It didn’t send boots aquaking in Catalunya, but it is a team to respect based on their precedent. If there is one demon they will have to overcome in order to get to that historic treble, they will have to do so against a side that they have never beaten.
Never Beaten Bayern
In four matches against the Bavarian giants, the Blaugrana do not know what victory feels like. Bayern defeated Barcelona in the semis of the UEFA Cup, and the Germans would come out on top with a 4-3 aggregate en route to becoming the first German team to raise all three European trophies back in 1996. They would meet again in the group stages of the Champions League two years later and it would be Bayern that would get the best of them winning both games of the group stages as they would be a minute away from the Champions League title if it weren’t for an epic comeback by Manchester United.
Two Old Friends Meet Again
Earlier this decade, Josep Guardiola left a Barca side to head and have a fresh start over in Brescia. He became yet one more example of the relationship between the Blaugrana and their idols. When he got there as one of the big acquisitions of the summer. It was a team that had the potential to do some damage, but in the end it was Guardiola that suffered the most. The club ended up in 14th place, and the highlight of the season was they ended up as Intertoto Cup runners-up. That team was one full of studs. Andrea Pirlo, a rarely available Guardiola, Antonio Filippini, Daniele Bonera, Igli Tare, and the man that put Brescia in the epicenter of Italian football- Roberto Baggio. He was the talk in 2002 as to whether he was going to be part of Giovanni Trappatoni’s side. But there was a young player that played two seasons on this Brescia side. In 44 matches, he scored 15 goals and he started to grab the attention of the Italian football scene.
Luca Toni would then move to Palermo where he would become capo cannoniere on a side that he would help bring back to Serie A. He once again proved his goalscoring prowess with the rosanero scoring 50 goals in 80 matches and leading them to a spot in the UEFA Cup in only their first season in the Italian top flight.
MvB Returns To The Nou Camp
Mark Van Bommel will make his return to Barcelona after his departure three seasons ago. The fiery Dutch midfielder. “It is very exciting to be able to play again in Barcelona. It will be the first time that I have been back. The fact that I will be returning to what was my home for a year is very special,” he added.
It is obvious that there is a huge mountain to climb, but to be honest it gets steeper the closer Rome gets. The winner of this matchup will end up playing the winner of Liverpool-Chelsea. There is no two ways about it, there is no doubt that Barcelona are in the toughest part of their schedule and the margin for error has reduced exponentially. Despite all of this, the subplots as well as the potential play on the pitch will make this probably one of the most exciting ties of the quarterfinals. It could be even more exciting than Chelsea-Liverpool from a tactical perspective.
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