Bayern Munich thumping Barcelona – An effortless end to folklore

Bayern Munich players celebrating against Barcelona. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich players celebrating against Barcelona. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

As Bayern Munich ascended towards their first treble back in 2013, they faced FC Barcelona in the semi-finals. Fireworks abound. Two sides primed for glory with the world’s elite gracing the pitch for two games.

It was a thorough shellacking. Over two legs, the Germans sliced through Barcelona with an aggregate score of 7-0. Thomas Müller orchestrated the proceedings, finding himself to be involved in virtually every goal in the first leg. A well-oiled juggernaut slashed through the Catalans, leaving behind a clear proclamation of their greatness.

That was the value of a win against Barcelona. All that was left was to claim your rightful place as the pinnacle of world football.

Eight years hence, a second 3-0 victory for the Bavarians against the Catalans this season served as the Coup De Grâce. Failing to advance out of the group stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2000-01, Barcelona had no choice but to face their reality. They are simply a shadow of their former selves.

A roar erupted from Muller as his looping header was confirmed to have crossed the line, almost that extra dash of passion that only comes from scoring against Barcelona for him. Leroy Sane expertly pushed the tempo for the side, albeit lacking the composure or the will to generate some against a disheveled side. His marvelous strike in the first half seemed to be enough.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came with the third goal, Ousmane Dembele was yet again unable to break through Bayern’s backline. The ball was played ahead to Alphonso Davies who in a flash, found Jamal Musiala who calmly slotted it home. There was no fight, no threat, just the overarching understanding that Bayern, despite the lack of their midfield pivot in Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, had bested their once formidable adversary.

Next. Bayern Munich interested in Nico Schlotterbeck. dark

A lot can be said about Bayern under Julian Nagelsmann. Niklas Süle’s partnership with Dayot Upamecano had all the markings of a future mainstay. Barcelona could not take advantage in midfield despite the absences for the Bavarians. Jamal Musiala and Corentin Tolisso were enough to maintain the stark difference in quality.

The one thing Nagelsmann nailed in the game was swiftly deciphering the Catalan game-plan. The progression under duress turned Barcelona’s half chances to certain goals for Bayern in a flash. The tactical malleability has been the salient feature of the side of late, bordering on saving grace. On the night, it set Bayern apart, defeating Barcelona’s spirits long before the final whistle.

In a ghost game, Bayern handed Barcelona a mirror of a ghoul from the past, and it was eerily effortless.