The UEFA Champions League returns for the 2021/22 season tonight. The opening night’s most awaited fixture is without a doubt the meeting between footballing giants FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The teams face off 13 months after Bayern inflicted the Blaugrana’s worst-ever loss.
While most of Bayern’s squad remains the same, this time they will be guided by new coach Julian Nagelsmann who is starting to make his mark. There was a time when the Camp Nou was considered a fortress of the Spanish side but in the world of football, time changes quickly.
Barcelona will be without their talisman Lionel Messi who joined French giants Paris Saint Germain in the summer transfer window. A move that shook the football world to its core. The club is undergoing a major transformation and is expected to field a young and fresh starting 11. All eyes will be on Spanish starlet Pedri Gonzalez.
In the pre-match conference Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said, ‘We know how good Bayern are. They have very experienced and quality players and it’s going to be very tough. We want to compete in the Champions League and we play at home. We are going to try and get the best result possible.’ as per Barca Blaugranes.
The Blaugrana will be out for revenge but it remains to be seen whether that hunger will be enough to contain Robert Lewandowski. Considering the form that Barcelona’s defence has been in, this seems like an impossible task. The striker has been the best player this season, only behind Lionel Messi (arguably) and will be looking to add to his goal tally.
Barcelona will be without star players Ansu Fati, Sergio Agüero, Ousmane Dembélé, Martin Braithwaite while Bayern has a relatively fit squad which is another advantage for the Bavarians.
It will be interesting to watch whether the Blaugrana can produce an unexpected result or will the match favourites Bayern walk out with a victory.
UCL holders Chelsea also began their title defence against Zenit tonight while Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing for Manchester United against Young boys.