The previous two matches of the Champions League quarterfinals saw two matches between clubs that had never won the UCL. This one is different as two prestigious clubs square off for a spot in the UCL semifinals: Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
These two clubs are in the UCL quarterfinals for the 18th time, more than anyone else. They are both five-time UCL winners. Barcelona has reached the UCL quarterfinals for a record 13th consecutive year. The last time these clubs met in the UCL was in 2015 where Barcelona legend Lionel Messi put in a world class performance, leading Barcelona to a 5-3 victory on aggregate over Bayern in the semifinals.
Barcelona went undefeated in group stage action and took out a pesky Napoli squad 4-2 on aggregate in the round of 16. Messi continues to score world class goals as he scored on an off-balanced shot in leg two. Barcelona has struggled this season as they lost the La Liga title to Real Madrid. They are hoping to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive year as last year, they blew a 3-0 first leg lead to Liverpool and lost 4-0 at Anfield. Barcelona has choked two three-goal first-legged leads and lost their last two UCL knockout rounds. Without a second leg, Barcelona has an advantage with their quick-strike attack.
Bayern Munich has been as dominant as ever in 2020. After a rough ending to 2019 that saw them lose to Eintracht Frankfurt in October and sack their manager, Niko Kovac, they dominated everyone in 2020, capturing their eighth straight Bundesliga title. Since play resumed in mid-May, Bayern has won every match, including a 4-1 over Chelsea in the UCL round of 16, winning that tie 7-1 on aggregate.
Striker Robert Lewandowski has been on another level this season, scoring 34 goals in the Bundesliga and he leads the UCL in goals scored with 13. If the Ballon d’or was not canceled this year, he would have been the frontrunner to win the prestigious award.
Bayern’s typical pattern in the UCL since they won their last championship in 2013 is to dominate their group stage and their opponent (sometimes a London club) in the round of 16. Then deep into the knockout round, they lose to a Spanish club. However, Bayern historically does well against Barcelona with five wins, one draw and two losses.
Bayern will continue to succeed against Barcelona simply because they are the superior club. Their backline is more disciplined and rigid, their midfield is deadly and they currently have the best striker in the world. Rising superstar leftback Alphonso Davies will keep Messi in check and will slow down Barcelona’s attack. Bayern will win this match easily.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3 Barcelona 0