Created on 13-09-2021 at 21:30 PM
There is probably no such thing as an easy opening match in Europe's premier club competition but this opponent on matchday one in the Champions League is another tough challenge for FC Bayern: On Tuesday night (from 21.00 CEST with the live ticker and free web radio at fcbayern.com), the German record champions meet five-time Champions League winners Barcelona – this preview provides full information on the crunch start at the Camp Nou:
Bayern prepared for the clash at Barca on Monday: Here are the best photos:
The situation for FC Bayern
The excited anticipation ahead of the clash in Barcelona was clear to see on Manuel Neuer's face: "It's a crunch match as an opener," declared the 35-year-old at the pre-match press conference and he admitted he expected "a tight game" at the Camp Nou. Following five wins in succession, he and his teammates are full of confidence for the start of the new Champions League campaign. They will be looking to carry on in Barcelona: "We’re still at the start of the season. It's clear, that we were well organised and defended aggressively high up the pitch against Leipzig. The important thing is that we communicate a lot and put all the important things we've practised on the training ground into effect on the pitch," added Neuer.
But the current form of Bayern is not a pointer for Tuesday night according to Julian Nagelsmann. "Being the favourites or not the favourites is always more of a subject for the media. Two world class clubs face each other. The result will be decided on the one hand by the form on the day, and the other by motivation. And that will be extremely high with us," promised the coach ahead of his Champions League premiere with FC Bayern.
Birthday boy Thomas Müller shared his views on the opponents ahead of the game against Barcelona:
The opponents: Barcelona
Last season's third-placed team in the Primera Division are probably more difficult to predict this season than in a long time: The Catalonians have lost their talisman of recent years Leonardo Messi – the six-time World Player of the Year was the prime figure in the most successful era in Barça's club history. "Over the last ten years, their game has very much been built around Messi. He was both the creator and finisher" explained Thomas Müller who knows the Blaugrana inside out. He has scored six goals in five meetings in the Champions League – and that is more than anybody else against Barcelona in this competition.
The 32-year-old therefore again sounded a warning about the opponents: "When you look at the players who are still in the Barcelona squad then you know we will face a really good team." FCB captain Neuer shared that view: "Barcelona will never be weak." And, on the other side, there is awareness of their own strengths. "We have great players with a lot of technical ability who can cause Bayern problems," said coach Ronald Koeman who won the European Cup as a player with Barça (1992): The Catalonians have definitely made a decent start to the season with seven points from the first three games in La Liga – Barcelona were able to rest at the weekend as the match against Sevilla was postponed due to a crowded fixture list after the international break.
We profile the opening opponents for Bayern in detail:
Team news for FC Barcelona vs. FC Bayern
Bayern travel to Barcelona with an almost full squad. With the exception of Corentin Tolisso, who was only able to complete an individual session on Monday morning due to muscular problems in his calf, Nagelsmann is not missing any other players and he took a 25-man squad to Spain. "With the exception of Coco, we have a full complement for Barcelona," revealed the 34-year-old coach who refused to commit himself on the possible appearance of Serge Gnabry who was substituted on Saturday due to back problems. "We'll have to make a late decision on that one," said Nagelsmann. In addition, Kingsley Coman is not an option for the starting eleven.
Barcelona coach Koeman has particular problems up front. According to UEFA information, Ousmane Dembélé, Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite plus major new signing Sergio Agüero are all sidelined. Also in doubt are the injured defenders Sergiño Dest and Jordi Alba.
Bayern can defend their record run of opening fixtures in the Champions League:
What the coaches say
Julian Nagelsmann: "Barcelona definitely don't have the extravagance of a Messi any more. But they also have other players who can play a very important role if you take Frenkie de Jong and Pedri for example. We are ready for anything. I don't believe they are much weaker. The future will show if they are any better. But we definitely want to take three points."
Ronald Koeman (Barcelona coach): "We know very well that Bayern are a team with a lot of experience and great individual quality. It will be a difficult game but we are looking forward to being able to show what we can do in the Champions League. We're at home and we'll try to achieve the best possible result."
Here are the most important statements from the press conferences:
Opener again under Michael Oliver
Is it a good omen? As with last season, referee Michael Oliver is in charge of the opening match for Bayern. The Reds secured a convincing 4-0 win against Atlético Madrid. The 36-year-old Englishman also refereed the German record champions in the 3-1 win at Beşiktaş in the Round of 16 in 2017/18. Oliver will be assisted by his fellow countrymen Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett. The fourth official is Darren England. The VAR assistants are Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney.
Key facts & figures on the game in Barcelona: