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, Nagelsmann isn’t taking the Blaugrana lightly.
“Xavi and his team haven’t had many training sessions, but I’ve seen differences, yes,” the German coach said in his pre-match press conference in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo. “With Xavi they defend higher. The pressure after they lose the ball is also different, very brave, very high, like it was during Pep [Guardiola]’s time. It leaves space but also makes it difficult to play through the press. We’ll see how we counter their pressure.”