Barcelona knocks out of Champions League following their defeat to Bayern Munich

Barcelona was knocked out of the UEFA Champions League following a 3-0 defeat at Bayern Munich, failing to make it past the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2000/01 season.

The Catalans went into their final game battling Benfica for the second qualifying spot in Group E and knowing they might well need to chase a result in the Allianz Arena.

But Bayern barely broke sweat in taking apart Xavi’s men, while the Portuguese side took the necessary three points to send them to the last 16 as runners-up behind Bayern.

Julian Nagelsmann’s team were shredding them with every attack.

For the game-setting first goal, the peerless Robert Lewandowski just danced past Pique, sending him this way and that before sending the ball over for Thomas Muller. The forward still produced a hugely inventive header to score, but it almost felt like he did it because he could do it rather than that he needed to.

It was a night for Bayern to experiment, to indulge themselves, and yet it was still so emphatic a win despite them taking it so easy.

By the end, and Jamal Musiala’s passed finish, they were almost strolling through Barca. There will of course be arguments that Xavi’s team didn’t “disgrace themselves” but even being forced to such contortions is so pitiful.

This is one of the great names of the game.

And yet it is absolutely no surprise they are out of the Champions League at the first stage. It instead felt an inevitability, and almost righteous justice for the way the club has been going.

 

There is another argument that this will be better for Xavi himself in the long run. It will avoid what would surely have been another chastening evening in the knock-out stages, and the Europa League will give more space to develop this young team and coach.

The next big question is how good he is at that, though.We really have no idea, such is the irrelevance of his work in Qatar. This looked like a Barcelona team with the basics of the Pep Guardiola principles, but absolutely none of the substance – either in quality or what they were doing.

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