Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann will not let his team sleep on FC Barcelona — even if the match means very little in the grand scheme of things for the Bavarians.
The head coach can see a markedly improved Barca side, which he expects to be much more dangerous than what Bayern Munich faced last month.
“Barcelona had a lot of chances in the first half. We scored with our first chance. We were good in the second. It was a game of two different halves. Barça could’ve been 3-0 up in the first half. We had the problem of not converting chances in the Bundesliga,” Nagelsmann said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “Barça currently have a lot of things from the time when they were very successful — very good counter-pressing, a lot of good signings who fit in well with the philosophy. They are definitely one of the best teams in Europe. I’m sure we’ll see that tomorrow.”
Nagelsmann thinks there is an element of mystery to FC Barcelona this time around as well. Both style and personnel could be different than the last time the teams met.
“We don’t know at 100% what Barça will be up to. Against Bilbao they were more focused on control. I can imagine them playing with two #6’s to have more control. We’ll know that tomorrow,” Nagelsmann said. “It is also possible that (Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong) will start. We are very well prepared for a lot of scenarios. When we get the lineup, we’ll be able to go into the final details. In general, we are very well prepared.”
With the Catalans’ own Champions League hopes hanging in the balance — and potentially determined before Bayern and Barca take the pitch, Nagelsmann insists he has no preference on who else from the group makes it through to the knockout round.
“I don’t have an answer to that, it’s not that important to me who qualifies. The most important thing is that we’re through and that we finish first. The rest doesn’t matter to me,” Nagelsmann said. “We want to win, it’s about first place in the group. We have nothing against Barcelona. It’s about winning a prestigious duel. If you want to win the Champions League, you also have to send signals internally and externally. Tomorrow it’s time to send a signal again.”
Interested in a more in-depth preview of the game? Then why not check out the latest episode of our podcast? We talk about the emergence of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting as a legitimate striker option, as well as what Barcelona have in store for us. Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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