The third Quarter Final of the UEFA Champions League this season between two heavyweights of Europe, Bayern Munich vs Barcelona. The clash will be played in Lisbon. Bayern Munich came into the quarter-final after thrashing Chelsea on a 7-1 aggregate score. They have a great momentum coming into this game. Whereas, Barcelona defeated Napoli 3-1 in the second leg at Camp Nou, winning the fixture on a 4-2 aggregate score. Here are five key battles to look out for that can decide tonight’s fixture.
#1 Serge Gnabry vs Jordi Alba
Serge Gnabry is in a tremendous form this season. He has scored six goals this season in the Champions League and is the joint third-highest goalscorer behind his teammate Robert Lewandowski and Borrusia Dortmund’s Erling Haland. Gnabry scored four goals in a game against Tottenham Hotspur in Group Stage.
But he will be up against one of the most experienced fall-backs in football. The 31 years old Spanish left-back surely needs to use all his experience in the game against Bayern Munich. He will face one of the most inform players of this season.
Serge Gnabry from the right-wing has provided 22 crosses. He also has completed 8 successful dribbles in this year’s Champions League season. All he needs to do is provide a ball in the box where Robert Lewandowski will be lurking to put it behind the net. Although, Jordi Alba hasn’t had a great season, but his experience in Barcelona’s defense will be very crucial in stopping Gnabry.
#2 Robert Lewandowski vs Gerard Pique
Robert Lewandowski is in the form of his life. He has scored 53 goals this season in all competitions for Bayern Munich. Out of which 13 came in Champions League in just seven matches. In a 7-1 aggregate win over Chelsea in the Round Of 16, he was involved in all seven goals. Scoring three and proving four assists.
Barcelona has struggled defensively throughout the season. Although their defense is not in a great form, they sure do have some of Europe’s most experienced defenders. The 33 years old Spaniard has played in some high-pressure games for Barcelona throughout his career. And has faced some of the World’s best forwards. This time he will be up against another one of those.
Robert Lewandowski has a goal involvement in every 37 minutes in Champions League this season. Gerard Pique has struggled defensively but, he is very good in aerial duels, winning 81% of them. It will be Gerard Pique’s job to mark Robert Lewandowski in the game and deny him from continuing his form. Can he keep out Lewandowski or will Lewandowski find a way to break through Barcelona’s defense?
#3 Luis Suarez vs Jerome Boateng
Luis Suarez struggled with a knee injury mid-season. Forcing him to miss out on games for the club. Fortunately for Barcelona, he only missed one Champions League game (First Leg against Napoli). However, he hasn’t been the same since his injury. Scoring only six goals in 12 appearances in all competitions. His goal against Napoli in the second leg will surely boost his confidence.
Jerome Boateng has had a good season in the Champions League. He has won 85% of the aerial duels and has won 75% of the tackles. He is an experienced and one of the most important players in the Bayern Munich squad.
Jerome Boateng surely remembers how Lionel Messi humiliated him in the semi-final of the Champions League season 2014/15. He surely has come a long way and has improved himself. But he will be against one of the most fearsome strikers in world football. Barcelona surely needs Suarez to be in top form if they want to overcome Bayern Munich.
#4 Antoine Griezmann vs Joshua Kimmich
Antoine Griezmann made his move to Barcelona from Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid. However, has not played up to the expectations. In his debut season for Barcelona, he only has 15 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions. He is a great player who can turn around a game. He will be up against one of the best right-backs of modern football.
Joshua Kimmich is very versatile. Playing as a Right-Back and sometimes as a Defensive Midfielder for Bayern Munich. He has been very consistent defensively and hasn’t missed any of the Champions League games this season.
This will be a very interesting battle as Kimmich also carries a threat offensively and likes to go up the pitch on that right flank. Griezmann will surely look to catch him out of position and try to create a chance for Barcelona. Who will come out on top at the end of the game?
#5 Lionel Messi vs Alphonso Davies
Lionel Messi is surely Barcelona’s best player this season. Although he only has three goals in Champions League this season, he has created many chances. He has 26 assists to his name this season in all competitions, four of which came in the Champions League.
It is going to be one of the most exciting nights for Alphonso Davies. Just 19 years of age, has made a huge impact on football. He has delivered a great performance against Chelsea. With his terrifying pace, he is a threat offensively.
Similar to Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies likes to go up on the pitch. But will he take the risk knowing he has to mark Lionel Messi the entire game? Messi has completed 54 successful dribbles only in the Champions League this season. On the other hand, Alphonso Davies being a defender has completed 19 dribbles more than many star wingers. It will one of the best battles in the game. 19 years old youngster going on against six times Ballon d’Or winner. Who will come out strong?
Bayern Munich goes into the fixture as favorites to win. But we saw yesterday in the second Quarter Final, RB Leipzig defeated Atletico Madrid 2-1 and book their place in the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. Can Barcelona defeat Bayern Munich against all the odds? Or will Bayern Munich take their revenge on Barcelona? It will be a clash of many stars against each other. This fixture Bayern Munich vs Barcelona has never disappointed in the past. Can we expect a thrilling Champions League night? Comment below your score predictions.