While the collective hope of this fandom is a victory today, it is important to weigh in possible scenarios our playing eleven could go through. We are not at our mighty best but the team on the other side of the pitch seem to be. Mathematically speaking, they have better chances, but, as long as we have Leo Messi, nothing is unachievable.
Threats are not only there for Barcelona, they are pace-packed and conscientious. Having Joshua Kimmich on their side gives them a versatile, quick thinker and highly adaptable secretary of multiple affairs. Very close to him is Xavi 2.0 – Thiago Alcantara, who, despite having 29% chance of getting injured, in his best days, will spoon-feed chances to either flanks creating an opening for the striker.
With Kimmich, Pavard doesn’t need to fly up the pitch, maintaining a high back line with Boateng and Alaba. Gnabry and Coman would occupy half spaces thanks to Davies and Kimmich. To all that, if you add Muller on playmaking second striker position (or less preferred, Coutinho) close to the dangerous Lewandowski, your opponent need a lot of muscle.
On their smoothest of transitions, Bayern construct 5-3-1-2 switching to 2-1-2-2-3, 2-4-1-3. Their comfort zone is 4-2-3-1, which would hardly be threatened by Barcelona’s 4-3-1-2 because it does not require Bayern to stretch its defense. When threats are relatively low, Bayern can build up with two center backs. At any point we see that today, it would just mean Bayern do not give two flying ducks.
Bayern are equipped with cerebral pace, while Barcelona have to wait for Semedo’s good luck or Alba’s blue moon miracle. Kimmich/Pavard and Gnabry VS Alba and Davies, Perisic VS Semedo easily leaves Bayern with 2 vs 1 advantage because of pace. Barcelona cannot supply De Jong or Rakitic and/or Vidal to help their full backs because it opens Kimmich and Thiago, which is unaffordable.
If Pavard plays, Kimmich could occasionally drop down close to Alaba to keep Messi, who only runs when he has to, silent. Speed and versatility will be a key factor when it comes to pseudo ghost marking Messi, as Kimmich is one of the most important players of Hans Flick era.
Boateng would have to shift his focus to Suarez, whose whimsical form can either make or break Blaugrana scoreline.
Barcelona defense will face Lewandowski, Gnabry, Coman, Muller, Davies, Kimmich and Pavard. When they switch to 5-3-2-1, Barcelona will want Busquets, De Jong at their prime best. Marc Andres will have to demonstrate why he deserves the number one spot for his country over legendary Neuer.
The writer personally thinks Dembele will be a wildcard for Barcelona side and is the one to watch out for, if he plays.
Kimmich, again, will be the most important player who will not only try to ignite the Hans Flick attack but also tame the dragon that is Messi. After all, kitzle niemals einen schlafenden drachen.
Bayern: Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Thiago; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
Barcelona: Marc Andres Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Dejong; Griezmann; Messi, Suarez, Dembele.