5:50 a.m., August 14, 2020
For David Alaba there is much more at stake in the coming days. On the sidelines of the final tournament in Lisbon, Munich want to meet the Viennese’s agent, whom Barca should also be interested in. “We made an appointment a few weeks ago, if we qualify for Lisbon, that we will meet there . I don’t know whether it will be a final conversation at the end of the day, “said Bayern Munich’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge opposite Sky about the planned meeting with Zahavi pines. Rummenigge once again emphasized that he wanted to keep Alaba, which is currently engaged until summer 2021. “We have always said that we are interested in David staying at Bayern Munich. I think David knows what too Bayern Munich for him, “said Rummenigge on Thursday before departure for Portugal.
On Friday, Alaba will once again be in demand as a central defender. Left-back Alphonso Davies, who had to pass in training on Wednesday due to an injury, reported fit again – Alaba’s possible stepping in in his former position is no longer an issue. For Alaba it is the third game against the Catalans, so far he has always left the field as the winner: In the semifinals of 2012/13 he made one assist in each of the 4-0 and 3-0 victories, and Bayern subsequently took in the final against the BVB the last of a total of five CL and Champion Cup triumphs.
Barca also hold on to this number, so the Friday duel is the clear quarter-final hit: They are the only CL winners in the field. And the winner of the previous three knockout round duels also won the title – Barcelona in 2009 and 2015, and Bayern in 2013. They are now going into a game as a slight favorite that gives the Spaniards the chance to save a messed up season with a title. Bayern won 22 of 23 games in 2020 in a draw. In the CL round of 16 last Saturday they gave Chelsea after 3-0 in the first leg, another 4-1 rebuff.
The eleventh duel between the two teams (6 Bayern wins, 2 draws, 2 wins from Barca) will probably also be a duel between the two German goalkeepers Manuel Neuer (Bavaria) and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but especially between the offensive stars Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi. Much depends on which of the two has the better day: With 53 goals in 44 season games, Lewandowski is the absolute guarantee of success.
But Barcelona has Messi, the often alien. To stop the little Argentine is a task that many teams have failed to accomplish. Not just recently Napleswho lost 3-1 after a 1-1 draw in the first leg last Saturday in Barcelona – “der Flea” scored a goal and got a penalty. Even Bayern with Messi connoisseurs Pep Guardiola in the last duel in 2015, when Messi fooled the Munich defense twice in the 3-0 first leg and was able to overcome Neuer. Alaba was not injured at the time.
Stop messi? “I think it only works as a collective,” replied Bayern’s midfielders Leon Goretzka. The young Davies is particularly challenged as a nominally direct opponent. “But we also know that there are a lot more stars at Barcelona than just Messi,” said Goretzka – for example the offensive aces Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann. “We know it’s difficult,” said the latter in an interview on the Barca website, “but we also know that it will have the quality to qualify for the semi-finals.”