Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich
Lethal, ruthless, majestic, a class apart.
Phrases that for so long were associated with Barcelona largely every year between 2009 and 2015 yet no longer.
Now those words belong to Bayern Munich.
In decades to come, a testing quiz question will be what happened when two of Europe’s greatest football sides met at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in the Champions League.
The answer, of course, will be scarcely believable after the German champions humiliated their opponents with Champions League 2020 highlights which displayed an embarrassing gulf between two giants.
If you had studied the SBOBET Champions League 2020 betting odds beforehand, this scoreline was not even an option you could consider!
Highlights of the game
This had been billed as clash of the only former champions who remained in the competition, albeit two sides seemingly in contrasting situations.
After all, Bayern are favourites for the Champions League and with good reason. Their 4-1 dismissal of Chelsea last weekend was their 26th win in their past 27 games and under Hansi Flick, they appear to have rediscovered their swagger.
What’s more? In Robert Lewandowski they have currently the best centre-forward in the world, a reputation further enhanced by two goals and two assists in the second-leg win against Chelsea which took his tally to 13 goals and four assists in the competition this term.
Barcelona, meanwhile, appear to be stagnating at the wrong time.
Even in defeating Napoli 3-1 to cement their last eight berth, they seemed uncertain at the back and heavily reliant on Lionel Messi.
Yet in the same breath, the Argentine maestro is the defining figure.
Even if Quique Setien remains a man under pressure and defensively they are far from the secure back line they were, while big money man Antoine Griezmann has yet to settle fully and gel with Luis Suárez. they still have the genius that is Messi.
This fixture featured two clubs with far more connections than they may realise and a potential shoot-off for glory between Messi and Lewandowski.
Well, there was only one winner and revenge was a dish best served cold.
When these sides last met at the semifinal stage in 2015, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern took a surprisingly aggressive approach and ended up being beaten 3-0 in Spain, eventually losing the tie 5-3 on aggregate.
It was a night in which Messi produced one of the decade’s most memorable moments with an iconic dribble that left a World Cup winner face first on the hallowed Nou Camp turf.
This time, most of the Barcelona side wanted to look down and let the ground swallow them up.
The shame of being 5-2 down with eight minutes to go was bad enough but there was more.
Philippe Coutinho was allowed to play against his parent club and the Bayern loanee netted twice in the closing minutes to cap the ultimate indignation.
The only other surprise was that Lewandowski took until the 82nd minute for his customary goal.
Yes, Barcelona could have led early on and a combination of the woodwork and Manuel Neuer kept the scores level after both sides traded early goals.
But after that, for every time Bayern attacked, Barcelona seemed vulnerable and ready to capitulate – just like they did at Anfield in the semifinals last season and in Rome in the quarterfinals a year earlier.
Thomas Muller goals had book-ended the first half to make the game over as a contest by the break.
Coutinho, who joined Barcelona for £135-M in 2018, scored not once but twice and then had the final say as a substitute. He must have been galling and that symbolises that Barca’s downfall is self-inflicted.
In the words of defender Gerard Pique after the match: “We’ve hit rock bottom.”
This was the first time Barcelona have conceded eight goals in a game since losing 8-0 to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey in 1946.
Müller has scored five goals in five appearances against Barcelona in the Champions League – only Andriy Shevchenko has scored as many against them in the competition.
Bayern have netted 35 times in this season’s tournament, the most they’ve ever scored in a single campaign in the competition.
This was the side’s 11th meeting in total, all bar two of which have been in this competition.
Barca have only won twice, with two draws and seven Bayern successes.
Their first ever meeting was in the mid-1990s in the UEFA Cup.
In 1998/99, Bayern Munich and Barcelona were in the same group stage of the Champions League.
The season is over for Barca and almost certainly job over for Setien – although it should be remembered he inherited this team midway through the season.
Meanwhile, Bayern will now face the winners of Manchester City and Lyon in next week’s semifinal.
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