Preview of this Friday's clash
Lionel Messi will come face to face with Robert Lewandowski in the pick of the 2019/20 Champions League quarter-final stage on Friday evening.
The Camp Nou outfit were top of La Liga when football resumed in June but their subsequent poor form combined with Real Madrid’s peerless displays saw the Catalan side finish the 2019/20 domestic season as runners-up in the Spanish top-flight.
Bayern Munich’s story this season has been the reverse of their Friday’s opponents as Hansi Flick side were off the pace in Bundesliga when COVID-19 forced the suspension of German top-flight in March. They used the break to good effect and went on a 14 game unbeaten streak to clinch the title.
Their three-month-long unbeaten run has also seen Bayern win another DFB Pokal title, with the Bavarian outfit also taking care of Chelsea in the Champions League during the run-in. Little wonder then that they are the favorites to emerge as winners from this tie.
Busquets is expected to be nominated in Barcelona’s starting XI, with Sergi Roberto the casualty of the veteran midfielder’s return to the lineup. The ()-year-old started against Napoli last week but is expected to start this Friday’s game on the bench.
Elsewhere the return of Ousmanne Dembele to training earlier this week has also raised hopes the Frenchman could be on the bench. Samuel Umtiti remains out as the defender continues to recover from the knee injury he suffered earlier in the season.
Similar good news is on offer for Bayern as they will be boasted by news that both Jerome Boateng and Kingsley Coman have overcome their respective injury troubles. Boateng picked up a knock against Chelsea last week but has fully recovered since then.
Coman, who has fully recovered from his muscular problem, is expected to replace Ivan Perisic on the left-side of Bayern attack, with the likes of Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry joining the Frenchman.
Both these sides have met each other in the Champions League on eight occasions in the past, with Barcelona winning 2 and Bayern managing a victory on four occasions.
Aside from their form in this particular fixture, the recent form of the Bavarian outfit also favors them to eke out a victory on Friday. They are currently on a 14-game unbeaten run and haven’t tasted a defeat in any competition since March.
The form of their strikers also favors Bayern coming into this Friday’s clash as the Bavarian giants have scored at least 3 goals in 7 of their last eight games in the competition.
Predicted Barcelona lineup vs Bayern Munich: Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Jong, Busquets, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann
Predicted Bayern Munich lineup vs Barcelona: Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Goretzka, Thiago; Gnabry, Muller, Perisic; Lewandowski
Prediction: Barcelona 1-2 Bayern Munich
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