Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona 8-2 in a Champions League quarter-final clash in Lisbon on Friday night and will now face the winner of the single-legged tie between Manchester City and Lyon in the semi-finals.
On the other hand, It was the first time since 1946 that Barcelona conceded at least eight goals in a competitive game.
So without further ado, let’s look at the five talking points from the shocking result between the two European powerhouses.
#1 Barcelona were exposed at the back
Barcelona struggled from the very first minute of the game. A long ball to Ivan Perisic saw Barcelona left-back Nelson Semedo exposed and out of his position.
Perisic’s cross into the Barcelona box ended up with Thomas Muller, who opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute.
The Catalans continued to look extremely unsettled at the back as the Bavarians found it a little too easy to split open Barca’s defence at regular intervals with just a few faint touches and crosses.
The likes of Clement Lenglet and Nelson Semedo were not even close to their usual form, and there were also instances of lack of communication between the Barcelona defenders and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, which made Bayern’s job easier.
#2 Barca couldn’t take advantage of Bayern’s nervy defence
Bayern Munich‘s defence also looked wobbly throughout the game. Just after the Bundesliga champions took the lead in the fourth minute, the Catalan giants briefly took control of the proceedings.
Bayern maintained a very high defensive line to trap Barca in midfield and also played a high-pressing game, with full-backs Alphonso Davies and Joshua Kimmich found to leave gaps behind them.
The same allowed the likes of Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi to break through on counters. Barcelona hit the post and had two shots on goal from close range in no time.
A similar counter-attacking move resulted in David Alaba scoring an own goal and making the scoreline 1-1. However, Barca could not continue applying the pressure for long as Bayern Munich attained complete control of the game thereafter.
#3 Bayern’s high-pressing was lethal
The high defensive line and an ultra-offensive approach to the game allowed Bayern Munich to keep Barcelona restricted within their own half for almost the entirety of the game.
The German giants’ frontline studded with Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Ivan Perisic, and Serge Gnabry put immense pressure on the Barcelona defence as Bayern kept closing in on the Catalans and won possession in danger areas, sometimes just even outside the box.
Gnabry scored with a quick one-touch lay-off from Muller and Joshua Kimmich also just had an easy tap-in after an excellent bit of play from Alphonso Davies.
Bayern never allowed Barcelona to play their natural game scored a whopping eight goals on the night.
#4 Barcelona have leadership problems
Barcelona keep ending up on the wrong side of such scorelines in crunch Champions League games. After the disastrous outcomes against Roma and Liverpool in the previous two seasons, the Josep Bartomeu-led Barcelona board has not really changed their ways of managing the club.
They focused on splashing the cash on signings such as Antoine Greizmann, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, who have struggled for consistency at the Camp Nou.
Head coach Quique Setien has also looked out of ideas far too often throughout the 2019-20 season and the game against Bayern Munich was another example of that
Setien has minimal leadership skills and lacks the vigour to take tough decisions and motivate his players. Skipper Lionel Messi fails to deliver in such crunch games too and so, there’s no one to hold the team by the scruff of the neck when the going gets tough.
#5 Philippe Coutinho redeems himself
Barcelona loaned out Phillipe Coutinho to Bayern Munich after the Brazilian struggled for game time under Quique Setien’s predecessor, Ernesto Valverde. Coutinho was forced to play out of his preferred positions and virtually moved out of the club against his wish.
He played just 23 minutes against his parent club and had an assist and two goals to show for his efforts. Coutinho did not celebrate but made a statement that he is a valuable player if utilized properly.
Interestingly, Barcelona didn’t include a clause which would not allow Coutinho to play against his parent club – further testimony to the Catalan giants’ poor management.