The draw for the next round of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League took place yesterday in Switzerland and it was revealed that Bayern Munich will play either SSC Napoli or Barcelona in the quarter finals if they finish the job against Chelsea. Napoli and Barcelona are 1-1 on aggregate from their first leg at the Stadio San Paolo before the coronavirus lock down and Bayern are 3-0 up on Chelsea after bossing them at Stamford Bridge.
Bayern has a history with both Barcelona and Napoli in the Champions League, having played them both a handful of times at different stages of the competition within the past decade. On paper, Napoli would be the easier opponents for Bayern, but Die Roten are in sensational form under Hansi Flick.
After seeing the draw results, the majority of Bayern’s players and staff remain focused on finishing the job against Chelsea and taking a game-by-game approach to the rest of their campaign (FCBayern.com). Club president Herbert Hainer set the tone for how everyone at FC Bayern is feeling towards their next steps in the competition: “We’ll take things step by step, and our next task before any other is Chelsea. This fixture is one where we must be totally focussed. Coach Hansi Flick’s side have played wonderful football over the past few months, and now it’s time to take that form into the game against Chelsea.”
Despite knowing that either Barcelona or Napoli will be Bayern’s opponents in the quarter-finals, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he isn’t even interested in talking about that stage of the competition yet: “I don’t want to comment on possible opponents in the quarter-finals today because we’re not there yet. The first thing we need to do now is let the team recuperate, prepare for the second leg of the round of 16 at the Allianz Arena against Chelsea and then move on from there. We should go step by step like we did in 2013, and we should do it calmly. Even I am already feeling too much euphoria after the double, in public. Now the focus is on Chelsea, then we’ll see. But of course, in the quarter-finals there will only be very strong opponents anyway.”
Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic echoed Hainer and Rummenigge, saying Chelsea is still a “hurdle” they have to clear: “I think we’d all do well to concentrate solely on our next task, which is Chelsea. That’s the hurdle we have to clear, only then will we deal with the teams that could come. The fact that the tasks won’t get any easier is clear anyway. For us, it’s now solely about Chelsea. We have to prepare for this game, confidently of course, but we certainly won’t underestimate them.”
Manuel Neuer reiterated the idea that his side are solely concentrated on taking a game-by-game approach, without looking ahead whatsoever: “The question of assessing possible next opponents in the Champions League doesn’t cross my mind at the moment because we still have to play the second leg against Chelsea in the last 16. We’re thinking game by game. That’s got us a long way this season. If we reach the quarter-finals, we’ll have to focus on the winners of Napoli against Barcelona.”
A player who’s been in brilliant form for the majority of this season, Thomas Muller has scored twice and assisted twice in the Champions League, but he’ll certainly be looking to add to that tally next month. In typical Muller fashion, the Raumdeuter said he’s leaving it to others to “count their chickens” following the draw: “First we’ve got to play against Chelsea, so I don’t want to say anything about a possible opponent in the quarter-finals or semi-finals at this stage, also out of respect for Chelsea. We’re not in Lisbon yet, nor are we going to meet Napoli or Barcelona yet. I prefer to let others count their chickens.”