Just nine months on from last season’s final UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage game, when Bayern Munich condemned Barcelona to a first group stage exit from the tournament since 2000/01 (W3-0), Bayern will now seek to assert their dominance yet again.
The big storyline in this fixture is Robert Lewandowski’s swift return to the Allianz Arena following his move to Barça. Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann has already stated that he is looking forward to the reunion.
“I am looking forward to it, not so much as an opponent because he’s very dangerous, but as a person, I will be pleased to see him. I hope the fans will honor that, too, regardless of how things were with his departure. He is their most dangerous threat in front of goal,” added Nagelsmann.
Nagelsmann believes that the Poland striker can play at the top level for the next couple of seasons if he maintains his physical fitness. He also believes that the striker can hit forty goals this season.
The ten-time consecutive German champions could do with that Lewandowski magic again after suffering a stuttering start in Bundesliga action this season, as they are now on a run of three winless league games for only the third time in four years.
Despite those potential domestic worries, Bayern have won each of their last four UCL groups and 18 in total during the club’s history, just three shy of Barcelona’s competition record.
A blistering start to the La Liga season where they have earned four wins, a draw, and a commanding 5-1 win over Plzeň in the opening UCL game may have pushed the failures of last season to the back of Barcelona’s minds.
Barcelona’s opening day UCL win alone has already seen them more than double their paltry two-goal haul from last season’s edition. Yet, they will surely face a much tougher test in Bavaria, having never won an away H2H with two draws and four losses.
Daniel Ademiju Idowu