BARCELONA’s first-round exit from the UEFA Champions League came after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie. The club’s second-round exit came after Bayern Munich beat them 3-0 at Camp Nou. Xavi’s side exited the group stage of the competition for the second year in a row. Bayern secured first place with this win.
Another slap in the face. It’s a good thing we’re here,” he said. Barça, already eliminated from the race for the last 16 of the competition before kick-off, also took a lesson from Bayern Munich (0-3) a few hours after learning of their elimination. The Bavarians, who were in control for the entire match, secured top spot in Group C at Camp Nou without a moment’s hesitation. Barça had not experienced back-to-back eliminations in the group stages of the Champions League since the 1998-1999 season. Bayern’s sixth straight win over the Blaugrana in the Champions League and fourth consecutive clean sheet against them was a further blow to the Catalan giants. For the Barcelona team, who are now back in C3, the opponent was simply too strong.
To find a Barça win against Bayern Munich, you have to go back to… 6 May 2015! At that time, the team was composed of Leo Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez, but also Andrés Iniesta and… Xavi Hernandez. This Wednesday night at Camp Nou, Xavi was on the bench of the Catalan club. And from his technical area, the coach contemplated once again the gigantic gap between his team and Julian Nagelsmann’s. One statistic sums up the match: Barça did not get a single shot on target in nine attempts. Obviously, it was difficult to score a goal in these conditions. And it was difficult to cope with the waves of German attacking play to keep a draw.
BARCA DOMINATED IN ALL AREAS OF THE GAME
It was from one of these that Barça broke down for the first time. It was the first time that Barça had lost their way, as Sadio Mané’s through ball beat Héctor Bellerin to the ball and beat Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (0-1, 10′). It’s a great way to get the ball in the net,” he said, “but it’s not the only way to get it in the net. Bayern, on the other hand, did not forget to step up a gear and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting doubled the lead with a cross-shot between Ter Stegen’s legs (0-2, 31st). It was the first time that a team like Bayern had taken the lead in a game that was not just about to get better, but also about to get worse.
Dominated in all areas of the game, Barça briefly thought they had won a penalty just before the break, but Robert Lewandowski had collided with Matthijs De Ligt and VAR overruled Anthony Taylor’s initial decision. In the second half, Bayern was content to manage their lead while Barça realized that breaking through the Bavarian defense was an impossible task despite the introduction of Raphinha and Ansu Fati. In the dying moments of the game, Benjamin Pavard, who also came on in place of the sovereign Dayot Upamecano, added the third goal to hand Barça a crushing defeat (94th, 0-3). Xavi’s 2015 is a distant memory and the criticism will not stop coming.