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Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich: Thomas Muller haunts Barca again as Bayern claim big win

Thomas Muller (right) celebrates his goal for Bayern Munich at Barcelona
Thomas Muller (right) scored his seventh Champions League goal against Barcelona, at least two more than any other player

Goals from Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski settled a battle of the big two in Champions League Group E as Bayern Munich claimed a dominant opening-game victory at Barcelona.

The German champions controlled the game, with Muller scoring his seventh career goal against Barca courtesy of a first-half effort that found the net off Eric Garcia’s back.

Lewandowski made sure of the win with a typical predatory finish, poking his 74th Champions League goal into an empty net after Jamal Musiala’s drive had cannoned back off the post.

His 75th came late in the game, as he once again showed his talent in front of goal with a lashed finish after Serge Gnabry’s shot had come back off the post and fell to him in the box.

Barca, playing their first Champions League since the departure of talisman Lionel Messi, were flat and offered little, failing to muster a single shot on target.

The Catalan side have now lost three consecutive home games in European competition for the first time in their entire history.

They ended the game with four teenagers on the pitch, which did at least inject some urgency and lift a subdued crowd of just short of 40,000 because of Covid-19 restrictions.

But they were still thoroughly outclassed and by a Bayern team that were not even at their best.

The German side lead the group, with the other game, between Benfica and Dinamo Kiev, finishing 0-0.

‘We are what we are, that’s the reality’

It is now 13 months since Bayern ruthlessly exposed the growing frailty at the heart of Barcelona, putting eight past them in one of the most eye-opening Champions League knockout games in recent memory.

Little did Barca know that things would only get worse for them in the months to follow, with a perilous financial situation bringing about the departure of Messi to Paris St-Germain this summer.

They now look a shell of a once great side – sleepwalking through the motions and vulnerable to being easily brushed aside by any side with a plan and talent, or a world-class one playing in third gear as Bayern were here.

Messi started up front with Luis Suarez in that 8-2 loss in 2020. On Wednesday, Barca paired two former Premier League failures in Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong, and that was largely because ex-Middlesbrough forward Martin Braithwaite is injured.

Not that it mattered as Bayern cut the supply, left the home forwards adrift, set about pressing high, and patiently picked apart a defence designed to be a three but more often pushed into being a five.

“It is what it is,” said Gerard Pique, one of those three centre-backs. “We are what we are, that’s the reality.”

Fellow defender Garcia was more defiant, saying: “I think the scoreline is unfair. The first goal deflected off me, the second goal came back off the post and fell to Lewandowski.

“I don’t think we should have lost by such a big scoreline.

“If we didn’t hold the ball in midfield enough, at the end of the day, we were playing Bayern – maybe the best team in Europe. We knew it was going to be really tough.”

Bayern are in something of a transition phase of their own, with their immediate solution to a departing manager and aging parts of their squad being to recruit the best bits from nearest domestic challenger RB Leipzig.

In new boss Julian Nagelsmann they have a man whose ideals make for an easy handover from successor Hansi Flick.

The 34-year-old has the talent and the tools to make this Bayern side a real challenger for the Champions League this season. If this is them in third gear, imagine when they hit fifth?

They are now undefeated in 19 European away matches – a record run in all European competitions – and will surely only get better.

As for Barca, they are stalling and it is hard to see how they get themselves back on track. Second place in Group E is far from a sure thing.

