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Barcelona vs Bayern Munich. UEFA Champions League Quarter Final.

Estadio da Luz.

Barcelona 2

  • D Alaba (7th minute own goal)
  • L Suárez (57th minute)

Bayern Munich 8

  • T Müller (4th minute, 31st minute)
  • I Perisic (21st minute)
  • S Gnabry (27th minute)
  • J Kimmich (63rd minute)
  • R Lewandowski (82nd minute)
  • P Coutinho (85th minute, 89th minute)

Barcelona v Bayern Munich: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski face off in mouth-watering Champions League quarter-final

Sky Sports' Peter Smith looks ahead to a heavyweight clash between Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Kick-off 8pm, Friday. Follow the build-up, action and fallout on the Sky Sports website and app with our live blog.

Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski go head-to-head when Barcelona face Bayern Munich on Friday night in the Champions League quarter-finals
Image: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski go head-to-head when Barcelona face Bayern Munich on Friday night in the Champions League quarter-finals

"We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm." That was Lionel Messi's brutal assessment of this current Barcelona side as they surrendered their La Liga advantage after football's restart and watched Real Madrid take their crown.

While the maestro and his team-mates were back on song for the 3-1 win in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli, those words - told to Spanish TV after an embarrassing home defeat to 10-man Osasuna - remain ominous ahead of a quarter-final with Bayern Munich.

The German giants have their sights set on their second-ever treble after crushing their domestic rivals. They have won all eight of their Champions League fixtures this season. And their demolition of Chelsea on Saturday was an emphatic example of their quality.

Unlike a Napoli team which had faded from the force they were before lockdown, this Bayern side will bring intensity and enthusiasm into this quarter-final. In Lisbon's Estadio de Luz on Friday night, Barca will face a daunting test.

Bayern will also arrive in Portugal with Robert Lewandowski in full flight. The Polish striker has confirmed his status as one of the modern era's greatest goal scorers this season, finding the net 53 times in 44 appearances across all competitions.

While quality abounds through this Bayern side, their frontman will be the one Barcelona fear.

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Lewandowski to light up Lisbon?

Robert Lewandowski scored twice and made two goals in Bayern's thumping win
Image: Robert Lewandowski scored twice and made two goals in Bayern's thumping win over Chelsea

Chelsea's defence has well-documented problems and Lewandowski feasted on that weakness, scoring three times and recording four assists during the 7-1 aggregate thrashing of Frank Lampard's side.

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With that show of strength, Lewandowski became the first player in 15 years to record over three goals and three assists in a Champions League tie but given he has struck in each of his seven appearances in this competition - and leads the way with 13 goals overall - Chelsea aren't the first to feel his force on the European stage this season.

Remarkably, his return of a goal every 47 minutes in the 2019/20 edition means he has the best strike rate of any player in history for a single season of the European Cup/Champions League (min. 500mins).

Barcelona have the previously-suspended Sergio Busquets back for this one and how they'll need him to cut off the supply line to Bayern's star, who will no doubt have centre-backs Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet facing restless nights on the eve of the contest.

Barca-Bayern head-to-head record

This is the first Champions League meeting between Barcelona and Bayern Munich since 2014/15, when Barcelona knocked Bayern out in the semi-final. However, Barcelona have lost more Champions League games against Bayern than any other club, losing five of their eight matches against them (W2 D1).

Lewandowski's class in front of goal is not new, of course. He has scored more goals than any foreign player in Bundesliga history and averages 29 league goals per season over the past five seasons. But there is finally momentum behind the campaign to recognise that quality amid the huge numbers routinely posted by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The cancellation of this season's Ballon d'Or may be cruelly timed for Lewandowski, who would have been strongly-placed to take the prestigious title from six-time winner Messi.

The Barcelona man takes up his place in the other corner on Friday night for this mouth-watering heavyweight clash of European superpowers and goal-scoring stars.

Messi's stupendous quality remains, there is no doubt about that. His sumptuous finish and penalty-win against Napoli was a reminder of how he can still drag this Barcelona side to important victories.

And while his 25 goals in 33 La Liga appearances this season was down on the 36 goals in 34 appearances he managed in 2018/19, it was a return still good enough to claim a seventh La Liga golden boot. There was the incredible haul of 21 assists to go with it as well.

