One hour until kickoff: Didn’t know Julian Nagelsmann was the merciful type. Thomas Muller the Barca-slayer will not start for Bayern Munich in this one, with Serge Gnabry preferred instead. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting gets a start, while Noussair Mazraoui and Sadio Mane return to the starting XI. Decent lineup overall, but can it win against Xavi’s Barcelona?
You know, no matter how many times Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona face each other in the Champions League, it’s a massive game. We don’t yet know how much will be at stake for this one, but it doesn’t change a thing. Both teams will be stepping on the pitch to win. It’s about pride.
Julian Nagelsmann will be missing his heroes from the first leg. Goalscorers Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane are both ruled out with muscle injuries, while captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has a shoulder problem that’s caused him to stay behind in Munich. The onus, therefore, will be on the likes of Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, and the in-form Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to pick up the slack.
Barca, meanwhile, will have revenge on their minds. Robert Lewandowski didn’t score in the first leg, a mistake he’ll be looking to rectify. Xavi probably won’t make the mistake of starting Marcos Alonso and Sergio Busquets again, opting for the younger and more dynamic Alejandro Balde and Frenkie de Jong.
It’s a big game even if the stakes are uneven. Both sides will give it their all.
It’s Bayern time.