Barcelona will come up against arguably the best team in Europe right now when they face Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday.
Hansi Flick’s side won a domestic double and dispatched Chelsea with ease in their round-of-16 tie.
They also have a striker in Robert Lewandowski who many believe is the best player in the planet right now.
That includes Bayern Munich and Germany great Lothar Matthaus.
“[Lionel] Messi faces his successor as the best player in the world: Robert Lewandowski. He is the best player, not just the best forward,” Matthaus told Bild ahead of the quarter-finals.
While Bayern have been firing on all cylinders, it’s been a difficult season in Catalonia.
Barcelona stuttered following the resumption of football in Spain and handed the La Liga title to Real Madrid.
They were also beaten in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.
Messi has been exceptional once again but he’s been forced to do much of the work on his own.
This isn’t a great Barcelona side. Take Messi out and it’s up for debate whether they would have reached the last eight.
Yet Barcelona fans remain optimistic about their chances and one has sparked controversy on Twitter this week by asking how many Bayern Munich players would get into Quique Setien’s starting line-up.
“Serious question: How many Bayern players make it into our starting XI?”, was the question posed by @totalBarca.
They later added: “No more than 3.”
After being hit with a wave of responses, the account proceeded to create a combined XI from the two teams, explaining their selection process along the way.
In the end, just four Bayern players made it in.
We’ve included their selections below.
Goalkeeper | Ter Stegen vs Neuer
“With no disrespect to Neuer, this one isn’t even close anymore. MATS is well and clear at the top of the goalkeeping hierarchy in my opinion. A 2015 Neuer would have changed my decision. We’re in 2020 now. Simple.”
Winner: Ter Stegen
Right-back | Semedo vs Kimmich
“Again, not really a close one. It’s no surprise to anybody that RB is a position we’ve struggled with for a while, and despite Semedo’s best efforts, he’s not pushing Kimmich out of this team. Again, simple.”
Centre-back | Pique vs Boateng
“To be quite honest, I was shocked to discover that Boateng is still starting for Bayern. The Messi disco in 2015 probably still haunts him. I’m not sure who would pick him over Gerard Piqué. I certainly wouldn’t.”
Centre-back | Lenglet vs Alaba
“Lenglet has again been fantastic this season. Always goes unnoticed, but the guy is a top, top defender. A makeshift 5’11 CB isn’t going to be enough to shift him out of the team. Again another straightforward choice.”
Left-back | Alba vs Davies
“If this question was asked last year, Alba would be in with no hesitation. However, there has been a clear decline this season and the physical attributes of Davies alone would probably be enough to push him out of the team.”
Central midfield | Busquets vs Goretzka
“Bayern dont play with a lone DM the way we do but whoever it was being compared to Busquets, the outcome would be the same. He gets into the team. Simple. The same way he’d moonwalk into Bayern’s actual midfield.”
Central midfield | De Jong vs Muller
“Understandably, Muller doesn’t play as a CM. However, if you’re simply choosing who you’d rather have in your team, the answer is clear. Frenkie is world-class at 23. One of the first names on the team sheet.”
Winner: De Jong
Central midfield | Rakitic vs Thiago
“Again, this one's pretty easy. Thiago is an elite, pearl of a midfielder. He gets into most teams. Whether it’s Rakitic or Vidal, Thiago gets in. A jewel from La Masia.”
Forward | Messi vs Gnabry
“There’s nothing to say.”
Forward | Suarez vs Lewandowski
“Based on careers and legacy, Suarez is so clear. A prime Suarez is incomparable to a prime Lewa. Different levels. However this isn’t prime Suarez and so as a result he loses out. Lewandowski is in the form of his life.”
Forward | Griezmann vs Perisic
“Again, a strange comparison but no matter who you compare to him, Griezmann comes out on top. Neither Coman or Coutinho are better players. Griezmann gets into this team the same way Dembele or Ansu would. Easy.”
So just four Bayern players get in.
Unsurprisingly, @totalBarca's choices sparked an almighty stir...
- Lewandowski was robbed of Ballon d'Or
- Pirlo picked Messi in dream XI - but not CR7
- Messi's goal v Napoli with Peter Drury commentary