Barcelona will be hoping to still be in with a chance of reaching the knockout round of the Champions League when they welcome Bayern Munich to Camp Nou tonight.
The Catalan outfit are third in Group C, three points behind second-placed Inter Milan, who would qualify by beating Viktoria Plzen earlier in the evening, while Bayern top the section with 12 points, having won all four of their matches in the section to progress to the round of 16 with two games to spare.
Barcelona made it 28 points from 11 La Liga matches this season by beating Athletic Bilbao 4-0 on Sunday night, with Ousmane Dembele, Sergi Roberto, Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres on the scoresheet.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing Champions League group-stage campaign for the Catalan outfit, who have only picked up four points from four matches to sit third, three points behind second-placed Inter ahead of today’s two Group C fixtures.
Inter host Viktoria Plzen earlier in the evening, and a win for the Italian side would see them qualify, ending Barcelona’s hopes of reaching the round of 16 in the process. Xavi’s side would then be confirmed to finish third in the section, dropping into the Europa League for the second season in a row.
The La Liga giants need a favour from Plzen and then to beat Bayern, but they have picked up just one point from their last three games in the competition, losing back-to-back matches to Bayern and Inter before being held to a 3-3 draw by the Italian giants at Camp Nou on October 12.
Barcelona can take heart from their last two home matches, beating Villarreal 3-0 and Athletic Bilbao 4-0, but they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in El Clasico on October 16 and have struggled to get going in Europe this term, and Xavi’s side will now be welcoming one of the finest sides in the competition.
Bayern’s spot at the top of the section is not a surprise considering their quality, and it has been an impressive group-stage performance thus far from the Bundesliga champions, recording four wins from four matches, scoring 13 times in the process and conceding just twice.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side beat Inter 2-0 and Barcelona 2-0 in their first two group fixtures before doing the double over Plzen, winning 5-0 at home at the start of the month and 4-2 away last time out.
Bayern have now won their last four games in all competitions, including a 2-0 success over Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, but they are, surprisingly, not top of the Bundesliga at this stage, currently sitting second in the table, one point behind leaders Union Berlin.
The Munich giants, who have won the European Cup on six occasions, were actually knocked out by Villarreal in the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, while they also failed to make it past the final eight in 2020-21, losing to Paris Saint-Germain on away goals.
Bayern have not lost to Barcelona since the semi-finals of the 2014-15 Champions League, going down 3-0 at Camp Nou in the first leg; they would be confirmed as group winners today with a victory, although first would be secured ahead of this match if Inter fail to overcome Plzen. – SportsMole
Champions League fixtures today
Inter v Viktoria Plzen
Club Brugge v Porto
E. Frankfurt v Marseille
Barcelona v Bayern
Ajax v Liverpool
Atletico v Leverkusen
Tottenham v Sporting
Napoli v Rangers