcelona’s representatives during this year’s Champions League group stage draw in Switzerland when the dreaded word “Bayern Munich” was spoken. It was likely how ocean-bound merchants felt as the approaching ship hoisted a skull-and-crossbones.
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“Revenge?” Koeman acknowledged at a news conference on Monday. We’re discussing happenings from a year ago. There were several guys that had a very bad night. We’ll keep the recollection of what occurred fresh in our minds. Perhaps we can alter the situation.
“We must be brave and attempt to inflict harm on Bayern. I have a good group of people working for me… good players.”
However, unless you’re a seasoned Koeman listener, you may have missed one of his words. He said, ” “We’re in excellent physical condition. The players who were with their international teams were able to relax [Barcelona’s weekend match with Sevilla was postponed]. The others have been putting in long hours of training: the squad is ready.”
There aren’t many people who don’t believe Bayern are favorites to win at Camp Nou and extend the devastating damage done by Juventus and PSG lately. And it’s no surprise: the German champs have relatively few problems to deal with. They’re a better-built, more powerful, and more used to winning bunch, and they’re not in this tournament simply to beat Barcelona again; rather, they’re hell-bent on winning it all.
Since that humiliation against the Bundesliga powers, Pique and his teammates have had a difficult year, and they’ll have to rally without Messi, who has been their hero in European tournaments. Getty Images/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/UEFA/
I had the opportunity to interview Koeman, the recently hired Barcelona manager, for UEFA’s Champions magazine not long after they last met, and I asked the Dutchman what he thought of the eight-goal loss (even as a spectator). “The main lesson for me is that if you don’t play as a team, you won’t win,” he told me in September 2020.
“To play against Bayern, you must have the greatest organization, since they are a very powerful squad with a lot of individual talents. But, first and foremost, the physical condition of Bayern’s squad was outstanding. They were also very well organized as a team. In comparison to Barcelona, there was a significant difference.”
Excellence in terms of both organization and physical appearance. The game’s secrets. In which case, as Barcelona sprint up the steps from the changing rooms to the field, through a lovely, peaceful little church, Tuesday’s game might be a case of “abandon hope all ye who come here.”
Since May, Marc Andre Ter Stegen has only played once. Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest have been absent from training in recent days, Gerard Pique has returned from injury, Pedri has returned from vacation, Martin Braithwaite is expected to be out for three or four months, and Philippe Coutinho (who scored twice for Bayern in that 8-2 thrashing while on loan from Barcelona) hasn’t played a full 90 minutes in nearly a year. Then there’s Luuk De Jong, who was a last-minute summer transfer window acquisition who hasn’t featured since an eight-minute Euro 2020 cameo for Holland against Austria in June.
And there’s no Messi this time, the guy who’s been dubbed “Barca’s Saviour” for years.
Few, if any, matches in history have had as much effect and significance as when these two clubs meet. The winner of this match has won the Treble three times before. More often than not, loss has ruined the loser’s career. The most important thing for Barca fans to understand is that the condition of the somewhat ragged and patched-up Camp Nou team will weigh strongly against their prospects of witnessing a against-the-odds home victory. Especially when contrasted to the gleaming, capable, aggressive, and confident winning-machine that is returning to town.
The bayern munich vs barcelona prediction is a rivalry that has been present for a while. It’s not just about the result, but also the history of this rivalry.
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