Created on 2021-12-07 at 20:55 PM
Will FC Bayern make it a perfect group stage in the Champions League? Head coach Julian Nagelsmann and his team welcome Barcelona to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening for the final group stage match (live text and webradio commentary from 3:00 PM EST on fcbayern.com). While Bayern have already secured their place in the last 16 as group winners, Barça are still fighting to qualify and need a win. Find out everything you need to know about the match against the Catalans in our preview.
Enjoy the best images from Bayern's final day of preparation before the clash with Barça in our gallery:
The situation for FC Bayern
Five games, five wins and a 19:3 goal difference. FC Bayern have enjoyed a blistering Champions League campaign so far. The Munich side will be looking for a home win against Barcelona to wrap up the group stage with the maximum 18 points for the second time since 2019/20. "It's a very worthwhile goal to finish the group with six wins. It was fundamentally important to progress," said Nagelsmann in his press conference on Tuesday. The 2-1 win at Dynamo Kyiv in November already meant the Bavarians will end the stage in top spot in the group. The German record champions boosted their confidence in a thrilling Bundesliga clash against Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, celebrating a 3-2 away win and extending their lead at the top of the table to four points.
Bayern and Barcelona have already met twelve times in Europe:
The opponents: Barcelona
Barcelona will be under pressure against Bayern. The Catalans may be in second place in Group E on seven points, but Benfica are in third on five points, just waiting to pounce on any mistakes from the Spanish cup winners. Moreover, the Portuguese have the advantage in the head-to-head comparison with Barça. So if Benfica win their home match against Kyiv which kicks off simultaneously on Wednesday evening, Barcelona will have to win in Munich to qualify for the last 16. Former midfielder Xavier Hernández took over the reins at Barcelona at the beginning of November. "They haven't had that many training sessions together. They're now defending more actively and higher up the pitch than before. The counter-pressing is also more like it was in his playing days under Pep [Guardiola], bold and with a lot of players," said Nagelsmann, describing the biggest differences since the Catalans' change of coach. "They're still one of the biggest clubs in the world with world-class players in their line-up. They're under pressure in terms of the group positions and will give it everything. That'll be good for the game," the boss added.
Barcelona are currently lying seventh in La Liga, and lost the dress rehearsal for the match with Bayern against Real Betis on Saturday
Team news for Bayern vs. Barcelona
FC Bayern will still be without Joshua Kimmich (tested positive for COVID-19), Marcel Sabitzer (calf muscle injury) and Josip Stanišić (left thigh muscle tear) for the home match against Barcelona. In addition, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (after testing positive for COVID-19), Serge Gnabry (problems in the groin area), Michaël Cuisance (capsule injury) and Leon Goretzka, who had to drop out of training on Tuesday, will not be fit in time for the match. Bouna Sarr, on the other hand, is back in training following a muscular injury to the groin.
Sergio Agüero (heart problems), Pedri, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati (all muscular injuries) and Martin Braithwaite (knee injury) will all be missing for Barcelona against Bayern.
What the coaches say
Julian Nagelsmann: "It'll be an important game, we have to compensate for a few absences. We also want to maintain the level and rhythm for the Bundesliga because we still have three important games we want to be successful in. The Champions League is always something special."
Xavier Hernández: "We'll need a perfect game to win here in Munich. The players are happy and motivated, and can't wait to play. We have one of the toughest rivals you can have at the moment. Bayern are one of the best teams in the world. But it's down to us. If we win, we qualify. We have to throw everything we have at them. I told the players the pressure is on me and they should play with freedom. It's never been easy against Bayern in the last few years, but that's in the past. We want to give it everything we have."
Team news, tactics and more: Watch the pre-match press conference with Julian Nagelsmann and Kingsley Coman before the game against Barcelona again (with English translation) here:
The referee: Ovidiu Hațegan
Ovidiu Hațegan will take charge of Wednesday night's clash. The Romanian has already refereed four Champions League matches involving FC Bayern, all four of which the men from Munich won emphatically - most recently the 4-0 win over Benfica in the third group match. He'll be assisted by his compatriots Mircea Mihail Grigoriu and Sebastian Gheorghe, with Andrei Chivulete as the fourth official. Paolo Valeri from Italy and Jérôme Brisard from France will be responsible for VAR.
If you want to know more about the game against Barcelona, check out our facts and stats: