Bayern Munich have already secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, but they’re still going to go all out to secure victory tomorrow evening against Barcelona. The Blaugrana come to Germany in desperate need of victory – if they don’t win, and Benfica beat Dynamo Kyiv in the group’s other game, they’re going to be headed for the Europa League.
Bayern have been near-perfect under Julian Nagelsmann in the Champions League this season. They’re top of Group E, with five victories from five games. They’re seven points clear of second-placed Barcelona, ten clear of third-placed Benfica and 14 clear of bottom-placed Dynamo. They’re also top of the Bundesliga, four points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
Barcelona are in weaker form. They’re seventh in La Liga, six points off fourth-placed Atletico Madrid and 16 behind league leaders Real Madrid. They suffered the first defeat of the Xavi era at the weekend at Camp Nou, losing 1-0 to Real Betis. Despite this, the Catalan is going into the game with confidence, as is Gerard Pique, one of his most important and experienced troops.
“It’s true that cannot give many reasons [to be confident] after what we’ve done throughout this year,” Pique said in his pre-match press conference as carried by Diario Sport. “We’ve gotten into this situation because of our performances and results, but in these difficult moments it really shows if you’re a cule – [someone who] truly lives the club or only does so when we win. The love for the colours, for the shield, is shown in the bad times, when the team and the players suffer and we’re having a hard time.”