Barcelona and Bayern Munich are the only two quarter-finalists in this season’s edition who have won the Champions League previously, with the duo lifting the continental trophy fives times each.
However, one of the two European giants will not even reach the semi-finals as they will be up against each other in a quarter-final clash at the Estadio da Luiz on Friday night. It will be their fourth meeting in the knockout stages of the Champions League in the last 12 years.
Barcelona have struggled for consistency this season and conceded the La Liga title race to their arch-rivals, Real Madrid. The Blaugrana have been carried single-handedly at times by Lionel Messi, who was exceptional in the 3-1 win over Napoli in the Round of 16 second leg.
In contrast, Bayern Munich have been in scintillating form and have already won two trophies in the form of the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal.
On the European front, the Bavarians have won all their Champions League fixtures this season and will head into their clash against Barcelona on the back of a 4-1 win over Chelsea in the Round of 16 second leg.
Despite their contrasting fortunes, Barcelona versus Bayern Munich is expected to be an epic single-legged affair. On that note, let us revisit three of the most memorable recent clashes between the two European powerhouses.
#3 Barcelona 3 – 0 Bayern Munich (Semi-final, 1st leg, 2015)
Pep Guardiola, the then-Bayern Munich manager, returned to the Camp Nou and was proved right. “There is no system that can stop Leo Messi,” he had said, “and no coach, either.”
Two goals in three minutes from the Argentinian, both superb, shook Bayern to the core before Neymar completed the scoring by finding the back of the net late on.
The game was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests as both teams created several goalscoring opportunities before Barcelona finally broke the deadlock in the 77th minute.
After the first goal, Bayern Munich just could not handle the counter-attacking tactics of the Catalan giants, who actually had less possession than the Bavarians.
#2 Bayern Munich 4 – 0 Barcelona (Semi-final 1st leg, 2013)
Bayern Munich decimated Barcelona 4-0 in the 2013 Champions League semi-final first leg on their way to winning a historic treble.
The Jupp Heynckes-managed side produced a magnificent performance laced with power, intensity and quality to give the Catalan superstars a mauling. It was Barcelona’s worst defeat in Europe since they were beaten by the same scoreline by Dynamo Kiev in 1997.
Thomas Muller gave Bayern an early lead and their superiority was confirmed when Mario Gomez added a second just after half-time.
Arjen Robben tormented a desperately vulnerable Barcelona defence, adding a third before Muller got his second near the end to put the tie out of Barcelona’s reach even before the second leg.
In an intense atmosphere inside a packed and jubilant Allianz Arena, Bayern looked like a team intent on erasing the bitter memories of their Champions League final defeat to Chelsea on penalties in the same venue the previous season.
The Bavarians then won the return leg 3-0 at the Camp Nou to comprehensively beat Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate.
#1 Bayern Munich 3 – 2 Barcelona (Semi-final 2nd leg, 2015)
Following their 3-0 defeat in the first leg, Bayern Munich managed to salvage some pride after winning the return leg 3-2 in Germany. By virtue of winning the tie 5-3 on aggregate, Barcelona reached their first Champions League final since 2011.
Needing three goals without a reply to level the tie, Bayern revived their hopes through Medhi Benatia‘s early header.
But Barcelona soon equalized through Neymar, who put the finishing touches to Luis Suarez’s pass, with the duo combining to the same effect to give the visitors the lead going into the half-time break.
Although Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller scored in the second half, it was too little to late as Barcelona inflicted sweet revenge for their 7-0 debacle at the hands of the Bavarians two seasons earlier.
The Spanish giants, managed by Luis Enrique, beat Juventus in the final and won their second treble, having won La Liga and the Copa del Rey earlier.