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"We're Barca" | Messi & co hoping experience tells against Bayern

Dermot Corrigan of The Athletic joined Off The Ball to look ahead to the Champions League clash ...


"We're Barca" | Messi & co hoping experience tells against Bayern

Dermot Corrigan of The Athletic joined Off The Ball to look ahead to the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Catalans find themselves in the rare position as underdogs in a European quarter-final, but Barcelona think they can find a weakness in the Germans' armour.

"Barca feel that Bayern have not been tested and they will be able to test them," Corrigan said.

"What they are saying is 'We're Barcelona, though we've had a very inconsistent season and we haven't been able to hit the heights that we have in previous years.'

"We still have a team that is full of world-class players that is not quite at their best but they have that experience and they have the innate talent to go and do this.'

"Now they have this knockout system, it's like an international tournament. Griezmann said in the press this week how that would suit them.

"The Barca players are used to that format, where the Bayern players are a little bit less experienced in it than Barcelona's.

"Maybe that means that Bayern will have more physicality, more energy but Barca are hoping their extra experience in big games in knockout competitions will count for them.

"Also, Barca have had second legs and away legs in Europe in recent years that have been such a huge mental problem for them.

"Look at how they collapsed at Anfield last year, and at Roma the year before. They were beaten at Bayern [in 2015 and 2013] quite heavily in an away game as well.

"They think that has been their biggest stumbling block over the last few years that psychological problem that they have. Whether they are able to put that away and treat a game at a neutral venue as different, we don't yet know.

"It is going to be very strange and very different and new for everybody involved so they are hoping that is another thing that brings things back in their favour."

Barcelona changes

Barcelona can call on the services of Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal after suspension which could make picking the team a headache for head coach Quique Setien.

"Since Setien came in he changed things around a lot, at the start he started playing three at the back then he started playing four-three-three.

"He was always looking to get the ball forward, play nice football. Now he has realised Barca's best chance, especially against Bayern is to play some extra bodies, to look to hold on to the ball."


"There are a lot of the key men in the Barcelona team are into their 30s, including Messi and Busquets. Then at the back Pique, Jordi Alba, Rakitic, if he plays.

"So there are guys there who won't be able to physically match Bayern over 90 minutes in the heat and if it turns into a ding-dong battle they would be in trouble.

"The idea would be to try to hold the ball up. Leaving Griezmann out is going to be a big call for Setien to make.

"His relationship with Griezmann has not been so good but Setien is walking a difficult line as well.

"He has to try and deal with the expectations of the fans and directors because we still don't know if he'll be there next season as well as the egos in the dressing room.

Antoine Griezemann could be the man to miss out but Corrigan wouldn't be surprised to see the French World Cup winner on the bench.

"Setien has returned back to those guys that know each other really well, Messi, Suarez, Busquets, Pique," says the Athletic correspondent.

"Arturo Vidal is another who could play who is very close to Messi and Suarez off the pitch as well.

"They are hoping to cling to the old core of players, which leaves Griezmann a little out of the picture."

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Antoine Griezmann Barcelona Bayern Munich Champions League Dermot Corrigan Leo Messi Nou Camp