Barcelona took Bayern Munich’s star this summer, but the German club continue to torment the Blaugrana with or without Robert Lewandowski.
Talk of a new era, spurred on by the Lewandowski signing, will be put on hold, even if the Catalans were much better this time around than they have been in recent meetings. They were actually in control for much of the first half, but were far too wasteful in front of the net.
From the famous 8-2 to a pair of 3-0 results last season, Bayern Munich have humbled Barcelona in recent years, and Xavi’s team were quieted once again at the Allianz Arena.
Lucas Hernandez seized the momentum with a header early in the second half, while an absolutely dazzling finish from Leroy Sane sealed Barcelona’s fate.
A wall. An absolute wall.
What a performance from the French defender, who was handed the start over Matthijs de Ligt. He paid back Julian Nagelsmann in a big way.
Upamecano was virtually faultless, going toe-to-toe with his former team-mate Lewandowski all day. He snuffed out several clear-cut chances, essentially saving the game several times before Bayern Munich’s attack turned on.
He was often criticised in his first season with Bayern Munich, but he’s a key man now.
What can you say about that goal?
It’s moments of magic like Sane’s that get fans out of their seats, and boy did they rise at the Allianz. Sane can do things that few in the world can match.
There’s something special about seeing him in full stride, although Barcelona won’t feel as happy to have witnessed it. As he ran straight through Barcelona’s new-look defence, all they could do was chase what must have felt like a shadow.
And as Sane tapped his shot past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and into the back of the net, the game was effectively over.
The Bayern Munich way:
The players and coaches change, but the results sure don’t. Bayern are Bayern, no matter who wears the shirt.
Lewandowski was on the other side, but it didn’t matter. Bayern Munich had others pick up the slack.
As Gary Lineker once famously said, “Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
No one better exemplifies that than Bayern Munich – when you come to their home, you know what you’re in for. It may not have been as dominant in as years past, but it was equally effective.
Barcelona Ratings: Defence
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (5/10):
Absolutely undone by Sane, but so was the entire Barcelona defence.
Marcos Alonso (5/10):
Solid, except for one moment, but it was the one moment that counted.
Andreas Christensen (7/10):
Didn’t do much wrong and won every duel he was a part of.
Ronald Araujo (6/10):
Jules Kounde (6/10):
Played at right-back. Not much offensively, but was okay in defence.
What a player he is. Deserved at least one or two goal contributions. Arguably Barcelona’s best man – though he should have finished better.
Sergio Busquets (6/10):
Started over Kessie, was good on the ball, but did have a few scary moments as Bayern Munich overran the midfield.
All intensity as a new contract nears. Fantastic on the ball, but was sacrificed after the goals.
Ousmane Dembele (5/10):
Active, but wasteful. Looked like the Dembele of old and not the monster we’ve seen this season.
Totally outplayed by Alphonso Davies before being taken out of the match.
Robert Lewandowski (5/10):
Will be extremely frustrated. Active, but not crisp as expected.
Subs & Manager
Frenkie de Jong (6/10):
Replaced Gavi and had several bright moments.
Ferran Torres (6/10):
Came on for Raphinha, but didn’t add much of anything.
Eric Garcia (6/10):
Came on after the damage had been done.
Ansu Fati (N/A):
Was given only a few minutes with the game out of reach.
Franck Kessie (N/A):
Replaced Busquets late on. Should he have started to reinforce Barcelona’s midfield?
Signs of improvement are there, but still not enough. Midfield was overrun at times in the second half, although he did react after the goals.