Between Might 2013 and early December 2020, seven-and-a-half lengthy years, Barcelona went a document 38 video games unbeaten at residence within the Champions League, successful 34, drawing 4 and scoring 112 occasions. Indomitable type.
Between December 2020 and the start of Tuesday’s Camp Nou assembly with Bayern Munich, a span of 9 months, Barcelona’s residence document within the Champions League: performed two, misplaced two, scored as soon as, conceded seven. Unacceptable.
When you take that horrendous 7-1 mixture scoreline in defeats to Juventus and PSG, and throw in the truth that the final time Catalunya’s FCB met Bavaria’s FCB the Germans received 8-2 — are you able to imagine that was solely a yr in the past? — you may start to grasp why it has been arduous to persuade Barca’s season-ticket holding “socios” to attend what some concern is perhaps one other embarrassing defeat.
That humiliation in opposition to Hansi Flick’s staff clearly had seismic repercussions. Coach Quique Setien was sacked, setting off his many-month journey to be financially compensated for what remained of his contract. Lionel Messi immediately despatched a registered supply letter claiming that his contract allowed him to go away, at no cost, and that he’d taken the choice to stroll away from Barcelona there after which.
The membership, deep in a vicious spiral of debt, missed out on at the very least €30m of additional income by being knocked out of the competitors on the quarterfinal stage — the sort of sum Barcelona have (equally humiliatingly) needed to beg again from senior gamers like Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. Oh, and Josep Maria Bartomeu, that quixotic determine who might be considered the worst president in Camp Nou historical past — however who will at all times have the ability to level to the membership having received the Treble beneath his reign in 2015 — instantly pushed Luis Suarez out the door, a shrewd, well-judged transfer that resulted within the Uruguayan repaying him with 21 targets and three assists for Atletico Madrid as they they received solely their third LaLiga title in 44 years.
Bartomeu himself solely lasted two additional months as Barcelona president, however please: do not think about that the fallout from that cataclysmic outcome marked the August 2020 match as one thing particular within the historical past of those two FCB golf equipment going head-to-head. Actually there has actually been nothing however explosive, historic aftermath when Barca play Bayern.
After they met within the 1996 UEFA Cup semifinal, Barcelona misplaced 2-1 at Camp Nou (4-3 on mixture) and Johan Cruyff was sacked because of this. Elimination at Bayern’s palms value crucial man on this historical past of the membership his job.
Twin defeats to Bayern in that cut-throat Champions League Group D of 1998-99 value Barcelona the possibility to make it to the Champions League last, which was held within the Camp Nou to have fun the Catalan membership’s centenary. Speak about celebration poopers. Manchester United have been additionally in Group D and, with Bayern, made to the Camp Nou showpiece that Might. Everyone knows what occurred subsequent; it was powerful for Barcelona’s gamers, administration and followers to look at.
Not sufficient proof that there is at all times the whiff of cordite and dynamite within the air when these two play?
In 2009, Barcelona thrashed Bayern 5-1 within the quarterfinals en path to Champions League victory in Rome and the Treble. In 2013, Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern, on their method to the Treble themselves, racked up Barcelona’s then-record defeat in Europe, successful 7-0 over two matches to damage the late Tito Vilanova’s solely season in cost at Camp Nou. Two years later, this dramatic Barca-Bayern pendulum swung full in the wrong way when Luis Enrique’s Messi-Suarez-Neymar staff smashed Pep Guardiola’s German champions 5-3… en path to the Treble.
All of which leaves us, in fact, with that 10-goal thriller final August.
Earlier than he himself give up, Bartomeu’s try to try to pull a as soon as dominant soccer operation out of the cataclysmic ruins after their document European defeat to Bayern had been to nominate Ronald Koeman, who did fairly effectively in his first season. However, you’ll be able to solely think about the grimace and the bone-shiver that handed by means of Barcelona’s representatives at this yr’s Champions League group stage attract Switzerland when the dreaded identify “Bayern Munich” got here up. It might have been how ocean-bound merchants used to really feel when the oncoming ship raised a skull-and-crossbones.
Throughout Koeman’s press convention on Monday, he admitted: “Revenge? We’re speaking in regards to the occasions of a yr in the past. There have been gamers who actually suffered that evening. The reminiscence of what occurred is one thing we’ll be mindful. Perhaps we will change the dynamic.
“We have to be robust and attempt to do injury to Bayern. I’ve an excellent staff… good gamers.”
However until you are a seasoned Koeman-listener, one in all his phrases may simply have slipped previous you. He mentioned: “Bodily, we’re in fine condition. The gamers who have been with their worldwide groups have had an opportunity to relaxation [Barcelona’s game in Sevilla at the weekend was postponed]. The others have been coaching actually arduous: the staff’s prepared.”
Now, you will not discover many individuals who do not suppose Bayern are favourites to win at Camp Nou and elongate the brutal injury lately inflicted by Juventus and PSG. And little marvel: the German champions have only a few points to fret about. They are a better-constructed, extra highly effective, accustomed-to-winning group, they usually aren’t on this competitors simply to spank Barcelona once more — somewhat, they’re ferociously decided to win the entire thing.
Not lengthy after these sides final met, I used to be in a position to interview Koeman, newly appointed as Barca boss, for UEFA’s Champions journal, and I requested the Dutchman what he’d made (at the same time as a spectator) of the eight purpose defeat. Again in September 2020, he instructed me: “The massive lesson for me is that if you happen to do not play as a staff you’ll not win.
“In fact, you want the perfect organisation to play in opposition to opponents like Bayern, as a result of they are a actually robust staff with loads of particular person qualities. However initially, if you happen to noticed the bodily state of the Bayern staff, it was wonderful. And the way in which they have been organised within the staff was wonderful. [That was a] huge distinction in comparison with Barcelona.”
Organisational and bodily excellence. The keys to the sport. During which case, Tuesday’s sport might be a case of “abandon hope all ye who enter right here” when Barcelona jog up the steps that lead, previous a ravishing, tranquil little chapel, from the dressing rooms to the pitch.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen has performed as soon as since Might. Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest missed coaching the previous couple of days, Gerard Pique’s simply again from harm, Pedri‘s simply again from vacation, Martin Braithwaite‘s seemingly out injured for 3 or 4 months and Philippe Coutinho (who coincidentally scored twice for Bayern in that 8-2 hammering whereas on mortgage from Barca to Bayern) hasn’t performed a full 90 minutes for practically a yr. Then there’s Luuk De Jong, an emergency last-minute signing when the summer season switch window was closing, hasn’t performed since an eight-minute Euro 2020 cameo for Holland in opposition to Austria in June.
And this time there is no Messi, the person lengthy generally known as Barca’s Saviour.
Historical past demonstrates with crystal readability that few, if any, matches have as a lot influence and consequence as when these two golf equipment meet. 3 times earlier than, the winner of this conflict has gone on to win a Treble. Nonetheless extra usually, defeat has shredded the loser’s profession trajectory. Nevertheless, the important thing issues for Barca-watchers to grasp is that historical past is not what is going to weigh most closely in opposition to their possibilities of watching an against-the-odds residence win — it is the state of the somewhat ragged and patched-up Camp Nou squad. Particularly in comparison with the radiant, competent, aggressive, assured winning-machine that is coming to city once more.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/barcelona-espbarcelona/story/4474166/theres-more-to-barcelona-bayern-munich-than-that-8-2-result-this-is-a-rivalry-with-a-dramatic-history | There’s extra to Barcelona-Bayern Munich than that 8-2 outcome; this can be a rivalry with a dramatic historical past