Xavi and Barcelona on the edge of the abyss?

On the edge of the precipice against the ogre Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona risks Wednesday (8:00 p.m.) a second elimination in a row from the group stage of the Champions League, another snub, which could precipitate Xavi towards his first crisis of coach.

Barça could even know its fate before the start of its match: if Inter Milan beats the modest Viktoria Plzen at home (6:45 p.m.), the Blaugrana club will automatically be eliminated from the race for the knockout stages.

“There is a slim hope, but we know it will be very complicated”, pointed out Xavi in ​​a pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “We no longer have our destiny in our hands. But regardless of what happens in Milan, “we have to prove that we can compete against these kinds of teams”encouraged the Catalan coach.

The Catalans still have in mind the last slaps received against the Bavarian club, crowned European champion in 2020.

That year, Bayern crushed Barça 8-2 in the quarter-finals in Lisbon. The biggest correction received by the Catalan club in the Champions League. A score that still persists, like an open wound, in the minds of all Blaugrana supporters.

But also the following year: Lionel Messi gone, Bayern had swept the Catalans 3-0 in the first leg, 3-0 in the return, to send them directly to the Europa League without seeing the round of 16 for the first time in 21 year.

Not to mention the 2-0 defeat in the first leg this season on September 13 at the Allianz Arena.

“We had to react”

The disappointment after the 3-3 draw with Inter that brought them closer to elimination two weeks ago was heightened by the 3-1 loss in the La Liga clasico to Real Madrid at the weekend. next end at the Santiago-Bernabéu.

Since then, Barça have reacted: a resounding 3-0 victory against Villarreal on Thursday, then another, equally brilliant, 4-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday at the Camp Nou, including a goal and three assists from Ousmane Dembélé .

The French winger also made the front page of the two main Catalan sports newspapers on Tuesday (Sport and Mundo Deportivo). “We had to react”commented Xavi after this meeting, satisfied to have recovered some injured like Jules Koundé.

“Whatever happens, we will have to keep this mentality. The feeling of confidence is there. She is good. If we don’t qualify, we have to continue.”Xavi harangued on Tuesday.

A week after having shone in Paris, with the Kopa trophy (best young player, editor’s note) given by Pedri to his teammate Gavi (uncertain against Bayern) and the Gerd Müller trophy (top scorer) won by Robert Lewandowski (as well as the Ballon d ‘women’s gold for Alexia Putellas), Barca will face their worst nightmare on Wednesday at the Camp Nou.

Bayern, without Neuer

Especially since Bayern are coming in force. After a mixed start to the season in the league (one defeat and three draws in its first seven matches), the Bavarian giant has regained its appetite in C1: the teammates of Sadio Mané, replacing Lewandowski on the attacking front, have so far had their fill on the continental scene, with four successes in as many matches.

They are even at eleven consecutive victories during the group stage of the C1, and even 32 consecutive matches without defeat in the group stage of the C1…

But this time, the Bavarians also arrive with some question marks at Camp Nou. Their emblematic goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is hit in the shoulder, Leroy Sané in the hamstrings, Lucas Hernandez in the adductors and Bouna Sarr in one knee.

Nothing to panic though, the pressure is on the shoulders of the Catalans. Especially since the Bavarians could almost share the joy of the Catalans at kick-off: if Inter do not win against Plzen, Bayern will qualify for the round of 16 as first in group C, promising them a draw more favorable. This will also be the case if he wins one of his two remaining matches, against Barça or Inter.

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