Bayern Munich’s Polish ahead Robert Lewandowski (9) scores a objective in the course of the UEFA Champions League first-round group E soccer match towards Barcelona on the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 14, 2021. LLUIS GENE / AFP
Bayern Munich gave Barcelona a brutal demonstration of how far the Catalan membership has fallen by strolling to a 3-0 win within the Champions League on Tuesday, with Robert Lewandowski scoring twice in a rout at Camp Nou.
Without Lionel Messi for a primary European marketing campaign since 2003, Barca had been outplayed by Bayern, who might need scored extra however in the long run, settled for 3 because of Thomas Mueller’s deflected opener and Lewandowski’s double.
When Lewandowski made it two earlier than the hour, the potential for one other humiliation within the mould of final yr’s 8-2 defeat by the identical opponents in Lisbon felt very actual.
Instead, Bayern delivered maybe a fair louder message in regards to the gulf in school by easing off within the latter phases, as Barca’s followers expressed their anger, dismay, and eventually a way of resignation.
Sergi Roberto was on the top of the loudest whistles from the house supporters and it was inconceivable to not surprise if the criticism got here partly from disappointment on the lack of progress down the precise flank, the place Messi as soon as created a lot.
Ronald Koeman’s place has come below scrutiny in current weeks and his 5-3-2 formation, which defies Barcelona’s attacking traditions, won’t have strengthened his hand.
Yet the underside line right here was the dearth of high quality within the Barcelona line-up, coming after their turbulent summer time of gross sales, which was inferior to Bayern’s in each division.
Mueller has scored seven objectives in six appearances now towards the Catalans whereas Lewandowski has scored in 18 consecutive matches.
Julian Nagelsmann’s sturdy begin because the coach continues – this was a sixth consecutive victory – however he’ll know Bayern will face more durable Champions League opposition than this.
In true underdog style, Barca flew into Bayern early on, desirous to impress themselves bodily on an opponent they maybe knew could be technically superior.
The crowd had been in on it too, cheering as Luuk de Jong outmuscled Alphonso Davies and Sergi Roberto held off Dayot Upamecano.
There was then a touch of an opportunity when Memphis Depay slid De Jong however he lacked the velocity to capitalise and Benjamin Pavard cleared.
The early enthusiasm may solely maintain Barcelona so lengthy and because the recreation settled, steadily Bayern took management.
Leroy Sane volleyed at Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Gerard Pique needed to make a last-ditch problem to cease Mueller.
But Bayern’s authority was set, even when their opening objective owed so much to fortune, Mueller unleashing from 30 yards and the ball diverting off the again of Eric Garcia, wrongfooting Ter Stegen and creeping contained in the submit.
Barca wilted earlier than half-time, the environment turning bitter as passes went astray and assaults broke down.
A renewed push after half-time noticed Sergio Busquets drive broad however Bayern got here once more.
Sane hit the precise foot of Ter Stegen from eight yards after which Lewandowski made it two, studding the ball into an open objective after the Barca keeper dedicated to Jamal Musiala’s shot that cannoned off the submit.
Under risk of one other thrashing, Koeman took off Sergi Roberto and Busquets, to a refrain of whistles from the house followers. The 18-year-old Yusuf Demir and a 17-year-old Gavi got here on.
Yet Bayern spared Barca a humiliation, waltzing by for another late on as Lewandowski danced by a sprawl of our bodies and fired with 5 minutes left. For Barca, three felt like a reduction.