Barcelona need a result against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to ensure they qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League but Julian Nagelsmann will not be making it easy
Julian Nagelsmann insists he will put out a full strength Bayern Munich side for their clash with Barcelona on Wednesday.
The Bavarians have already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, but their opponents however need to better Benfica’s result to ensure they keep hold of second place and progress into the knockout stages.
Bayern’s lead at the top of Group E means they could opt to rest their established stars at the Allianz Arena.
But Nagelsmann has no plans to do so, which will come as a boost to Benfica and their hopes of securing a place in the Last 16.
Asked about his lineup, the German coach said: “We will play with our best team available. Greetings to Lisbon (Benfica), don’t worry.”
However, Bayern are without a host of star names, including Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Marcel Sabitzer, all due to injury. Joshua Kimmich won’t be risked after recently testing positive for Covid-19 either.
“Josh will get tested tomorrow and will normally go out of quarantine,” said Nagelsmann. “But it doesn’t make sense to play him tomorrow. We have to look for Saturday.”
Benfica host Dynamo Kyiv, who have yet to win any of their five games in Europe thus far, in Lisbon.
Barcelona meanwhile face a tough task in seeing off the Bundesliga champions, who won 3-0 at the Nou Camp earlier this season, on their own patch.
The Catalans are in the midst of a transitional period under Xavi, who has only been at the helm for a matter of weeks.
Nevertheless Nagelsmann is adamant the Spanish side still pose a serious threat.
He added: “Barça still have world-class players. They are under pressure in the table and have to win, they will give everything for that.
“It’s not about sending them out of the competition, but about three points for us. I still see them as a candidate for the title.
“We’re happy that we’re going into this game having already secured top spot. Nevertheless it’s still an important game. The Champions League is always something special – and we want to be fair to the rest of the teams in the group””
Barcelona have a damning recent history again Bayern, however, including the 8-2 quarter-final destruction just over a year ago.
Their win back in September underlined their current dominance, with Bayern aiming to regain the Champions League crown they lost last season, having beaten PSG back in 2020.
Kingsley Coman scored the winner that night at the Estadio da Luz and insists the Bavarians are focused on winning every game as they continue to evolve.
The Frenchman said: “We still have many things to improve. We have always wanted to win since the first match.
“We’re building more and more confidence and trying to win every game. All teams in the Champions League are strong, so we want to win every game.”
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Bayern warmed up for their clash on Wednesday by beating Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker thanks to a Robert Lewandowski penalty.
It resulted in Jude Bellingham questioning the refereeing appointment, after the winning spot kick was given following consultation with VAR.
The former Birmingham City youngster has been fined by German authorities but will not be banned.