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Five things we learned as Barcelona’s fall laid bare in defeat to Bayern

Five things we learned as Barcelona’s fall laid bare in defeat to Bayern
Barcelone 0-3 Bayern: As routine as it gets for the German champions after goals from Muller and Lewandowski’s brace

Bayern Munich barely broke out of second gear to ease past Barcelona in the Ligue des champions le mardi soir, gagnant 2-0 in Catalunya.

Thomas Muller’s deflected strike broke the deadlock after Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane had gone close for the Bavarians, while the home team failed to threaten at all.

Musiala then crashed an effort against the post after the break, avec Robert Lewandowski reacting quickest to net the rebound from close range.

The Polish international netted another late on to wrap things up, this time after sub Serge Gnabry had struck the frame of the goal.

Here are five things we learned from the game at the Camp Nou.

Not a six-goal gap, but a painfully evident one

At least it wasn’t 8-2 – that’s as much as can be said for Barcelona’s performance.

That drubbing in Lisbon was not to be repeated, with the scoreline only recording a gap half as big this time around, but it hardly tells the story.

Tout simplement, Barcelona could not lay a glove on Bayern Munich, and it wasn’t a Bayern at full tilt either.

The home side didn’t have a single shot on target, the first time it has happened in a Champions League group stage since records started in 03/04 with Opta, and they could hardly muster any notable build-up play, resorting to utterly ineffective crosses toward toiling debutant Luuk de Jong in the first half and shots from distance in the second.

The pillars to build around

So where do Barcelona begin? Il y avait, au moins, a few performers who showed their qualities against this level of opponentand who have done so several times before.

Memphis Depay had a bright start before fading entirely, due to his team’s utter lack of possession or territory. More consistently at the heart of the home side’s better spells was compatriot Frenkie de Jong, the player who must surely emerge as the new face for the Camp Nou club to build around.

Alongside him Pedri is already proven at the highest level, while at the back it was Uruguayan Ronald Araujo who was far more solid, reliable and able to stop Bayern’s frequent attacks, compared to his Spanish partners, the experienced Gerard Pique and the newly arrived Eric Garcia.

Three or four there to look to, ahead of the overly exposed Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who remains a top stopper.

Youth on the big stage

It was notable on Barcelona’s bench most of all, but there was a large volume of talented youngsters on show across this game.

Ronald Koeman brought on Gavi (17 ans), Yusuf Demir (18) and Alex Balde (17) as subs, while Jamal Musiala (18) started againand significantly impressed againfor Bayern. Josip Stanic (21), who started the season at left-back for Julian Nagelsmann, was given a late run-out, while Alphonso Davies (20) is already established in that position.

Add in the aforementioned Pedri (18) and even Garcia (20), who didn’t have such an impressive night, and Europe’s next crop of potential stars are rarely far away from action with the biggest clubs.

Especially when the result is so quickly settled.

Different dugout decisions

Koeman opted to switch to a back three, which was probably wise given the amount of times Leroy Sane in particular cut inside one defender, only to find another quickly stepping out to block his path.

The manager spoke bullishly ahead of the game about competing and giving his side a barometer of where they are for the season; consider this proof, ensuite, that they are a distance off being able to match the very finest on the continent.

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann, pendant ce temps, was served another reminder of the talent at his disposal, the ever-improving influence of Sane on the attack and the depth at his disposal, given the bench he named and players he brought on.

Between now and Christmas, midweek games could provide a chance for rotation and future-proofing the team, at least in three or four roles at a time if not with team-wide, sweeping changes during the group stage.

Group outlook

Early days of course, but this was Bayern’s toughest game on paperone win and they’re effectively through. Move along.

Barcelone, pourtant…they face an uncertain three months. Bien sûr, there’s the fact they won’t play a team as good as Bayern again, except in the away trip, but they do face the unenviable fact of being bottom of Group E after this matchday.

Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv will not be pushovers.

Barcelona can beat them, indeed must now beat them, but it won’t come easily or without a few scares along the way, the suspicion must be.

In turn, those sides will now feel they might just have the chance to cause a massive upset if they can pull off the performance or two of their lives when it’s their turn to entertain the blaugrana.