Will Sadio Mane (r.) get another win against Barcelona and their former Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (l.) when the two sides meet again in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday? - © IMAGO/IMAGO/MIS
Will Sadio Mane (r.) get another win against Barcelona and their former Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (l.) when the two sides meet again in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday? - © IMAGO/IMAGO/MIS

5 reasons Bayern Munich will beat Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League - AGAIN!


Robert Lewandowki's on fire, but Bayern Munich have what it takes to tame their former charge and sink Barcelona again in UEFA Champions League Group C. bundesliga.com outlines five reasons why Sadio Mane and Co. will do just that...

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1) They’ve done it already - and have improved since then

Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane got the second-half goals that led Bayern to a 2-0 win over Barcelona when the sides met for the first time this season on 13 September in Munich. Julian Nagelsmann's team were stunned by Augsburg in the league a few days after that encounter, but since then they have been in impressive form.

Bayern have scored 27 goals in seven games since the 1-0 defeat against Augsburg, which included a 5-0 home win against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League and a 4-2 success in the return match in the Czech Republic a week later. They have also hammered Bayer Leverkusen (4-0) and Freiburg (5-0) during that run as well as getting their revenge on Augsburg with a 5-2 triumph in the DFB Cup.

The only blemish was throwing away a two-goal cushion late on in the Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 9, but since that 2-2 draw the reigning Bundelisga champions have won four matches in a row and scored 16 goals.

Watch: Bayern beat Hoffenheim before facing Barcelona

The six-time European champions have also won all four matches they've played in this season's Champions League group stage, scoring 13 goals and conceding only two. They are unbeaten in a record 32 group games, have won a record 11 group games in a row and are already guaranteed to make the last 16. Bayern still need a point to be absolutely certain of progressing as group winners, and all of the above suggests Barcelona will have to be at their very best to stop them on Wednesday.

2) Eight years of Lewandowski, oodles of inside knowledge

Lewandowski scored 344 goals in 375 appearances for Bayern between 2014 and 2022. The Poland striker broke all manner of individual, club and Bundesliga records whilst contributing to some of the record champions' greatest triumphs. He's picked up where he left off since moving to Barca in the summer - scoring 17 goals in 15 matches in all competitions including five in four Champions League games.

Lewandowski drew a blank on his return to Munich in the first meeting of the sides, however. Barcelona sit eight points behind Bayern in the group and three behind Inter Milan despite the former Dortmund frontman's two goals in a 3-3 draw against the Italians last time out. With the pressure all on Barca given they are on the verge of elimination, Lewandowski could be in for another tough night against his former employer.

Watch: All 312 of Robert Lewandowski's Bundesliga goals

That's because no team knows Lewandowski better than Bayern. The Bavarians helped shape him into the world's best No.9, paying particular attention to his strengths and weaknesses. For every instance that he schooled a teammate on the training pitch, there will have been an occasion where the Dayot Upamecanos of this world had him under lock and key.

The likes of Union Berlin, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen prevented the reigning two-time FIFA Best Player from scoring last season, restricting the supply line and forcing him away from the 18-yard area whilst picking up positive results. What is a thankless task for many is far from mission impossible - especially for Bayern.

3) A deadly attack

Without Lewandowski, Bayern's new-look forward line is still as fearsome as they come.

Julian Nagelsmann's side have scored 60 times in their first 18 competitive matches post-Lewandowski, with Mane hitting nine and having several more chalked off. Four of his goals have come since the sides last met.

Sane, who orchestrated the 2-0 win over Inter Milan on Champions League Matchday 1, has nine goals and five assists, although he misses out on the trip to Barcelona due to injury.

Jamal Musiala has scored eight and set up six, while Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller have had a direct part in nine. The closest fit to a Lewandowski-style No.9, 17-year-old Mathys Tel has already made history as Bayern's youngest scorer with his goals in the DFB Cup and Bundesliga.

And then there's Eric-Choupo Maxim-Moting. The veteran back-up to Lewandowski in the past two seasons has made a habit of proving his doubters wrong, and anyone who thought the 33-year-old's contribution for Bayern would be limited this season will have had to think again. They Bayern No. 13 has been a standout player in recent weeks, getting four goals in his last three matches.

Watch: Bayern's Fab Four

4) Rock-solid foundation

If Bayern's brilliantly pliable and variable attack floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, their defence - taking further inspiraton from Muhammed Ali - is also hard to penetrate.

Bayern have conceded just eight times in 11 Bundesliga matches so far this season, whilst they have kept nine clean sheets in all competitions. No Bundesliga team has won more challenges (1,177 ) than Bayern.

Matthijs de Ligt's arrival alongside Upamecano and Hernandez begs the question: do Bayern have the best stable of centre-backs in the world? Full-backs Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies also have the balance between defence and attack down to a T.

The heartbeat of the Bayern collective, midfielder Joshua Kimmich, has missed only one game in 2022/23. His laser-guided pass unlocked the Inter defence at the San Siro, before his pinpoint corner was headed home by Hernandez for the opening goal in the first meeting with Barcelona. A rejuvenated Marcel Sabitzer played the role of Kimmich's right-hand man early in the campaign, but fit-again Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka has returned to start more recently in some big wins. Goretzka also made a significant contribution as a half-time substitute in the first clash with Barcelona.

Smells like team spirit: Joshua Kimmich (1st.r) is the glue that binds the Bayern defence and attack. - DFL

5) We 8-2 do this to you, Barca fans...

Bayern's overall record against Barca also sits in the German team's favour, with the Munich outfit leading the head-to-head with 10 wins to the Catalans' two, as well as two draws. What's more, Wednesday's visitors have won seven of their last eight against Barcelona and the last five in a row in the Champions League.

Bayern beat Barcelona 3-0 home and away in last season's group stage, but their dominance in the fixture has never been more evident than in their one-legged 2019/20 quarter-final tie. Hansi Flick's sextuple winners romped to an 8-2 win - becoming the first team ever to score eight goals in a single European knockout stage fixture.

Davies providing the enduring image of the contest with an audacious run and assist that broke the internet. The Canadian humilated Lionel Messi and Nelson Semedo on his way to teeing up Kimmich for Bayern's fourth goal.