“We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm.” That was Lionel Messi’s brutal assessment of this current Barcelona side as they surrendered their La Liga advantage after football’s restart and watched Real Madrid take their crown.
While the maestro and his team-mates were back on song for the 3-1 win in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli, those words – told to Spanish TV after an embarrassing home defeat to 10-man Osasuna – remain ominous ahead of a quarter-final with Bayern Munich.
The German giants have their sights set on their second-ever treble after crushing their domestic rivals. They have won all eight of their Champions League fixtures this season. And their demolition of Chelsea on Saturday was an emphatic example of their quality.
Unlike a Napoli team which had faded from the force they were before lockdown, this Bayern side will bring intensity and enthusiasm into this quarter-final. In Lisbon’s Estadio de Luz on Friday night, Barca will face a daunting test.
Bayern will also arrive in Portugal with Robert Lewandowski in full flight. The Polish striker has confirmed his status as one of the modern era’s greatest goal scorers this season, finding the net 53 times in 44 appearances across all competitions.
While quality abounds through this Bayern side, their frontman will be the one Barcelona fear.