It’s no longer news that Bayern Munich trashed Barca 8-2 last year on their way to Champions League ultimate victory. The humiliation was so profound that the club’s best player immediately handed in the famous Burofax that led to a series of media madness.
As luck would have it, La Blaugrana was once again pitted against their ferocious opponents from the Bavarian nation in a mouthwatering encounter that is sure to get all eyes rolling. Are we in for another mauling or will Koeman finally grow some nerve and win a big team since his appointment as Barca manager?
At this point though, the stakes are not as high as it was in the knockout stages. However, the group stage matches are the route to reaching the knockout stages of the competition, and to reach there, Barca has to start with a favourable result tonight. But, once again, the Catalans are the underdogs.
• TEAM NEWS
Barca has been battered by injuries this season. Most of the forward line are out injured, with Martin Braithwaite the latest addition to the uncomfortable situation.
Aguero, Dembele, Ansu Fati and Braithwaite are all injured and this has left Memphis Depay as the club’s only fit forward after the bizarre sale of Griezmann on transfer deadline day.
However, the club can at least be able to call on Coutinho and new signee, Luuk De Jong to fill in the gap for the match, except the coach decides to trust Yusuf Demir and hand him a starting berth.
Other injury doubts are Sergino Dest (injured during International duties) and Jordi Alba who also suffered same fate. However, there is news that Gerard Pique will be back for this one due to the calibre of the opponent.
TACTICS AND STRATEGY
Koeman has been careful in deploying the 4:3:3 formation this term, although it has served him well so far. However, against a more balanced and better team like Bayern Munich, the coach is expected to tweak his formation, and may opt to go for a 4-4-2 or 5-3-2 formation.
This is mostly because he stated in an interview that they’re up against a formidable opponent who is better than them. Therefore, if the team is to have any upper hand in proceedings during the game, retention of possession is of utmost importance.
Also, the injuries to his squad is not helping matters for the former Netherland coach.
Can Koeman Finally Win a Big Team?
Well, to his advantage, his midfield triumvirate of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are all fit and will be available for the match. Although Pedri was not part of the team that received the humbling from Bayern Munich, the other two understand fully well who they’re up against.
Also, Andre Ter Stegen is back between the sticks alongside Gerard Pique too. This means that the team already has experience in some key areas. Also, the coach can breathe small due to the form of Memphis Depay. But, will it be enough?
In the mind of Bayern Munich, all they will be seeing is the team they gave the beating of their lives last year.
Although the current coach of the side has been giving a lot of interviews praising Barca, his teams quality is definitely better. But, this is football and surprise is the game.
Koeman will have to be exceptionally excellent with his starting eleven and formation in this one if they’re going to get a favourable result from the Bavarian giants.