The Champions League group stage is officially underway and there’s a whole lot to unpack from the first set of fixtures. We always knew there were a few barnburners waiting to emerge and unsurprisingly, Barcelona vs Bayern Munich turned out to be the prime example of that at the Nou Camp.
It wasn’t a particularly competitive encounter but in terms of producing newsworthy moments, it certainly hit the nail on the head with Bayern running out rampant 3-0 winners in front of a disappointed, but not necessarily shocked, collection of Barca fans.
The old guard shine
Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski have been doing this at the highest level for longer than most of us can remember and because of that, they’re often expected to fall off the face of the earth on a year-by-year basis. Alas, instead of dwindling into the background they’ve instead decided to climb a second mountain – with the overwhelming evidence of that stemming from the three goals they scored between them earlier this week. They were sharp, efficient and pretty much controlled the game up top, having their way with Barcelona’s defence whenever they saw fit.
Barcelona didn’t get a single shot on target which really is one of the saddest aspects of this game from a “grandeur” perspective. This is supposed to be one of Europe’s greatest football clubs and while historically speaking it still is, they’re in a lot of trouble both on and off the pitch. In many ways this is even worse than the beating they took last August because now they don’t even have Messi or Griezmann, both of whom left this past summer, to fall back on – two men who were instrumental in attempting to steady the ship when it was all going south.
Bayern barely break a sweat
Bayern Munich quite literally didn’t get out of first gear and they still managed to win 3-0, which tells you all that you need to know. At this rate we could be in for quite an embarrassment in the return fixture and while that may seem a bit over the top, this really does feel like one of the most desperate slides into obscurity we’ve seen from a club on this scale for a while. Perhaps Ronald Koeman can still drag them to the knockout stage but either way, the next few years aren’t exactly looking promising for one of Spain’s greatest sporting stories.
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