Player of the match

LewandowskiRobert Lewandowski

with an average of 8.52

Barcelona

  1. Squad number14Player namePhilippe Coutinho

    Average rating

    5.63

  2. Squad number9Player nameDepay

    Average rating

    5.54

  3. Squad number21Player namede Jong

    Average rating

    5.23

  4. Squad number16Player namePedri

    Average rating

    5.13

  5. Squad number1Player nameter Stegen

    Average rating

    4.93

  6. Squad number17Player namede Jong

    Average rating

    4.91

  7. Squad number18Player nameAlba

    Average rating

    4.86

  8. Squad number5Player nameBusquets

    Average rating

    4.71

  9. Squad number3Player namePiqué

    Average rating

    4.62

  10. Squad number4Player nameAraujo

    Average rating

    4.60

  11. Squad number20Player nameRoberto

    Average rating

    4.44

  12. Squad number24Player nameGarcía

    Average rating

    4.40

  13. Squad number11Player nameDemir

    Average rating

    3.90

  14. Squad number30Player nameGavi

    Average rating

    3.86

  15. Squad number31Player nameÁlex Balde

    Average rating

    3.85

  16. Squad number22Player nameMingueza

    Average rating

    3.60

Bayern Munich

  1. Squad number9Player nameLewandowski

    Average rating

    8.52

  2. Squad number25Player nameMüller

    Average rating

    8.34

  3. Squad number19Player nameDavies

    Average rating

    7.81

  4. Squad number10Player nameSané

    Average rating

    7.77

  5. Squad number6Player nameKimmich

    Average rating

    7.71

  6. Squad number42Player nameMusiala

    Average rating

    7.68

  7. Squad number8Player nameGoretzka

    Average rating

    7.62

  8. Squad number1Player nameNeuer

    Average rating

    7.40

  9. Squad number2Player nameUpamecano

    Average rating

    7.38

  10. Squad number7Player nameGnabry

    Average rating

    7.38

  11. Squad number21Player nameHernández

    Average rating

    7.24

  12. Squad number4Player nameSüle

    Average rating

    7.22

  13. Squad number5Player namePavard

    Average rating

    7.09

  14. Squad number18Player nameSabitzer

    Average rating

    7.08

  15. Squad number11Player nameComan

    Average rating

    7.07

  16. Squad number44Player nameStanisic

    Average rating

    7.05

Line-ups

Barcelona

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 4Araujo
  • 3Piqué
  • 24GarcíaSubstituted forMinguezaat 66′minutes
  • 5BusquetsSubstituted forPaez Gaviriaat 59′minutesBooked at 82mins
  • 20RobertoSubstituted forDemirat 59′minutes
  • 21de Jong
  • 16González López
  • 18AlbaSubstituted forBalde Martínezat 74′minutes
  • 17de JongSubstituted forCoutinhoat 66′minutes
  • 9Depay

Substitutes

  • 2Dest
  • 6Puig Martí
  • 11Demir
  • 13Murara Neto
  • 14Coutinho
  • 15Lenglet
  • 22Mingueza
  • 23Umtiti
  • 26Peña Sotorres
  • 28González Iglesias
  • 30Paez Gaviria
  • 31Balde Martínez

Bayern Munich

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Neuer
  • 5PavardSubstituted forHernándezat 66′minutes
  • 2UpamecanoBooked at 78mins
  • 4SüleSubstituted forStanisicat 82′minutes
  • 19Davies
  • 6KimmichBooked at 5mins
  • 8Goretzka
  • 42MusialaSubstituted forGnabryat 70′minutes
  • 25MüllerSubstituted forSabitzerat 82′minutes
  • 10SanéSubstituted forComanat 82′minutes
  • 9Lewandowski

Substitutes

  • 3Richards
  • 7Gnabry
  • 11Coman
  • 13Choupo-Moting
  • 17Cuisance
  • 18Sabitzer
  • 20Sarr
  • 21Hernández
  • 22Roca
  • 23Nianzou
  • 26Ulreich
  • 44Stanisic

Referee:
Michael Oliver

Attendance:
39,737

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Barcelona 0, FC Bayern München 3.

  2. Second Half ends, Barcelona 0, FC Bayern München 3.

  3. Attempt missed. Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern München) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Kingsley Coman.

  4. Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona).

  6. Foul by Marcel Sabitzer (FC Bayern München).

  7. Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Attempt missed. Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern München) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich with a cross following a corner.

  9. Corner, FC Bayern München. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.

  10. Attempt missed. Serge Gnabry (FC Bayern München) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.

  11. Goal! Barcelona 0, FC Bayern München 3. Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern München) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner.

  12. Serge Gnabry (FC Bayern München) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Kingsley Coman.

  13. Attempt missed. Marcel Sabitzer (FC Bayern München) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Serge Gnabry with a through ball.

  14. Dayot Upamecano (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Foul by Gavi (Barcelona).

  16. Substitution, FC Bayern München. Josip Stanisic replaces Niklas Süle.

  17. Substitution, FC Bayern München. Kingsley Coman replaces Leroy Sané.

  18. Substitution, FC Bayern München. Marcel Sabitzer replaces Thomas Müller.

  19. Gavi (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Leon Goretzka (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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