Messi-Lewandowski face off

Since May, when football resumed in Europe's top-five leagues, the two players involved in the most goals in all competitions are Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (14 goals, 3 assists) and Barcelona's Lionel Messi (7 goals, 9 assists).

But, his Champions League tally for this campaign is just three goals from seven appearances - he is on course for his lowest return since 2006/07 when he was just 20 years old - and it has not been one of his great seasons, collectively or individually.

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This Barcelona team under Quique Setien are far from the power they were a few seasons ago, with inconsistency undermining their La Liga title pursuit and a costly record of just one win against the rest of Spain's top four this season putting a question mark over their ability to deliver when their little magician doesn't.

With a direct involvement in over 53 per cent of Barcelona's league goals this season, Messi remains Barcelona's go-to man. And the onus on him to perform on Friday night is clear.

Image: Messi has been vocal about his frustrations with Barcelona's season

If he is unable to match the levels Lewandowski looks so likely to bring, a Champions League exit and trophyless season will be on the cards - just the second season of Messi's career when he hasn't got his hands on some form of major silverware.

That is a situation Barcelona can hardly afford with Messi now 33 years old, out of contract in 2021 and, for the first time, facing genuine questions over what his next step will be.

Come kick-off on Friday evening, though, his focus will be solely on that Champions League quarter-final. But will his "weak" team be able to summon up the strength to see off the might of Lewandoski and Bayern Munich?

Lewandowski great but Messi better, says Setien

Quique Setien
Image: Setien says Barca forward Messi is superior to Bayern striker Lewandowski

Quique Setien insists Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi remains a cut above Bayern Munich's prolific striker Robert Lewandowski.

"Lewandowski is a great player but I think he is not at the level of Leo, I think that is clear," said Setien.

"It's true he is in a fantastic moment, it's 13 goals in the Champions League and he's well assisted by a lot of team-mates around him.

"But Leo's in a great moment too as we saw against Napoli. It's good these players are out there on the pitch and we can enjoy them.

"Leo Messi can help us win this game, of course, but I always believe in the strength of the team. You have to help Messi and give him the ball.

"It's true he can make goals for himself but without the strength of the team, Leo would be less, just like any other player you can highlight."

Sule: Bayern have a unique team spirit

Niklas Sule's goal was enough to give Bayern Munich victory
Image: Sule has recovered from a long-term knee injury

Meanwhile, Bayern centre-back Niklas Sule is back in action after almost 10 months sidelined due to knee surgery, and is tipping the Bundesloga champions to see off the Catalans.

"I think we have a unique team spirit," Sule told Bayern's official club website.

"It's something that I've not experienced before, the way we interact with each other.

"It's always been special here but really, the team spirit we've had this year has been exceptionally good.

"It's incredibly difficult to win this Champions League title, but I think we have the opportunity, with our squad, to achieve something special this year."

Team news

Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng suffered a knee injury in the 4-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday but has travelled with the squad.

However, Niklas Sule, who returned for his first competitive appearance since tearing his ACL in October, is available if Boateng is declared unfit to start.

Benjamin Pavard is reportedly in contention to play after recovering from injury but Joshua Kimmich could continue at right-back, while Manchester United transfer target Kingsley Coman could also make a return after a muscle strain.

For Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele has returned to training after six months on the sidelines due to hamstring surgery and Sergio Busquets is available following suspension.

Match stats

  • Barcelona and Bayern Munich have both reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the 18th time (in 24 and 23 appearances respectively), more than any other team.
  • Barcelona are in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the 13th consecutive year - that's every season since 2007/08, a record in the history of the competition.
  • Robert Lewandowski has been directly involved in 17 goals in the UEFA Champions League this season (13 goals, 4 assists), six more than any other player. In four appearances under Hans-Dieter Flick, the Pole has scored eight goals and assisted four, averaging a goal or assist every 29 minutes.
  • Luis Suárez's last 16 UEFA Champions League goals for Barcelona have all been scored at Camp Nou - the last time he scored a goal not at Camp Nou was in September 2015 at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma; since then, he has played 1,896 minutes and had 67 shots without scoring at 19 different grounds.
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