Monday 13 September 2021
No “violent friction”?
Barcelona presidents explain their argument
For the first time after a dismal 2020 Champions League bankruptcy, Barcelona have to face Bayern Munich again. In advance there are internal disagreements at the highest level. In the meantime, they don’t know what to expect from the German record champions.
Before the Champions League duel on Tuesday (9pm / Amazon Prime Video) Against Bayern Munich, Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman admitted that there were differences with club coach Joan Laporta for the first time. “Yes, there were some small things, but we talked and came to an agreement,” the football coach revealed to reporters in Barcelona. And Spanish media had reported earlier that “heavy friction” between the two men. Laporta has only held his position since March, and Coman was signed a year earlier by his predecessor Josep Bartomeu.
A few days before the Dutchman signed, the Catalans lost 8-2 in the round of 16 of the Champions League in Lisbon against Bayern. Bankruptcy cost coach Quique Setién the task. “I admit I was angry and hurt. I found him lacking in respect,” Koeman said recently in an interview with Spanish newspapers Sport and Mundo Deportivo. In the summer, officials suspended Koeman for several days before making a decision about his future. Last Tuesday, Laporta broke the Esport3 sports radio coach’s spear: “I love Koeman. (…) I spoke to Koeman and he has my support, trust and respect, like all coaches.”
Bayern: “An opponent of fear”
Even without superstar Lionel Messi, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Koeman now wants to “get a good result” against a “frightening opponent” from Munich. “We all know (Munich) is a great team with good and experienced players,” said the 58-year-old former international. A strong opponent is a good thing to “know where we stand”.
Even without Messi, the new season in the third division in the first division last year started well with two wins and one draw. In a 2-1 win over Getafe at the end of August, national goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen celebrated his comeback three months after undergoing knee surgery. This was Barcelona’s last appearance so far. The match in Seville, originally scheduled for last weekend, has been postponed as a result of a row over the South American international players.
Meanwhile, at Bayern, they don’t really know what to expect in their first Champions League game of the season. “It’s intangible,” coach Julian Nagelsmann said before the trip to Spain. “A bright personality left the club. Messi was a player who attracted a lot of balls.” He expects other players to take on more responsibility at Barcelona. “FC Barcelona will never be weak,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said. Of course, Bayern Munich’s 8:2 from the 2020 final in Lisbon still plays a role. “You will never forget a game like this.” Gossip “hurts” Barcelona.