Barcelona, Bayern headline Champions League return as European contest begins

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 09:25 |
Bayern Munich players celebrate a goal during a past Champions League fixture against Barcelona: PHOTO/COURTESY

The group stage of what promises to be a fascinating Champions League season gets under way today, with the Barcelona vs Bayern Munich fixture being the headline of the day.

As Barcelona turns their attention towards their Champions League group-stage opener against Bayern Munich, they will face an opponent that completely outclassed them just over a year ago.

On August 14, 2020, after the season was temporarily halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barcelona were beaten 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals.

A little consolation came from the fact that the German club went on to win the competition, but a shattering defeat like that will no doubt leave certain scars.

Now, as the two teams prepare to face each other again, it is worth considering whether their previous encounter will affect Barcelona this time round.

Since that last clash Barcelona have made drastic changes to their squad, firstly as they looked to move on some ageing players but then later due to their worrisome financial situation.

The biggest change is the loss of star man Lionel Messi, who Barcelona could not afford to keep, and thus he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free this summer.

Barcelona's other attackers in the 8-2 defeat were Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann, who were deemed surplus to requirements and are now playing together once again at Atlético Madrid.

Philippe Coutinho, who was on loan at Bayern Munich in 2019/20 and who scored two of their eight goals in the 8-2 win, has returned to Barcelona after his season-long loan spell in Germany.

Barcelona now boast a completely refreshed attacking line-up with new signing Memphis Depay, who has already impressed fans in Catalonia.

New loan signing Yusuf Demir, an Austrian wonder kid who is likely to get minutes in the absence of the likes of Ousmane Dembélé and Ansu Fati, both of whom are unavailable for Tuesday's match due to injury.

Heading to this fixture, there is no doubt that Bayern are the favourites in this clash against Barcelona.

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