With the UEFA Champions League draw held in Nyon, Switzerland on 10 July, Barcelona was drawn to the Germans Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals. But for this match to happen, both teams must first navigate successfully in their round of 16 return games.
Barcelona were drawn 1-1 by Napoli at the San Paolo stadium during the first leg of the round of 16 in February before the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to all sporting activities. The Catalan club will want to finish the job when Napoli visit Camp Nou for the return leg.
Bayern Munich have almost a foot in the quarterfinals after a 3-0 win in the first leg of the first leg of the round of 32 at Chelsea. Excluding an epic crash in the final leg on the home field, the Bundesliga serial winners have an easier path to the quarterfinals than in Barcelona.
The 16-game UEFA Champions League round is scheduled for 7 and 8 August. The home advantage will only be of academic interest for both Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as they will play the 16 second round going in front of empty stands.
However, if both of these European football heavyweights manage to break through their respective 16-game round, a squalid quarter-final clash awaits us.
The rivalry between Barcelona and Bayern Munich
One of the most interesting aspects of the rivalry between Barcelona and Bayern Munich is that it is a recent 21st century phenomenon.
Since these two clubs belong to two different countries, Spain and Germany, their rivalry is based primarily on competition and the consolidation of their positions on the European scene.
In this regard, Bayern Munich has had previous success in Europe compared to Barcelona. The first Bavarian Giants’ Cup came in 1974, long before Barcelona’s inaugural triumph in the 1992 competition.
The Reds he went on to win two more European Cups consecutively, which means that from 1974 to 1976 they were the undisputed kings of Europe. However, in the 21st century, they only won the competition twice, in 2001 and 2013.
Barcelona, on the other hand, was one of the most successful clubs in the 21st century, nationally and continentally, at least until 2015. Blaugrana won the Champions League in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015.
Both blocked clubs have won five European Cup / Champions League titles each. Last season, Liverpool overtook the pair by winning their sixth title in the competition.
Aside from the Champions League winners of last season, only Real Madrid (13) and AC Milan (7) were more successful in the European club’s European football competition than in Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
In this century, Bayern Munich and Barcelona closed their horns for the first time in the quarterfinals of the 2008-09 Champions League season. Barcelona sold out the winners 4-0 in the first leg at home, where Lionel Messi scored a draw.
The four-goal deficit was too marked for Bayern Munich to review the second leg as a 1-1 draw in Monaco led Barcelona to move to the semi-finals with a 5-1 aggregate victory.
In that season, after a controversial away match against Chelsea, Barcelona qualified for the away final where they dethroned another English team, defending the Manchester United champions in the final.
Bayern Munich and Barcelona then closed their horns in the Champions League semifinals in 2012-13. This time, it was the Bavarian team that went nuts, Bayern Munich won the first leg 4-0 and won 3-0 in the return leg at Camp Nou while Barcelona suffered one of the worst overall defeats in Europe .
Most recently, Barcelona and Bayern Munich met in the 2014-15 semi-final of the Champions League when former manager Blaugrana Pep Guardiola was at the helm in Bavaria.
The draw undoubtedly produced one of the greatest individual moments in UEFA Champions League history when Lionel Messi took over Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng before a cheeky lobbyist finish on goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Barcelona won the first leg 3-0 at home before scoring twice in the return leg to cut Bayern Munich’s return. With an aggregate 5-2 victory, the Catalan club demanded revenge for his humiliation at the hands of the same opponents two seasons before to move on to the final.
In their first Champions League final in four years, Barcelona overwhelmed Juventus 3-1, winning the fifth and final title of the competition.
Rest assured, when Barcelona and Bayern Munich collide, moments of classic football are produced.
In football, historical results mean almost nothing. Clubs such as Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United were once the centers of English football. However, they struggle to acquire many television revenues today.
With the jackpot of competition getting bigger and bigger, the gulf between successful clubs and others widens with each passing season.
For example, last season, the Champions League winners Liverpool were € 19 million richer for winning the competition. The amount won by Liverpool was an increase of € 3.5 million received by Real Madrid for the 2017-18 Champions League victory.
In addition, clubs also receive additional cash to win each Champions League game in one season, in addition to receiving cash for TV rights depending on the country they come from.
In 2019-2020, if a club wins all matches of the Champions League season (from the group stage to the final), it will receive € 82.2 million. Interestingly, only Bayern Munich is the only club fighting to win this amount if it goes all the way this season. This is because, the Bavarian club has won all six games of the group stage and also won the first leg of the round of 32 against Chelsea.
In addition to the financial aspect, the issue of prestige is also at stake. Barcelona have not won the Champions League since 2015 while Bayern Munich have had a longer drought; the Bavarians have not triumphed in the competition since 2013.
For this season, the Champions League has a renewed single leg format from the quarterfinals onwards. Both Bayern Munich and Barcelona may not have a better opportunity to engrave their names in the history books of the competition.
The form of the two clubs could not have been more contrasted in view of a possible showdown in the quarterfinals.
The Reds they had their usual successful campaign in which they won their 30th Bundesliga title record. The Blaugrana, however, had an overwhelming domestic season for 2019-2020, an anomaly by their meteoric standards, and are almost out of the accounts for the third consecutive La Liga title.
However, in a one leg matchup, the recent form may be worthless. In this regard, both teams should start all over again if they complete their wins in their respective 16 draw rounds.
Published 14 July 2020, 23:19