The start of the Champions League is a pretty big deal for any coach. For Julian Nagelsmann and Ronald Koeman, it’ll be a test of their coaching mandate. neither Bayern Munich nor Barcelona can afford a disaster in their first group stage game — it’ll set the tone for the entire tournament. However, the definition of a “disaster” is rather different for the two FCBs, given their radically different situations right now.
Since this is the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE we don’t need to recap all the injuries both sides have. Let’s dive straight into Bayern’s potential lineup. Based on what Nagelsmann said in his press conference, Robert Lewandowski should be fit to start. Aside from the fact that Barca are spared the humiliation of facing Choupo-GOATing, it means we’ll be able to see Lewy up top with Thomas Muller, who happens to hold the record for most goals scored against Barcelona in the UCL.
For the wings, it’s looking really unlikely that Serge Gnabry will be fit to start, and Kingsley Coman definitely isn’t ready for a full 90. This means that we may see Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane start against Barca’s defense, mimicking the setup that downed Leipzig on Saturday. The only concern is fatigue — even with Barca reduced to backup fullbacks to some extent, Bayern’s wingers have a lot of mileage on them. Both coaches have to walk a fine line between rest and competitiveness with their lineup selection.
In midfield, despite the fact that Koeman might opt for a 3-5-2 formation, Julian Nagelsmann really has no other option but to go with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. Interestingly, Marcel Sabitzer was mentioned as a potential candidate to star tomorrow, but this may just be a case of the coach keeping his options open. Sabitzer’s debut against Leipzig was hardly stellar, and it might be too soon to send him out against the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Pedri.
The defense is a primary point of concern for the Bavarians, given that most expect Barca to abandon their usual Cruyffian philosophy for a defensive counterattacking formation. Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong are expected to start up top, and Nagelsmann will counter them with the pairing of Niklas Sule and Dayot Upamecano. Sule, who was partially rested against Leipzig, will be needed to battle de Jong’s physicality while Upa’s speed will be necessary to keep Depay at bay.
Meanwhile, on the flanks, Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard are the favorites to start. With Sergino Dest missing Barca’s final training session, we sadly won’t get to see a USA vs Canada battle on the wings, but Oscar Mingueza (who’s expected to take Dest’s place) may be a tougher defender for Davies to deal with.
In goal, Manuel Neuer will start as usual. He’ll want to start his Champions League campaign with a clean sheet. Here’s what that Bayern XI should look like:
Having just won a grueling game against RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich immediately travel to Spain to kick off their Champions League campaign against Barcelona. This is a very different Barca side from the one Bayern beat 8-2 last year. Leo Messi and Luis Suarez are no longer on the team, replaced by Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong (more on him later).
Here are our talking points ahead of the game:
- A basic rundown of Barcelona for a La Liga novice.
- How Koeman may line up his team in a 3-5-2 including which Barca players are fit/injured.
- Pros and cons of the 3-5-2.
- Discussing the threat of Memphis Depay.
- What a Barcelona team with a 4-2-3-1 can look like.
- How injuries could derail Bayern in this crucial game at the start of the season.
- Samrin exposing her opinions by saying Luuk de Jong is Barca’s most dangerous player (what???).
- A more sane pick for Barca’s potential dangerman.
So Bild have posted their predicted lineups for this one, and they seem to have phoned it in this time. Barca are almost certainly going to start Araujo in defense, and Oscar Mingueza is perhaps more likely to start at right-back over Sergi Roberto in Dest’s absence. Philippe Coutinho also has a chance of playing.
For Bayern, they forgot to put Sane on the left, which is an unforgivable sin. LW Sane is so much better than the right, to an almost insane degree.
Barcelona vs Bayern | Possible lineups [Bild] pic.twitter.com/SL4GTx08PK— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 13, 2021
This is why you come to BFW, folks.
Gerard Pique and Sergino Dest have been declared fully fit, apparently. That’s a big surprise, since Dest was expected to miss this game with an injury.
Gerard Piqué and Sergiño Dest have been declared fully fit pic.twitter.com/I9EAMAXngD— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 14, 2021
Meanwhile, you have Gnabry training at Espanyol’s training ground.