Champions League match preview: Barcelona vs Bayern Munich. All the latest news and information ahead of the Champions League quarter-final clash.
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich Preview
The only two previous winners of either the Champions League or European Cup still left in this year’s competition are Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Both have been crowned champions of Europe five times. They face off at the Estadio da Luz in Friday’s hotly-anticipated quarter-final.
Barcelona started off well in this season’s Champions League, topping a group that contained Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan without losing a game.
However, with unrest brewing at the Camp Nou and league performances dipping the club dismissed head coach Ernesto Valverde in January, despite having won back-to-back La Liga titles.
New boss Quique Setién was supposed to instil a more fluid style of play but his reign has struggled to get going and a disappointing defeat to Osasuna in July saw Real Madrid crowned Spanish champions.
Most worryingly for Setién, Lionel Messi used his post-match interview to criticise the team. He branded the side as “inconsistent” and “weak”.
The club captain said that performances since January had been particularly poor, which many took as a pointed barb at Setien who had never previously coached in the Champions League.
Messi has cut an increasingly frustrated figure this season. He seems desperate to add a fifth Champions League winners’ medal to his collection.
Although it seems a strange thing to say of a player who has contributed 57 goals this season (31 goals and 26 assists), at 33 the Argentinian’s best days are surely drawing to a close and he does not have the support around him that he once had.
Barcelona have looked particularly shaky in defence this season and conceded 38 goals in as many La Liga games, more than eighth-placed Getafe.
After a disappointing 1-1 draw with Napoli in the first leg of the last-16 tie Barcelona were able to show their class with a 3-1 win in the second leg last week, thanks to a goal and an assist from their talisman.
However, with a trophy-less season looming, rumours suggest that defeat to Bayern Munich on Friday could be the final nail in the coffin for Setién.
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: Injuries and Suspensions
Barcelona were without midfielders Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal for their second leg match against Napoli. But both should be available for selection against Bayern, with the former very likely to start.
Samuel Umtiti has definitely been ruled out due to a knee injury. While Ousmane Dembele faces a race against time to be fit enough for a place on the bench.
Martin Braithwaite was left out of Setién’s Champions League squad list so will not feature.
Bayern Munich have been boosted by the return to training of Kingsley Coman and Jerome Boateng, who both missed last weekend’s win over Chelsea.
Boateng will almost certainly return to the heart of the defence alongside David Alaba. Coman will compete with Ivan Perisic for a place on the left of Bayern’s attack.
Benjamin Pavard is out of this game due to a ligament injury. But Bayern hope to have him fit to play some part in their Champions League campaign, should they progress past Barca.
Barcelona Predicted XI vs Bayern Munich
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, De Jong, Griezmann; Suarez, Messi
Bayern Munich Predicted XI vs Barcelona
Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Thiago, Goretzka; Coman, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski
Credit: AS English