Start date: 15 Aug 2020 00:00
Venue: Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Referee: Damir Skomina, Slovenia
Incredibly, this is Barca’s 13th successive Champions League quarter-final – a competition record – but they have not won the European Cup since 2015, which is too long for a club of their ilk. The Catalan giants were incredibly knocked out by Liverpool in the semi-finals last season despite a 3-0 victory in the first leg and will be determined to go all the way to the final on this occasion.
There is certainly pressure on Barca as they probably need to win this season’s competition to make it a successful campaign. Indeed, they have relinquished control of the La Liga title to Real Madrid, and it would be fair to say that all is not well in the camp following a difficult domestic season.
Barca have only lost two of their last 31 Champions League games, though, and are unbeaten in their last six matches against German clubs since a second-leg defeat to Bayern in the semi-finals of the 2015 competition.
Quique Setien’s side were far from perfect against Napoli in the round of 16, but a 3-1 victory at Camp Nou saw them book their spot in the quarter-finals courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate success. Clement Lenglet and Luis Suarez were both on the scoresheet against the Italians, as was the excellent Lionel Messi.
Barca have actually won 14 of their previous 19 two-legged ties with German opposition, while they are one of only two previous winners left in this season’s competition, the other being Bayern.
The Spanish outfit’s overall record against Bayern is surprisingly poor, though, winning just two of their 10 previous encounters, suffering six defeats in the process, which is an indication of the size of the task facing the Catalan team despite all of the positives that they will bring into this match.
It remains to be seen whether Setien is still in charge of the club next season, but Barca’s recent form is strong, winning five of their last six matches in all competitions.
Bayern, as mentioned, breezed into the quarter-finals of the competition courtesy of a 7-1 aggregate victory over Chelsea. Indeed, a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge back in February was followed by a 4-1 home success on August 8, with Robert Lewandowski in stunning form once again.
Lewandowski has now scored 53 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions this season, including 13 in seven Champions League outings, and he will be looking to make the difference on Friday night.
Bayern were the only side to collect maximum points in this season’s group stage, meaning that they have won all eight of their Champions League fixtures this term, while they are unbeaten in their last 13 European games outside Munich, picking up 10 victories in the process.
Der FCB have not won the Champions League since 2013, though, and have lifted the trophy on just two occasions since 1976, which is somewhat of a surprise considering their stature.
Bayern have enjoyed more domestic success this season, though, winning a 30th Bundesliga title, in addition to a 20th German Cup, which are both competition records. They are unquestionably the outstanding team in German football but will be desperate to round off a brilliant campaign by landing the European Cup.
Last season’s round-of-16 loss to Liverpool was actually the first time that Bayern had failed to progress to the quarter-finals for seven years, and they will certainly be wary of the threat that Barca could provide.
Indeed, the German giants have lost five of their last six knockout ties with La Liga teams, including defeat to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the 2017-18 competition, while they have only won one of their last six matches against Spanish clubs, suffering three defeats in the process.
The winner of the mouthwatering quarter-final will face either Lyon or Manchester City in the semi-finals, and it should be a fascinating contest as two of Europe’s true powerhouses prepare to lock horns in Lisbon.
Barcelona Champions League form: WWWLWW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WDWWDW
Bayern Munich Champions League form: WWWWWW
Bayern Munich form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Current Barcelona squad is:
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite, Francisco Trincão
Midfielders: Philippe Coutinho, Frenkie de Jong, Ivan Rakitić, Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets, Riqui Puig, Rafinha Alcántara, Pedri, Alex Collado, Matheus Fernandes, Monchu, Ludovit Reis, Alejandro Orellana
Defenders: Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Nélson Semedo, Sergi Roberto, Clément Lenglet, Moussa Wagué, Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo, Ronald Araujo, Oriol Busquets, Chumi, Jorge Cuenca, Dani Morer, Oscar Mingueza
Goalkeepers: Marc-André ter Stegen, Neto, Iñaki Peña, Arnau Tenas.
Current Bayern München squad is:
Forwards: Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sané, Joshua Zirkzee, Sarpreet Singh, Oliver Batista Meier, Malik Tillman
Midfielders: Philippe Coutinho, Thomas Müller, Ivan Perišić, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcántara, Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka, Corentin Tolisso, Michaël Cuisance, Adrian Fein
Defenders: David Alaba, Alphonso Davies, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernández, Álvaro Odriozola, Jérôme Boateng, Niklas Süle, Javi Martínez, Tanguy Kouassi, Bright Arrey-Mbi
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Sven Ulreich, Alexander Nübel, Ron-Thorben Hoffmann.