Barcelona are set to take on Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Perhaps the most anticipated game of the Champions League quarter-finals is the one pitting Barcelona against Bayern Munich. It is the only match featuring two teams who have won the competition before.
Given the state of the two clubs heading into the game, it is unsurprising that Bayern Munich are feeling a little more confident about their chances. They’ve certainly got their digs in at the Catalan side.
“Bayern will have to make a lot of mistakes to lose to this Barcelona, today’s Barcelona isn’t the same as it was before,” said Lothar Mattthaus.
“Right now, Lewandowski is better than Messi,” the Brazilian said. “I love what Messi does and how he plays, he’s been a top player for years, a genius, but Lewandowski’s given a recital this year.
Those comments, along with Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge essentially saying Marc-Andre ter Stegen is not at the level of Manuel Neuer, have not gone unnoticed.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Barcelona players have taken note of those comments and are using it as motivation ahead of their clash. They want to prove that they are no pushovers and are going to make life difficult for the Bavarian side.
While the words may not sit well with Barcelona, the fact of the matter is that Bayern are favorites for a reason. Having already won two domestic trophies, the Champions League is the final trophy they need to complete a treble.
Matthaus is right that Bayern are going to need to make mistakes to lose to this Barcelona side. Despite winning 3-1 against Napoli, the Catalans were outplayed in large stretches of that match. The difference is that they have Messi on their team who is their “get out of jail free” card.
At this moment in time, Bayern are simply a better team than Barcelona. The supporting cast around Lewandowski is better than the one Messi has. If the Polish striker is off his game then others will step up.
Finding other players to step up is something Quique Setien has been trying to find since he took over. So far, he’s yet to find someone or a system that can facilitate that.
If Barcelona believe Bayern’s confidence is bordering on arrogance, what they need to do is focus on their preparation and hope that some of the holes on their team are tapered up well enough in time for the match.
The best response is to win the game, progress to the semifinal and be the team who ended Bayern’s treble hopes. They need to let the performance on the pitch do their talking.