Introducing Bayern's Champions League opponents Barcelona
FC Bayern host FC Barcelona in their first home match of the 2022/23 Champions League on Tuesday night (21:00 CEST) - fcbayern.com introduces the Spanish giants.
"Only football writes these stories," said Hasan Salihamidžić following the Champions League group draw in late August, when Bayern were paired with none other than Barcelona. Because of Robert Lewandowski's move to the Catalans, the board member for sport was in close contact with the La Liga runners-up over the summer. The memories from last year's two group encounters, both of which Bayern won 3-0, were also still fresh. "We're all particularly looking forward to the reunion with Robert Lewandowski," agreed CEO Oliver Kahn.
Bayern clearly in front in head-to-head
However, Bayern fans have even more fond memories of Barcelona than the two matches last year. The evening of 14 August 2020 is likely to be at the top of the list: on the way to the 2020 Champions League title, the German record champions reached the semi-finals of Europe's premier club competition thanks to a magnificent 8-2 victory over the Catalans - a night that no one will forget in a hurry. But the overall record of the two rivals should also put a smile on the faces of the Munich supporters. The teams have met in a total of 13 competitive matches, with Bayern winning nine of them, two ending in draws and Barcelona prevailing twice. In their first meeting with the Spaniards, Bayern secured a place in the 1996 UEFA Cup final, and the first leg (4-0) and second leg (3-0) of the 2013 Champions League semi-final are also particularly memorable.
Great history and a season to forget
Seeing arch-rivals Real Madrid win the La Liga title by 13 points was not the only sporting blow for Barcelona last season. In the Champions League, they were knocked out in the group stage after finishing behind Bayern and Benfica. Things didn't go much better in the Europa League, where Xavi's side were beaten in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt. The start to the new campaign has gone better, with Barça collecting 13 points from the first five league matches. They warmed up for the visit to Munich with a comfortable 4-0 victory at Cádiz, although the game was overshadowed by a medical emergency in the stands, which held up play for almost an hour. In the Champions League, they started with a 5-1 drubbing of Viktoria Plzeň.
In the years before, Barça had long held the supremacy in La Liga, becoming champions five times between 2013 and 2019 alone and were always among the contenders for the Champions League crown. Barcelona have already lifted the famous trophy five times and this is the 27th time that the European heavyweights have taken part in the competition - only Real Madrid have made more appearances. The club's great history is also reflected in the world-famous Camp Nou: the Catalan stadium seats almost 97,000 spectators, is one of the cathedrals of European football and has been the scene of numerous great successes. Barcelona are the only team besides Bayern (2013, 2020) to have won the treble of league, cup and Champions League twice (2009, 2015) as well as all six possible major titles within one year. Barça achieved this in 2009 under Pep Guardiola, Bayern from 2020 to 2021 under Hansi Flick.
Lewandowski tasked with firing Barça back to glory
It's no surprise to anyone that Lewandowski is just as prolific in front of goal in his new surroundings. The Pole has netted nine times in his first six games for the Barça. The two-time Best FIFA Men's Player was undoubtedly the marquee signing of the summer for the Catalans, who added some other high-profile names to their squad in the form of Raphinha from Leeds United, Jules Koundé from Sevilla and Andreas Christensen from Chelsea. As well as experienced campaigners like Marc-André ter Stegen, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets - who have all won the Champions League before – there are also several young, talented players in the squad such as Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Ousmane Dembélé and Ansu Fati. With their new-look squad, Barça are aiming to challenge for silverware again this season.
From Barça to Bayern and vice versa
Pep Guardiola, Thiago, Philippe Coutinho, Udo Lattek, Mark van Bommel, Mark Hughes, Arturo Vidal, Louis van Gaal, Patrick Andersson - and now Lewandowski: the list of players and coaches who have been at both Bayern and Barcelona in their career is long. The first direct transfer between the two clubs took place in 1987, when Bayern signed striker Hughes on loan. Thiago (2013), Coutinho (2019) on loan and the combative van Bommel (2006) also moved from Catalonia to the Bavarian capital. Before Lewandowski, only Vidal (2018) and Andersson (2001) had made the move in the opposite direction. When it comes to coaches, there are also some big names who have occupied both dugouts in Lattek, van Gaal and Guardiola.
We've looked back at Bayern's previous encounters with Barcelona: