Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: five things we learned as La Liga squad’s downfall was laid bare in Champions League loss

Bayern Munich barely came out of second gear to beat Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night, winning 2-0 in Catalonia.

Thomas Muller’s deflected strike opened the stalemate after Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane moved closer to the Bavarians, while the home side did not threaten at all.

Musiala then crushed an effort against the post after the break, with Robert Lewandowski reacting the fastest to score the rebound from close range.

The Poland international scored another late to conclude, this time after submarine Serge Gnabry hit the frame of the goal.

Here are five things we learned from the game at Camp Nou.

Not a six-goal gap, but a painfully obvious gap

At least it wasn’t 8-2 – that’s all that can be said about Barcelona’s performance.

This beating in Lisbon was not to be repeated, with the score registering only half the gap this time around, but that hardly tells the story.

Simply put, Barcelona couldn’t put a glove on Bayern Munich, and neither was it a full Bayern.

The home side did not have a single shot on target, the first time this has happened in a Champions League group stage since the records started 03/04 with Opta, and they have had some struggling to put together a noticeable building game, resorting entirely to ineffective crosses towards newbie Luuk de Jong in the first half and long shots in the second.

The pillars around which to build

So where does Barcelona start? There were, at least, a few performers who showed their qualities against this level of opponent – and who have done so several times before.

Memphis Depay got off to a good start before fading completely, due to his team’s complete lack of possession or territory. More regularly at the heart of the home team’s best spells was his compatriot Frenkie de Jong, the player who must surely become the new face of the Camp Nou club around which to build.

By his side Pedri has already proven himself at the highest level, while at the back it was Uruguayan Ronald Araujo who was much more solid, reliable and able to stop Bayern’s frequent attacks, compared to his Spanish partners, the experienced Gerard Pique and the newcomer Eric. Garcia.

Three or four to watch, in front of the too exposed Marc-André ter Stegen, who remains a top stopper.

Youth on the big stage

It was especially noticeable on the Barcelona bench, but there were a large number of talented youngsters on display throughout this game.

Ronald Koeman brought in Gavi (17), Yusuf Demir (18) and Alex Balde (17) as substitutes, while Jamal Musiala (18) started again – and again impressed significantly – for Bayern. Josip Stanic (21), who started the season at left-back Julian Nagelsmann, was granted a late exit, while Alphonso Davies (20) is already established in the post.

Add to that Pedri (18) and even Garcia (20), who hasn’t had such an impressive night, and Europe’s next generation of potential stars are rarely far from the action with the biggest clubs.

Especially when the result sets in so quickly.

Different pirogue decisions

Koeman opted to upgrade to a fullback three, which was probably wise given the number of times Leroy Sane in particular has cut inside a defender, only to find another one coming out quickly to block him out. path.

The manager spoke optimistically ahead of the competition game and to give his team a barometer of their situation for the season; So consider this proof that they are far from being able to compete with the best on the continent.

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann meanwhile received another reminder of the talent at his disposal, Sane’s ever-growing influence on attacking and depth at his disposal, given the bench he has. named and the players he brought.

By Christmas, midweek games could offer a chance for team rotation and sustainability, at least in three or four roles at a time, if not with drastic team-wide changes during the group stage.

Group perspectives

The first few days of course, but it was Bayern’s toughest game on paper – a win and they did qualify. Moving forward.

Barcelona, ​​however… they face three uncertain months. Of course, there’s the fact that they won’t play such a good team as Bayern again except when traveling away, but they face the unenviable fact of being at the bottom of Group E after that day. .

Benfica and Dynamo Kiev will not be child’s play.

Barcelona can beat them, indeed must now beat them, but that won’t come easily or without a few scares along the way, suspicion must be.

In turn, those sides will now feel like they might have the chance to cause a massive upheaval if they can pull off the performance or two of their lives when it’s their turn to entertain the blaugrana.

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