Most, if not all, Barcelona supporters groaned when they saw their team placed in the same Champions League group as Bayern Munich for the second consecutive year.
Who can blame them?
The Catalans failed to make it out of the group stage last season and lost both legs against the German giants 3-0, respectively. It’s no secret Bayern have been nothing short of a nightmare for Barcelona.
Heading into their clash at the Allianz Arena, the mood is noticeably different.
Barcelona spent quite a lot in the summer with hopes of transforming a side that finished second in LaLiga, well behind Real Madrid, and lost in the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Among the new faces includes former Bayern Munich player Robert Lewandowski.
The Polish striker has been as good as advertised, having scored six goals in five matches.
With the additions of Raphinha, Jules Kounde and the good form of Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona have reasons to be confident heading into the match. They have reason to believe that not only will they be able to compete, but win the game as well.
In the league, Barcelona have won four straight games and scored at least three goals in each of them. In Europe, they kicked off their campaign with a 5-1 win over Viktoria Plzen.
Bayern Munich also picked up a win in their European opener against Inter Milan at the San Siro.
The Bundesliga is a different story.
Bayern have drawn their last three matches and currently sit third, behind Union Berlin and SC Freiburg.
The Bavarians are in a run they don’t often find themselves in. It’s certainly led to frustration as stated by Thomas Muller.
“For the first time this season, I’m angry,” said Thomas Muller. “If we want to win every game, which is our goal, we have to go all the way in every game.
“It doesn’t matter if we have a big game in midweek. With our current situation, we have to give it our all until the end. If we want to get back to the top of the table, which we do, then we have to take a good look at ourselves.”
On the other hand, Barcelona enter with momentum and the belief instilled to the players by manager Xavi Hernandez.
“We know they are a strong team in every line,” Jules Kounde said. “A champion. But I am certain we’ll compete well. We have everything we need to to be able to win both games.”
Again, the atmosphere surrounding the two sides is almost the complete opposite.
But if Bayern score first, then it’ll be interesting to see how Barcelona respond. They’ll either show some mental toughness or the flood gates will open for Bayern.
At the very least, Barcelona are going to want to show they are not the same team they were last season. They want to demonstrate they are on the right path. One game isn’t going to define their season. But Barcelona will want nothing more than to get a statement win against a side who has humiliated them the last couple of seasons.