Barcelona have been eliminated from the Champions League following a 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Xavi’s side drop into the Europa League and will not appear in the knockout stages of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Already assured of top spot in Group E, first-half goals from Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane put Bayern well on the way to progressing with a 100 per cent record.
Jamal Musiala ensured that Julian Nagelsmann’s side did just that when he sealed the victory just after the hour mark in another routine victory for the hosts in this fixture.
To avoid elimination, Barca needed to win or hope that Benfica failed to beat Dynamo Kiev elsewhere in the final round of group fixtures.
Jordi Alba tested Manuel Neuer from distance, while Ousmane Dembele swept a shot over from Memphis Depay’s square ball.
But Barca fell behind in the 34th minute; Robert Lewandowski cleverly twisting and turning before crossing for Muller, whose looping header crossed the line before Ronald Araujo could volley clear.
Bayern doubled their lead just before the break with Sane’s powerful 30-yard strike completely perplexing Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Sane squandered a golden opportunity for his second goal shortly after the restart when somehow failing to turn the ball home from inside the six-yard box after Kingsley Coman cushioned Alphonso Davies’ cross into his path.
Bayern’s third goal did arrive in the 62nd minute as Musiala sealed the deal by slotting home following a strong run and cross by Davies.
What does it mean? A perfect group stage for Bayern, Barca suffer early exit
Bayern will buoyantly march towards the knockout stages when the competition resumes in February, with the draw for the last 16 to take place on Monday.
With six wins from six, Nagelsmann’s side are one of only three teams to record maximum points during this season’s group phase – along with Liverpool and Ajax.
They have now scored two or more goals in each of their last 12 home matches in this competition, while it was also their fourth straight win over Barca, who must reset their focus to the Europa League after this humbling early exit.
Half a century for Muller
It was a landmark day for Muller, who reached 50 Champions League goals with his clever first-half header.
That was Muller’s eighth strike in seven appearances against Barca – his highest tally against any opponent in the competition, and the most that any player has managed against the Catalan giants in the European Cup or Champions League.
Mixed bag for Lewandowski
Although he did brilliantly to provide the assist for Muller’s header, Lewandowski was not at his best on Wednesday. Not only did the talisman fail to register a single shot on goal before being replaced 13 minutes from time, but his tallies of 20 touches and 12 passes were the lowest recorded by any Bayern starter.
He subsequently missed the opportunity to become the first player to score 10 or more goals during the Champions League group stage on multiple occasions, as well as the second to find the net in 10 successive matches in the competition.
In good hands
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 8, 2021
Key Opta Facts:
– With 22 goals scored and just three conceded, Bayern’s goal difference of +19 during the group stages has only been bettered once before in Champions League history – PSG in 2017-18 (+21 – F25 A4).
– Barcelona have been eliminated from the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2000-01, when they finished third behind Milan and Leeds United in the first group stage. After falling into the UEFA Cup that season, they would go on to be eliminated by eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-finals, thanks to a Gary McAllister winner.
– Barca’s tally of two goals after their six group stage matches is their lowest recorded total in the Champions League, while only in 1997-98 (14) did they concede more goals at this stage than the nine they have shipped this season.
– In what was his 102nd appearance in the Champions League, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski registered his 100th direct goal involvement (82 goals, 18 assists).
– Thirty-three per cent of Sane’s 15 Champions League goals have come in this season alone (5/15), which is now is best scoring season within a single campaign in the competition.
Both sides will await the identity of their opponents in the knockout stages of their respective competitions in next week’s draws. Before that, Bundesliga leaders Bayern aim to build on their momentum at home to Mainz while Barca look to respond away at Osasuna in LaLiga the following day.
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