The UEFA Champions League. The premier competition of not only Europe but also of the whole world. Even though we know the FIFA world cup is the greatest show on earth but some people are starting to disagree only because the champions league is more star studded. But the world cup would still get the nod due to the passion and the commitment of a nation full of people it carries with it. However, when it comes to the best football games in the history, most of the matches are from this famous competition. And thanks to this we now enjoy many new rivalries which have been born between certain clubs from different countries. AC Milan - Liverpool, Real Madrid - Bayern Munich, Barcelona - Chelsea, Barcelona - Bayern Munich.
Just yesterday the Barcelona - Bayern Munich showdown had its latest addition. This fixture goes back a long way. Over the years both the clubs have taken turns to demolish each other. We are all aware of the sensational performance of Leo Messi where he dribbled past 5 Bayern players and Manuel Neuer to score a goal. That tie was a easy pickup for Barcelona. Though they lost the away leg with a score of 3-2 but thrashed Bayern in the home leg beating them 3-0. Messi scored two goals that day, one was the one I talked about earlier. But that performance came at the expense of a previous defeat in the hands of the club from Bavaria. When they beat Barcelona 4-0 at the Allianz Arena only to beat them 3-0 again in the return leg and Camp Nou. Then fast forward to 2019. Covid hit the world, everything changed. Even football stopped. Later the high officials somehow managed to arrange the latter stages of the champions league in single leg. Barcelona and Bayern were again matched with each other. People expected a really tight and intensive game but it turned out to be a horror show. Barcelona got absolutely demolished by conceding 8 goals and scoring only 2 in reply and even one of those two was an own goal. This is something the football world never saw coming.
This season again the two giant clubs meet in the group stage of the competition. But the flair isn't there as it was all these years. Barcelona at the moment are in an all time low. This squad is weakest Barca squad people have seen in modern football. Also it is the first season after Messi has left the club. So that leverage Barcelona had over the clubs, about having the best player in the world in their team is also gone. From a trio of Neymar, Suarez and Messi, today we see Memphis Depay, Luuk De Jong and Martin Braithwaite. The defense is also weak. No quality defender to rely on. While Bayern are as usual on a roll. So this time fans of the Catalan outfit did not expect anything from the game, they simply did not want to the utterly wrecked like last time.
Last night Barcelona lined up in a 3-5-2 formation. Ter Stegen, Araujo, Pique, Eric Garcia, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Jordi Alba; Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay
Whereas Bayern didn't change much and went for a 4-2-3-1 formation. Manuel Neuer, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Nicolas Sule, Alophonso Davies, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, Robert Lewansdowski
Comparing to how the two teams looked on paper the game wasn't that much apart at least stat wise. Bayern enjoyed a 52% possession in the game and had 7 shots on target. But on the contrary Barca broke a record, a rather shameful one. For the first time in their history they haven't been able to register a single shot on target in the whole 90 minutes. Meanwhile late in the first half Muller scored from outside the box which actually took a heavy deflection from Eric Garcia on its way in. Otherwise Ter Stegen had it covered. The first have ended 1-0 to Bayern. It wasn't very eventful. Bayern were dominant as expected and Barcelona got a few chances here and there but they weren't just enough to get the breakthrough before Bayern. In the second half things looked calm. Until right before the hour mark Jamal Musiala hit the post. And as usual as the sun rises in the east, Robert Lewansdowski is there to gather up the rebound. Who made it 2-0. A little later Serge Gnabry also hit the post. And this time to the ball fell to Robert Lewansdowski. But he didn't have an easy tap in this time. He had the dribble one player and shoot past three players including the goalkeeper. But he still scored. 3-0 to Bayern. Barcelona couldn't make any progress as they were outplayed throughout the game. It ended 3-0
It may be another horrible night but it isn't over. There's still a second leg to play. Although Barcelona needs a serious overhaul to get to the heights they are used to.