Bayern Munich’s road to their seventh Champions League title has just gotten a lot harder. In a group with FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Viktoria Plzeň, Bayern has not one, but three massive mountains to climb if they want to get out of the group, preferably as group winners. By now, you have had some time to digest the draw and so have we! Here are the reactions from the BFW staff.
Teddy Son “Maverick”
Well, the draw definitely could have been better. Barcelona’s reputation precedes them, Inter have been very strong in Serie A lately, and even Viktoria Plzeň has the ability to spice things up. The lineup is more what you would see in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, not the group stage. The question is, will Bayern be able to navigate this group of death?
Things are not looking bad at the moment. Julian Nagelsmann’s team has started the season strongly, and if they can replicate those strong performances in Europe, there’s no reason why they can’t win the group with a good record. However, whether they can and whether they will are two different stories. This is a group that will severely punish any misstep that any team is unfortunate enough to take. It will be a very difficult road to the knockout stages, and who knows what will happen.
That said, if you want to win the Champions League, you have to play against and beat the best. Teams of this caliber will come up sooner or later in this competition, and there can be no excuses. Bayern are still one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, and they owe it to the fans to live up to those expectations. Hopefully the team can put in everything they have and deliver some great and memorable performances in Europe. For the rest of the year, the team will have to make sure that they get out of the group, and then we’ll see what happens next.
In a word — yikes.
This is an entertaining group but an extremely challenging one. There’s no margin for error, which is a bit more than I’d have wanted as a fan. The team, I’m sure, have a completely different mentality and would have liked nothing better. But never mind improving on last year’s knockout performances, this is one misstep or bad injury run away from getting bounced down to Europa in the groups. Even the presence of Plzeň — a wildcard club like Rangers might have added more spice, but I’d figure them to be free points for every other club. Which makes the outcomes between the big three so decisive. I’d rather have saved the nerves for next Spring!
On the other hand, it’s a fine test if Bayern can emerge, forged in fire, as it were. Perhaps Bayern can continue their Bundesliga dominance enough to afford to play their first team in the Champions League midweeks and use the surrounding league games for rotation and development. I don’t think Paul Wanner is going to get called on to start as left-back at Barça or Inter, for example, but maybe he’ll get the nod against the likes of VfB Stuttgart.
Bayern’s Bundesliga fixtures around the UCL games, by the way: at Union Berlin, Stuttgart, at FC Augsburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, at Borussia Dortmund, SC Freiburg, at Hoffenheim, and Mainz. Get ready for a wild Hinrunde.
First off, this draw could’ve gone worse — what if we had landed up with a certain Liverpool? Yes, they are struggling currently but they’ll bounce back quicker than you know — just in time for the Champions League. So one will have to be satisfied with FC Barcelona, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzeň.
As the resident Inter Milan fan, I’m sure I have whined on enough occasions about not wanting to face Nerazzuri. My love for the likes of Nicolò Barella, Alessandro Bastoni, Marcelo Brozović, Skriniar and Lautaro ‘Toro’ Martinez will make it a tough affair to deal with playing against them. However, as good as Simone Inzaghi’s side have been, it is undeniable Bayern are the biggest European powerhouse at the moment.
As far as the Barcelona fixture is concerned, we’ve played far too often against them, but with all due respect to Xavi’s abilities, this is not the same Barcelona side we sent to the Europa League — they now have an objectively better squad. I’m sure enough has been spoken about Barcelona, next club!
Europe has never been too kind to Viktoria Plzeň. Their largest defeat in all European competitions was the 5-0 loss against Bayern in 2013. They have also suffered defeats against Barcelona on more than one occasion. But looking at their performances so far, against the teams in the qualifying rounds and the Czech First Division, they do not look a timid side that will let themselves be bullied.
We at Bayern are one of the best teams in Europe. While these sides are a good test, what will be even more challenging is the congested fixture list and an eternally tired squad. Let us hope and pray we get past this as table toppers.
This is an incredibly fun — and difficult — group. There will be huge anticipation for the FC Barcelona matches (thanks Robert Lewandowski!) and the Inter Milan games should be fun as well. While I don’t expect Bayern Munich to have too many missteps, the possibility of a loss or two is there — and certainly being held to a draw could also happen.
Bayern Munich’s offense, however, just looks too good right now to be shutdown by any of these teams. Defensively, though, Bayern Munich has not faced an attack operating at full force. Can Barca or Inter rally enough offense to challenge the Bavarians? It will be interesting to watch play out...but either way, I am very excited for the games to begin.
This group is interesting, to say the least.
So, we’ve been drawn with FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Viktoria Plzeň. We’ve got Barca in the group stage for two seasons running. I wonder how awkward it must be for our old boy Lewy, who plays for the wrong FCB.
I’ll look at the teams and their chances in the group. Bayern will finish top, there’s no doubt about that. We’re gonna sweep everyone in the group if we carry our red-hot form into Europe. Barca and Inter will be battling for second place, and it’s riveting to see who joins the big boys in the RO16 and beyond or who drops down to the Europa League. I’d give Barca the teeniest, tiniest edge over Inter. The Italians have a knack for being bottlers in Europe and they pretty much finish in the bottom half of their UCL group, and yeah revenge for 2010 and 2011. Then again, Barca struggled against Rayo Vallecano but blew Real Sociedad away. It’s a bit of a weird one for Barca because it depends on how they turn up, but one look at Inter and I reluctantly gave Barca the nod for second. Inter will finish third, and Plžen at the foot of the table.
At the end of the day, I just hope that the rest of the Bundesliga clubs actually do something in the group stage. Otherwise, we’ll have to carry the league’s name into the knockouts...yet again.
I am excited! I wanted a tough group and we got that. I have been waiting a while for us to play Inter again. My first CL final involving Bayern was against Inter Milan; although we lost, I look back on that day fondly. What I don’t look back on fondly is the late Goran Pandev goal that knocked us out of the Champions League the following season.
I am not that happy about playing Barcelona; there is far too much recent history. Either way, Julian Nagelsmann has to get Bayern out of this group; a somewhat difficult task should show us how good Nags really is after the impressive tactical adjustments he has made to date. Also, having Lewandowski in the opposition means Bayern’s defense must now come up against a world class striker. This should be interesting!