Xavi Hernandez faces his biggest test as Barcelona manager so far on Wednesday evening as his side travel to Bayern Munich in a must-win game.
The fact that their opposition have already won the group and will be playing behind closed doors could, clearly, work in Barca’s favour but – whichever way you look at it – this is a daunting task.
Indeed, the Bundesliga champions already look like one of the favourites for the competition and Julian Nagelsmann has promised to play a strong team even despite his side’s lofty position.
While Barca might not be at the level they once were, you feel a chance to make a statement by beating them convincingly would be something any top manager would relish.
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Confirmed Bayern Munich XI
This promises to be quite the battle
A look at tonight’s weather conditions
Bayern have been in imperious form throughout the group stage, scoring 19 goals so far, including five in both of their two home matches.
Even if they name a weakened team tonight, they should still prove too strong for Barcelona. Xavi’s side drew with Benfica in their last Champions League match, and that could prove to be the costly result.
It would be a big upset if they were to beat Bayern, and one that their recent form suggests they are not quite capable of.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Barcelona
Early team news
It will be up to Nagelsmann to decide how strong a side he wants to pick against Barcelona, with qualification and top spot already secured.
Lucas Hernandez limped off in Bayern’s recent win over Borussia Dortmund, while Joshua Kimmich has missed his side’s recent matches due to being in quarantine and would need a negative PCR test to be available. Dayot Upamecano is back from suspension.
Gavi was in hospital after Barcelona’s loss to Real Betis with a head injury, and Xavi will be without Pedri and Sergi Roberto for the rest of the year. Ansu Fati is also expected to miss out.