The Champions League group stage draw takes place tomorrow, and Bayern Munich are one of the teams lined up to take part. Being in Pot 1 (reserved for the champions of the various leagues), the club is set to face one team from each of the remaining three pots, barring any teams from the same country.
This gives us the mouthwatering prospect of ties versus the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, and more. So, a few of us here at BFW decided to get together and pick our best and worst opponent for the UCL group stage — basically, the teams we want/don’t want. Here are the results:
Team I want: Manchester United
Man Utd are a supremely beatable team, but just good enough to post a decent challenge to Bayern Munich if they were to meet. Nagelsmann would be tested against United, which is something we want to see this early in the season.
They also have a huge global following and facing them down would bring the spotlight onto our club, which is something we always want to see. Honestly, after hearing EPL fanboys parrot on about the superiority of their league every season, it’s time Bayern faced another English team and put these losers in their place.
Team I don’t want: Paris Saint-Germain
They are just so BORING. PSG have stars, yes. But how many people care about them? I mean, REALLY care. Their online fan presence is minuscule — their subreddit is tiny, they don’t even have an SB Nation blog. Who cares when they play? And they play such cynical football for a big club, it’s not even enjoyable to watch. Plus, we’ve faced them so many times lately, all the mystique around the tie is gone.
No more PSG, please.
Team I want: Real Madrid
I don’t think this is an especially great Real Madrid side, but one that would make for a fun match-up. Carlo Ancelotti drilling heaters like it’s his job...Toni Kroos finding a way to both compliment and insult Bayern Munich in the same quote ahead of the match.
Team I don’t want: Paris Saint-Germain
It is too early for that big of a match-up. I mean, this could be legendary, but it just feels lie too much, too soon. The season is in diapers.
Team I want: Paris Saint-Germain
I want Bayern to be tested early on; it builds character. A test against a very strong squad in the Julian Nagelsmann era could show that the team is further along than we think or that the team has gaping weaknesses which Nagelsmann needs to address. Bayern was ruthlessly torn apart by PSG under Carlo Ancelotti which lead to the firing of the Italian. In 2009-10, Bayern beat Juventus, 1-4, in Turin to progress to the knockout rounds of the Champions League, eventually finishing finalist; that performance propelled them there along with special Arjen Robben goals against Fiorentina and of course, Manchester United. If Bayern gets embarrassed, so be it. At least, we will know what needs to be fixed ahead of the deeper rounds.
Team I don’t want: Real Madrid
A match up with Real Madrid should never occur in the group stages. I don’t think the football Gods will allow it either; if anything, if Bayern and Real Madrid should cross paths, it should be in the knockout rounds or in the final. Per UEFA’s club coefficients, they’re the two standout performers anyway.
Also, I just don’t want to cross paths with David Alaba so soon. It hurts too much to see him in a different jersey. Toni Kroos is another matter though. Either way, no Real Madrid for me, please!
Team I Want: Paris Saint-Germain
Alright hear me out on this one: if Bayern draw PSG in the group stages, that means they won’t really have to run into them until deep in the knockout stages once Bayern make it out. And sure, PSG are now the monsters and FCB doesn’t want to have to face the frontline of MnM’s or a backline with Sergio Ramos. But if you think about it, that team is going to need some time to gel together.
Neymar, Ramos, and Lionel Messi haven’t even made an appearance for PSG so far in Ligue 1 this season. Say Bayern draw PSG and they play our first game of the season against them. Everyone is going to be back from World Cup Qualifying. Guess who’s playing each other in the second game of WCQ on Sept 5? That’s right: Brazil and Argentina. Germany only have to play Liechtenstein and Armenia so maybe that’ll be to Bayern’s advantage. There are still so many moving pieces to PSG that need to be sorted out before the end of the transfer window in a few days. Do they sell Kylian Mbappe? If they do, who do they get to replace him? What I’m basically trying to say is the ground is still moving under PSG’s feet right now. It’s a team with an identity that is yet to be sorted after a massive summer. That’s going to need some effort, experimentation, and change in order to build something concrete. I’d rather see Bayern play them now when that’s still being worked on than later when it might be more solid.
Team I Don’t Want: Liverpool
In two EPL games, Liverpool have scored five and conceded none in two wins. Granted, they haven’t really been tested having only played Norwich City and Burnley. But, this weekend they have Chelsea which is shaping up to be a fantastic game. If Bayern draws the Reds, I’d be paying close attention to that game to see where their weaknesses lie. But having watched the Burnley game at the weekend, it’s tough to find any.
Virgil van Dijk is back and in strong form with the backline more solid than when they went through what seemed like a million injuries last year. Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane look as fast and clinical as ever. Even with Gini Wijnaldum gone to PSG the midfield looks relatively stable with Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita.
But arguably the biggest reason why I wouldn’t want to play them is the home field advantage. With Anfield back in full force, it would be a nightmare going into a final matchday needing all three points to secure top spot. I’d rather go with Juventus or Barcelona than them.