Barcelona will face their first major test of the 2022-23 season as they travel to the Allianz Arena to take on Bayern Munich on matchday two in the UEFA Champions League group stage. The Catalans registered a convincing 5-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in their Champions League opener while Bayern Munich won 2-0 against Inter Milan.
After failing to make it past the group stages of Europe’s elite competition last season, Xavi Hernandez’s men will be desperate to turn things around this time. They beat Cadiz 4-0 at the weekend and although the Bavarians are currently playing at a whole other level, Barca will hope to carry that momentum into the high-profile encounter.
Barcelona have lost their last three games against Bayern Munich in all competitions. But there is a good chance that they will exact revenge on Julian Nagelsmann’s side tonight. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five reasons why Barca will win against Bayern Munich.
#5 Xavi Hernandez’s record in big games
Xavi Hernandez has quite a commendable record in high-profile matchups since taking over as Barcelona’s head coach. Under his tutelage in the second half of the 2021-22 season, the Blaugrana defeated Real Madrid 4-0, Atletico Madrid 4-2, Napoli 5-3 (on agg.) and Sevilla 1-0.
This season, Barca have already beaten Sevilla 3-0 and have also managed to hold high-flying Manchester City to a 3-3 draw although it was in a friendly. Xavi seems to be able to motivate his players to produce the goods against top quality opposition.
If he can work that magic again, there is no reason why this formidable Barcelona team should struggle against the Bavarians.
#4 Barca have more options on the bench to make a difference
Bayern Munich will be without Kingsley Coman for the game against Barcelona due to injury. Meanwhile, the Catalans are at full strength and have one of the strongest squads in all of Europe. They have incredible depth and a great deal of quality on the bench.
Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha are expected to lead the attack for Xavi’s side. On the bench, they have players like Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Ferran Torres. They are all capable of winning matches on their own and that ought to worry the Bavarians.
The trio of Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi are expected to start in midfield. Xavi can call upon the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Franck Kessie and Pablo Torre if the need arises. Their defensive department is also well stacked and brimming with quality.
In short, Xavi has plenty of players on the bench he can rely on to make an impact.
#3 Bayern Munich are not in great form
Bayern Munich have got off to a rather slow start to the 2022-23 season by their own lofty standards. After six Bundesliga gameweeks, Nagelsmann’s side find themselves sitting third in the table with 12 points. They have won three matches and drawn three so far.
It is worth noting that they have only won two of their last five competitive matches across all competitions. After picking up a comfortable 2-0 win over Inter Milan last week, they were held to a 2-2 draw by VfB Stuttgart last weekend.
Simply put, the Bavarians are not at their imperious best and that ought to tilt the game in Barca’s favor.
#2 Barcelona have started the season strongly
Since being held to a goalless stalemate by Rayo Vallecano in their opening La Liga fixture this season, Barca have won all five of their games across competitions. All of those have been resounding wins as well. They beat Real Sociedad 4-1, Valladolid 4-0, Sevilla 3-0, Viktoria Plzen 5-1 and Cadiz 4-0.
The Catalans have shored up their defense and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been in good form as well. They have kept four clean sheets in six games across La Liga and the Champions League so far this season.
They have the wind in their sails as they travel to take on Bayern Munich in enemy territory. All the momentum they have gained in recent weeks has to count for something as they seek revenge on the Bavarians for their embarrassing defeats from the last two seasons.
#1 The Robert Lewandowski factor
When Bayern Munich beat Barcelona twice in the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League by the same 3-0 scoreline, it was Robert Lewandowski who spearheaded their attack. He bagged a brace in Bayern’s first 3-0 win over Barcelona last term.
The tables have turned this season as Lewandowski switched sides in the summer. He is Barcelona’s most in-form player right now, having scored nine goals and provided two assists in six appearances across all competitions so far this term.
Lewandowski has been a great signing for Barcelona and his presence in the attacking third could make the difference for them.