Barcelona reaches the limit in search of an impossible victory against Bayern Munich

BARCELONA – Barcelona come to December in an extreme situation as he hardly remembers in the Champions League, needing to strike against the untouchable Bayern Munich. December 5, 2006 was the last time that the Barça team played the last day of the group stage risking being left out of the crosses, facing that night a German team, Werder Bremen, at the Camp Nou in need of winning to go round. He did so and met a minimum objective that he has been solving since 2002 in the highest competition, a tournament in which being or not being will be played again this Wednesday.

Fifteen years later it does not have Ronaldinho, author of the 1-0 that opened the victory over Werder, nor with Deco, Márquez, Andrés Iniesta or Giuly, prominent protagonists of that night in which a young Lionel Messi, injured, had to do along with Samuel Eto’o and other 95 thousand fans, the step to the front of the team then led by Rijkaard.

This time Messi will not be there either, there is no one left from that squad and Xavi, who played the last twenty minutes in 2006, will lead a Barça with the rope around his neck, orphan of a goal, without Ansu Fati and without the unconditional support of his fans.

He will play it in Munich, where he never won, and although he will do it without an audience in the stands and in front of an opponent already classified as first, that circumstance should not be put on the plane if it is remembered that the last time he faced Bayern Behind closed doors, in Lisbon, he received the worst blow (2-8) in his history in Europe.

And he will play it by presenting a baggage as unprecedented as unworthy of his legend: two goals scored in five days against a rival that totals 19 and that counts his games by victories, capable of sweeping him at the Camp Nou and passing like a gale through Lisbon to overwhelm Benfica with the same sufficiency … which will seek their collaboration to dismount the Catalans from second place: a victory for the Portuguese team over the evicted Dynamo Kiev combined with a stumble by Barça in Munich would cause that much feared overtaking in the Spanish club.

In the Barça dressing room, they try to show their chest by remembering a certain reality: just as in 2006, they depend on themselves to pass the round. Winning would give him the ticket to eighths and if he did not do so, he would still have a bullet in the chamber: Benfica must do it in any case to sigh with exceeding him in the classification.

Barcelona puts on stage an indisputable prestige that has kept it among the great clubs of the Champions League since its creation in 1992, months after winning its first title in what was the farewell to the old European Cup and that remembers that since then He only missed the tournament twice: in the 1995-96 and 2003-04 seasons. No great player on the continent has played the Champions League as many times as Barça.

It is prestige, it is history … And it is also the money that this day is putting into play. An elimination in Munich would cause a real sinkhole in the accounts of the Barça club, which has in its budget to reach the quarterfinals. To fall in the group stage would mean to stop entering the 9.6 million euros with which the pass to the eighth is paid and, of course, not aspire to another 10.6 of prize for qualifying for the quarterfinals. 20.2 million euros that would barely be compensated in 14.9 million that he would receive in total prize … in case of winning the Europa League, a lesser evil that would be considered in May 2022 but, of course, a capital letter at this point in December .

It was on November 8, 2000 the last time that the Barça club suffered the disaster of being eliminated in a group stage of the Champions League. He did not play it in the 2003-04 season but before and after he had always gone further, less in that 2000-01 season.

He played it on the last day, receiving Besiktas at the Camp Nou and, needing to beat the Turkish team, he also required that AC Milan beat Leeds United at San Siro, which was three points ahead of the team led by Louis van Gaal at the time …

But the English team coached by David O’Leary started the necessary draw in Italy that condemned Barça to play the UEFA Cup, in which Liverpool, ultimately champion (defeated Alaves 5-4 in an unforgettable final ), eliminated him in the semifinals.