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Munich Junction: Xavi's past encounters with Bayern ahead of clash as coach - Walla! sport


The games against Bayern Munich were the litmus test of his career as a player - the promising debut, the highlight, the low and the final chord. Now even his first moment of truth as a coach is against them

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Munich Junction: Xavi's past encounters with Bayern ahead of the clash as coach

The games against Bayern Munich were the litmus test of his career as a player - the promising debut, the highlight, the low and the final chord.

Now even his first moment of truth as a coach is against the Bavarian Empire, how will it end this time?


  • Barcelona in football

  • Xavi

  • Bayern Munich

Michael Yochin

Wednesday, 08 December 2021, 14:00 Updated: 14:07

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All goals in the 14th round of the German league (Sports 1)

Xavi will be hosted tonight (Wednesday) by Bayern Munich in his first huge test as Barcelona coach, which is very symbolic - because the Bavarian flagship has a very important place in his resume. Even if the meetings were not particularly frequent, Bayern defined in quite a few ways his career on the grass, and it started back in 1998.

Xavi was then an 18-year-old boy on the reserve team, and coach Luis van Gaal decided to gradually include him in the senior squad. He registered him for participation in the Champions League, and Xavi made his debut in Munich, at the old Olympic Stadium, on October 21. Although he was included for a few minutes as a substitute against Manchester United earlier, this time the Dutch mentor gave him the important role in the back link from the start, instructing him not only to steer his team's game, but mainly to keep Stefan Afenberg.

Bayern then ran over the Catalans unconditionally, were far superior, and Appenberg was one of the standouts on the pitch.

He also scored the winning goal late in the first half, although the move started with a free kick, and in the specific situation Xavi was not to blame.

The result was supposed to be higher than 0: 1, and Van Hal himself admitted this at the end of the match.

This is how Bayern won the first ever game in the Champions League against Barcelona.

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Show sparks.

Young Xavi vs. Torsten Pink (Photo: GettyImages, Martin Rose)

Xavi's performance was defined as positive, he was based in the squad, and remained there even after two weeks when Barça hosted Bayern for a very important game. A victory was essential then to maintain a reasonable chance of surviving in the House of Death, and the young midfielder was involved in an attack that led to a Giovanni penalty in the first half, but the Catalans collapsed after the break, Omar Hitzfeld's side made a 1-2 move, and the disappointment was petition.

The Champions League final was held that season at the Camp Nou, and the great hope was to reach the status quo and lift the trophy for the second time in the club’s history. Instead, Bayern went on to do so alongside Manchester United, and everyone knows how it ended. The fiasco in the European arena caused a not-so-simple shock, and Xavi then returned in the second round mainly to the reserve team.

It also led him to seriously consider accepting the dream offer made to him by Milan in the summer of 1999. At San Siro, in addition to the incredible financial conditions, he was offered a very quick professional promotion, while at Barça it was not certain.

The actor himself and his father tended to move to Italy, but if the family vetoed - and so Xavi remained at the Camp Nou.

And for a decade he was there on a good player standard, but not beyond that.

Xavi advanced in Van Gaal's second term, but in the Frank Rijkaard era he felt rejected.

"He wanted us to have physical superiority over the opponent, and he did not believe me. In his view, with players like me we had no chance of succeeding in the Champions League. For several years, I was defined as useless. Who needs a 170-centimeter player? I was Barça's cancer," he later testified. Xavi.

The game that established him as a legend.

Xavi vs. Brno in 2009 (Photo: GettyImages, Etsuo Hara)

So, in the summer of 2008, after the dizzying success on the way to winning the European Championship in Luis Aragones' Spanish uniform, he was definitely open to hearing interesting offers and leaving home. And who tried to take advantage of the situation? Bayern Munich, of course. Contacts with Karl-Heinz Romaniga were kept secret, and Xavi himself only found out about their existence in 2014, but it was very serious. "A meeting took place, the agent was present and we discussed all the details," the contact said. When Pep Guardiola learned of this, the new Barça coach hurried to persuade Xavi to stay and promised to build the team around him, because he is an integral part of the plans. Bayern were left without him, and Xavi has indeed become an eternal legend thanks to Pep.

The game that established this most of all in Guardiola's brilliant first season was - why not? - Against Bayern Munich. The Blaugrana football was breathtaking at the time, but many commentators had doubts ahead of the meeting against the Bavarians in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They were not justified, and Bayern came to the Camp Nou with a not-so-simple crisis in Jurgen Klinsmann's short and failed term.

Xavi and Andres Iniesta gave a concert in the center of the field, and already in the first half the Catalans led 0: 4. It was one of the most perfect halves, and it paved the way for winning the treble. She also sharpened Romania's frustration over the failure of the Xavi deal, though he never spoke about it publicly. And the connection itself? He was happy that she was not tempted to leave for Germany.

In the rematch, by the way, it ended 1: 1, when Xavi cooked up the equalizer of Saidou Keita.

That is why his resume as a foreign player does not include a victory over Bayern.

He had very much hoped to get it in the Champions League semi-finals in 2013, when he took to the pitch at the Allianz Arena with the captain’s armband in the absence of Carles Puyol, but tonight ended in the biggest defeat of his career.

Bayern had intentions to avenge the fiasco from 4 years ago, and they did so with a crushing 0: 4 of their own.

It then seemed like the end of an era in Barcelona, ​​and in a sense it was the sign of Xavi's decline as an almighty architect.

The biggest defeat in his career.

Xavi vs. Schweinsteiger (Photo: GettyImages, Boris Streubel)

"They were better, and we have to accept that. We could not translate the ball possession into situations, we were not dangerous, and they hit us in bursts. It is a terrible result, but we have 90 minutes to try and work a miracle," Xavi said after a whistle. The end. A miracle was not there. At the Camp Nou, Bayern also won 0: 3, and Xavi was replaced in the 55th minute. Bayern won the treble, Guardiola arrived in Munich that summer, and Xavi settled for 2013/14 in a tough season with Tata Martino on the lines. This was the beginning of the end.

Before it ended with an exciting departure with lots of tears in May 2015, Xavi won the treble again in his final season at Camp Nou, but his share was already smaller. This was especially emphasized again against Bayern - a sort of litmus paper of his career. In the two meetings against the Bavarians in the Champions League semi-final, coach Luis Enrique put him in, with whom he collaborated on the grass in that game against Bayern in 1998, only for the last minutes.

Ivan Rakitić was already the car player in his place alongside Iniesta.

Xavi saw from the bench how Leo Messi dismantled Bayern 0: 3 in the first game of the Camp Nou, and the Allianz Arena experienced the last minutes on the grass in an away game in the Champions League, with Barcelona losing 3: 2 in return.

Yes, he went down there defeated again, even if the loss was actually a victory.

Xavi's personal balance sheet summary with Bayern stands, then, at 2 wins versus 5 losses in 8 meetings.

This includes the debut, the closing chord, the record and the low.

Everything was there.

Tonight he starts writing against Bayern also his chapter as a coach, and this time an away victory is required already on the first attempt, against all odds.

Is it possible?

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Source: walla

All sports articles on 2021-12-08

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