Bayern Munich will look to reestablish their supremacy just nine months after the last UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage match of the previous season, in which Bayern Munich sent Barcelona to their first group stage exit since the 2000–01 tournament (W3-0).
Robert Lewandowski’s quick return to the Allianz Arena after joining Barça is the main storyline in this match; last season, when wearing the colors of Bayern, he helped set up three goals in this head-to-head (G2, A1).
After a faltering start in Bundesliga play this season, the ten-time defending champions of Germany could use some more of that Lewandowski magic as they are currently on a run of three league games without a victory for just the third time in four years (D3). Bayern has won each of their last four UCL groups and a total of 18 times throughout the club’s history, only three short of Barcelona’s competition record, despite any potential domestic concerns.
A dominant start to the La Liga season (W4, D1) and a convincing 5-1 victory over Plze in the opening UCL match may have helped Barcelona put the disappointments of last season behind them. The players did themselves proud by assisting staff in handling the medical emergency that overshadowed their most recent game, which they ultimately won 4-0 in Cadiz.
Barcelona has already more than doubled their meager two-goal total from the previous season in just one UCL match, but they will undoubtedly face a far stiffer test in Bavaria given that they have never won a head-to-head match away from home (D2, L4). But Barcelona will need to improve on a shaky run of only 12 wins from their past 27 UCL away games if they hope to secure that historic first victory (D9, L6).
Players to watch: All five of Sadio Mané’s goals since moving to Bayern served to extend a lead, although it remains that his only career goals at the Allianz Arena came back in a 3-1 win with Liverpool back in 2018/19! All eyes will be on Lewandowski who has now scored UCL hat-tricks for three different clubs (Dortmund, Bayern, Barcelona) and is just two away from matching Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi’s joint all-time record of eight.