Group C is the clearly the ‘group of death’ and Xavi’s men find themselves to be right in the eye of the tornado.
The UEFA group stage draw has created some exciting games for the fans. Barca will have to walk through fire just to even qualify for the Round of 16. They will have to play Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen. It is incredibly important to qualify for the knockout stages from both- a sporting and financial perspective. Barca have heavily invested in new signings and now it is upto Xavi to get his tactics right. Let’s take a quick look at the teams we will face in the 22/23 Champions League Group stage:
The clear favourites to win the group and qualify for the next round. Barca have an abysmal record against the German champions with only 2 wins in 13 games. The last few games have seen Bayern simply brush past Barca. They have added Mane , De Ligt, Gravenberch and Mazraoui to an already stellar squad. Julian Nagelsmann has now had some time to begin implementing his tactical blueprint and the attack seems to clicking with Sadio Mane playing the free 9 role effectively. They have started this season on fire with 15 goals in their first three games and only one conceded. This will be Lewandowski’s return to the club he just left. It’s about time we start winning.
The Italian side are coming off a campaign which saw them miss out on the Scudetto by just two points. They are a well coached team with great players in every area of the pitch. Inter have added Lukaku, Correa and Mkhitaryan to an attack that already has Martinez and Dzeko. Like Barca, Inter have also had their share of financial problems off the pitch. They have begun their season with two wins out of two, scoring five goals and conceding just one. The last time Barca met Inter resulted in a 2-1 win for us which is also the infamous game in which Fati scored the winner and Ernesto Valverde was caught napping on the sidelines.
The Czech club are based in Plzen. They play in the Czech first league which is the top division of football. Viktoria Plzen have begun their 22/23 season with two wins and one draw and are currently placed seventh in the league. They complete this incredibly tough group. Plzen are the clear underdogs but in football you just never know. We’ve seen crazier things.
Barca simply must reach the knockout stages of this year’s Champions League. There is just simply no excuse after the summer spending spree. On paper, there is a stellar squad but now we must see them in action. If we can come out this group as winners we’d prove ourselves worthy and finally exorcise the demons of the past.
Visca el Barca!