A look at Bayern's 2021/22 Champions League group opponents
Bayern have been handed an exciting group for this season's Champions League after the six-time European champions were drawn alongside five-time continental champions Barcelona of Spain, Portugal's record champions Benfica, and Ukrainian double winners Dynamo Kyiv in Group E. *fcbayern.com*takes a closer look at the teams Germany's most successful club will face in Europe between September and December...
Memories of the last encounter with the Catalan club are still pretty fresh in the minds of Bayern fans. How could they not be after the Bavarians thumped Barcelona 8-2 in the 2020 quarter-final just over a year ago as they took a big step towards winning the title. But it isn't just that historic encounter that means there is likely great respect in Barcelona for Germany's record champions, as Bayern have won six of the nine meetings to date (D1, L2). No team has beaten Barca more times in this competition than the Munich club. But such statistics are quickly forgotten in the Champions League. Barcelona will again be among the favourites for their record 26th participation in the competition, even though Ronald Koeman's team – third in La Liga last season – are going through a period of transition following the departure of Lionel Messi.
Benfica finished third in Portugal last season, meaning they had to go through the Champions League qualifiers. They got the better of PSV Eindhoven in the play-off round, but the Lisbon club are also no unknown for Bayern. FCB have an impressive record against the Eagles, remaining unbeaten in all 10 European Cup encounters (W7, D3). The last meeting was in the 2018/19 group stage when the Munich club won both games home (5-1) and away (2-0). One of the main men back then was Renato Sanches, who is one of a number of good young players to have come out of Benfica's academy. Jorge Jesus's team also contains 2016 Euro winner Rafa Silva, last season's Europa League top scorer Pizzi, and Belgium's most capped player Jan Vertonghen.
Dynamo are the second domestic champion in Group E alongside Bayern. Mircea Lucescu's team earned their first league title since 2016 last season, as well as winning the cup to claim the Ukrainian domestic double. The Kiev club's greatest success in the Champions League came some time ago, with the semi-finals their best performance, most recently in 1998/99 when they were in fact knocked out by Bayern. That being said, their European Cup record against FCB is quite balanced, with five Munich wins to four for Dynamo (D1). Kyiv's last victory in this fixture was in 2000 when they won 2-0 at home in the second group stage. The 16-time Ukrainian champions were also in the Champions League last season, finishing third in their group to drop down to the Europa League. They were knocked out there in the round of 16 by eventual champions Villarreal.
Reaction from the Bayern camp to the group-stage draw: