Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Gerard Pique

REPORT: BARCELONA 0-3 BAYERN MUNICH- HOSTS FALTER AGAIN AS BAVARIANS HIT THRICE FOR THREE POINTS

met on the opening night of the Champions League, a little more than a year on from THAT previous outing.

The opening minutes were pretty much an even contest as both teams looked to carve out some chances patiently. The Bavarians were seeing more of the ball but Barcelona defended well to stop any advances.

Sane had the first shot on target which Ter Stegen had to palm away after it took a deflection. Musiala was causing all sorts of problems down the right with Pique having to make a sliding stop to deny him a shot at goal.

 

 

On the other side, Araujo blazed over a header after being picked out with a free-kick as the game cross the half-hour mark. The away side finally went ahead with some neat buildup play near Barcelona’s penalty area. The ball eventually reached Muller who was given time to shoot which took a big deflection of Garcia’s back thereby wrongfooting Ter Stegen.

 

 

The remaining time in the first half was much of the same with Bayern dominating the ball and their defence remaining rock solid at the back. Ronald Koeman knew he had to do something the break if the home side were to turn things around.

The second half was much of the same, to begin with, as Sane had a shot saved within the first six minutes. They were 2-0 ahead just 180 seconds later. Musiala’s shot came off the post, leaving Ter Stegen stranded with Lewandowski reacting the quickest in order to touch it home.

 

 

There was a flurry of activity from both benches as loads of new faces came into the game. Barcelona were making the occasional inroads but never looked threatening enough. Though they had a lot more pace now with the youngsters now involved. However, it did not get better.

Bayern’s press helped them break up Barcelona’s attempts to play out from the back with Coman sliding the ball into Gnabry who struck the post. The ball fell to Lewandowski who calmly sold Pique down the river before striking his shot which deflected off Araujo and into the net.

 

 

That was all there was in terms of action between the two sides as Barcelona slipped to their first opening day defeat in the Champions League for 22 years. Bayern looked like scary opponents once again and will be a team to watch keenly.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

 

ABJECT BARCELONA CRUMBLE AGAIN

It really had to take something special for the Blaugrana to win against these opponents. Shorn of Lionel Messi and having a few key players out injured meant that the writing was on the wall even before the match began.

However, the main worrying thing should be how short of ideas they were throughout the match. Yes, Bayern Munich were hogging the ball and putting the pressure up but whenever they lost the ball, Koeman’s side were not sure of what to do.

 

 

Depay spent the majority of the match dropping deep or running down the right-wing, Luuk de Jong lacked the pace to outrun defenders while Frenkie de Jong was often the furthest man on the pitch.

Though both the goals had an element of fortune about them, the result was never in doubt. Barcelona rarely got forward and when they did, the ball either ended up with Neuer or out for a goal kick. It is not shaping up to be a pretty season once again.

 

BAYERN BREEZE THROUGH

They were the favourites on paper, not only due to last season’s performance but also due to the contrasting summer that the two teams had. Their relentless pressing and confidence on the ball saw them attack whenever the opportunity arose.

The defence was hardly troubled in any major way while Neuer had no saves to make over the 90 minutes. Muller got his customary goal against the Spaniards while the wingbacks’ pace did not allow Barcelona to get forward at all.

 

 

The second half was much of the same with Lewandowski getting a true goal poacher’s finish before showing a cool head to grab his second. The midfielders hardly had to break a sweat and had acres of space to play to their tempo. A totally dominating all-round performance.

 

IN WITH THE NEW?

Koeman’s substitutions made the team marginally better, with the young guns exuding confidence in a way better manner than their veteran counterparts. Gavi and Balde looked sharp while the return of Coutinho was a big boost as he showed flashes of his mercurial talent.

They still have a long, long way to go in order to get back to their golden standards but the next generation of La Masia players are integrating well as they will have their chances this season no doubt.

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