It’s arguably the tie of the Champions League quarter finals, and Barcelona v Bayern is the only one which features two former winners of the trophy.
All the other six remaining teams have never had their hands on the cup with the big ears, so in some respects the experience of the two FCB’s benefits them enormously.
However, only one can go through and, on current form at least, the Bavarians will be expected to waltz into the final four.That doesn’t take into account certain factors of course. Namely…
As we saw against Napoli in the last round, Lionel Messi can even be almost lying down in the penalty area but still find a way in which to score a goal from an impossible angle.
As with almost every season since he has played, the Argentinian continues to take the premier European competition with the utmost seriousness, he just needs to ensure that he can drag his team-mates along with him.
If the Catalans are able to withstand what’s expected to be an all-out Bayern assault, then Messi still has it in him to be the match-winner.
The Bundesliga champions really have come into their own in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign, winning 23 and drawing one of their last 24 in all competitions, conceding just 17 times. They haven’t lost in 2020 yet either
It’s an incredibly consistent record and one that Barca will find hard to puncture.
Bayern defend from the front with Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller et al, all doing their bit to ensure that any pressure on their defence is fleeting.
More often than not the wing-backs are able to get forward with aplomb asa result, providing supplementary attacking assistance just when it’s required.
A meeting of old friends
Intriguingly, this quarter-final battle sees some familiar faces doing battle against their old clubs.
Arturo Vidal is reunited with his Bayern team-mates, and as long as Quique Setien plays him in this game, we can expect as fiery and competitive a Vidal performance as ever.
The question mark will be whether the Chilean is too ‘wired’ and will therefore not be as efficient as he otherwise could be.
Philippe Coutinho is still employed by Barcelona but it seems to be only a matter of time before the Brazilian departs to somewhere else on another season-long loan.
What price his parting gift to Barca is that he helps to knock them out?
Not forgetting that Thiago Alcantara will once again face the club he left a number of years ago. The scars from 2015′s elimination still won’t have gone away, so he’s another with a score to settle.