In the end, Bayern Munich came to a conclusion that was formulated long before a ball was kicked at Camp Nou.
Champions League crown favorites Julian Nagelsmann’s side were presumed to be in a totally different sphere from Barcelona.
It took about 15 minutes of their meeting to come to terms with this line of thinking, which became more concrete as time went on. Every dangerous move on Tuesday night was designed by Bayern, every disappointing attacking phase belonged to Barca.
The Bundesliga club had scored twice thanks to Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski, but the score did not reflect the entire history of their domination in a game decorated by Jamal Musiala, 18.
Despite having 11 European Cups between them, the match felt like a heavyweight was barely out of gear to overtake a minnow.
The mirror, the German publication, dubbed Barca “the shrunken giants” ahead of the Group E game and there was no objection to that description. The Catalans were totally anemic in possession and didn’t manage a single shot on target.
Bayern put in more effort from inside the box than their opponents mustered in total. It was one way and it was quite as expected.
Although Barca ruled out such talks in preparation, there was obviously a great wave of apprehension for the hosts ahead of this meeting.
There was no Leo Messi, no Luis Suarez and no Antoine Griezmann, but the tormenting memories of an 8-2 hype at the hands of Bayern last August still colored the air.
Barca’s nightmare happened in the quarter-finals of this competition and it would be surprising if Ronald Koeman’s transitioning side went so far this time around.
They had played like a doomed team from the start. That spell would likely never be any different once Muller’s shot just outside the box deflected towards Eric Garcia.
From that point on it came down to the number of goals Bayern would score and Barca are lucky the answer was only three.
The impressive Musiala hit the post before the hour mark with a delicious blow and the deadly Lewandowski struck in a clumsy bouncing ball.
Serge Gnabry was next to find the woodwork in the dying minutes and the world’s first striker moved closer again.
Lewandowski has scored the number 22 Champions League goal in his last 17 appearances, which closed the game for Bayern and added weight to Barca’s ‘shrunken giant’ status.