Bayern Munich comfortably swept past Barcelona to a 3-0 Champions League victory on Wednesday night, knocking the visiting Catalans out of the competition in the process.
In the wintry conditions of an empty Allianz Arena, Barcelona managed to gamely compete with Bayern for the first half an hour. Holding the Bavarians to just one shot – a blocked free kick – they carved open the best chance of the opening exchanges. But Ousmane Dembele blazed over from the top of the box as Bayern sluggishly recovered from a counter attack.
However, it was the hosts that went on to break the deadlock in the 34th minute. Slicing through Barcelona’s attempts to press, Robert Lewandowski toyed with Gerard Pique in the penalty area before picking out Thomas Muller, craning his neck to cleverly steer a header over the line, despite Ronald Araujo’s best efforts.
With Benfica already leading Dynamo Kyiv by two goals in the other group E fixture Barcelona, visibly deflated by Bayern’s opener, needed a win to progress.
Instead, Leroy Sane doubled Bayern’s advantage with a long range effort that swerved through a shaky Marc-Andre ter Stegen as the first half drew to a close.
Alphonso Davies injected some characteristic thrust into a contest that had been winding down shortly after an hour. Jinking past a flat-footed Araujo, FC Bayern’s Roadrunner snapped a cutback to Jamal Musiala who tucked in the game’s third goal.
Bayern jogged their way through much of an eerily passive second half as Barcelona struggled lay a glove on their dominant hosts. Sane squandered a pair of clear chances either side of Musiala’s third but Bayern’s victory was enough to sent Barcelona crashing out of the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2000/01 campaign.
Manuel Neuer (GK) – 7/10 – Eager as ever to be involved in the play, Neuer crystallised the ease Bayern enjoyed playing out from the back when he tried to play a one-two with his centre back in his own box.
Benjamin Pavard (RB) – 5/10 – Beaten for pace by Dembele on one or two occasions, Bayern’s World Cup winner had his teammates there to bail him out.
Dayot Upamecano (CB) – 8/10 – The most difficult moment Bayern’s serene centre back faced all night was helping the referee with his communication apparatus – he even did that pretty swiftly in fairness.
Niklas Sule (CB) – 7/10 – What little Bayern’s man mountain had to do, he carried out with little fuss.
Alphonso Davies (LB) – 8/10 – Rapidly established he had the beating of Sergino Dest at either end of the pitch – and anyone else in yellow for that matter.
Corentin Tolisso (CM) – 7/10 – Cruised through a comfortable midfield display before being withdrawn for a half-hour rest.
Jamal Musiala (CM) – 7/10 – At his slippery best, Musiala’s mature performance was rewarded with his second ever Champions League goal.
Thomas Muller (AM) – 8/10 – Relentless from the off, there is evidently no room for ‘dead rubber’ in the vast vocabulary of ‘Radio Muller’s’ running commentary.
Kingsley Coman (RW) – 7/10 – Breezed beyond whichever opponent was unfortunate enough to (however momentarily) lineup in his path.
Robert Lewandowski (ST) – 7/10 – Instrumental in Bayern’s opener, a player with more goals himself than the entire Barcelona team this season didn’t add to that tally.
Leroy Sane (LW) – 8/10 – Causing all manner of problems floating infield, arguably the most admirable aspect of Sane’s performance was when he sprinted back to bump Dembele off the ball as he approached Bayern’s box.
Marc Roca (CM) – 6/10 – Will very much have enjoyed the procession over Barcelona as a former Espanyol man.
Bouna Sarr (RW) – 5/10
Omar Richards (LB) – 6/10
Malik Tillman (ST) – N/A
Tanguy Nianzou (CB) – N/A
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 3/10 – Will be mightily disappointed with his flap only vaguely in the direction of Sane’s long ranger.
Ronald Araujo (RB) – 4/10 – Not the first, nor surely the last, player to be left roundly beaten by Davies throughout.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 3/10 – Having outlined the way to neutralise Lewandowski was by ‘keeping him away from our area’, Pique was led on a merry dance by the prolific Pole in Barcelona’s box.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 3/10 – Haplessly stood flat-footed, watching lamely as Muller steamed in to score Bayern’s opener as he and Oscar Mingueza left Lewandowski’s cross for one another.
Jordi Alba (LB) – N/A – A doubt coming into the contest, Alba was left punching the frosty turf in frustration after feeling his right hamstring inside the opening half hour.
Gavi (CM) – 5/10 – Scurrying all over the pitch with an extra snap in his attempts to win back possession, Gavi rarely got near the ball.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 4/10 – On his 650th appearance for Barcelona across all competitions, Busquets won’t look kindly back upon this night which was a landmark for all the wrong reasons.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 3/10 – Repeatedly bypassed by the blur of red that flooded either side of him.
Sergino Dest (RW) – 4/10 – Tasked with dropping on the outside of Araujo to make a five when Barcelona don’t have the ball, Dest was more comfortably running at Davies rather than trailing in his wake going the other way. Hooked at half-time.
Memphis Depay (ST) – 5/10 – Often the target of head-high clips on the halfway line, Depay understandably struggled in a role that is very much not playing to the strengths of a player the same height as Pedri.
Ousmane Dembele (LW) – 6/10 – Barcelona’s brightest spark only momentarily flickered.
Oscar Mingueza (LB) – 3/10 – Skittishly prodding a heavy touch straight to Coman – who blitzed past him – as his first involvement was the sign of things to come on an awkward, surprise introduction.
Nico Gonzalez (CM) – 5/10 – Struggled to exert any real influence on proceedings.
Riqui Puig (CM) – N/A
Philippe Coutinho (LW) – N/A
Yusuf Demir (RW) – N/A