In the penultimate match of the Champions League group stage, Bayern Munich traveled to Camp Nou on Wednesday. Barcelona’s fate in the group was sealed before the game as Inter Milan clinched the second spot in the group with a comfortable win against Viktoria Plzen. Die Roten piled more misery on Barcelona by clinching a 3-0 win at Camp Nou later in the evening.
The match started with a bit of back-and-forth play, but neither side had any real attacking opportunity. However, that did not last long as Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the ninth minute. A stellar swooping ball from Serge Gnabry created the opportunity for the Senegalese forward. Mane easily outran his defender to get onto the ball. From there, all it took was a simple finish to sneak the ball passed Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The following 15 minutes went entirely Bayern’s way, seeing Barcelona barely get a touch of the ball. Momentum slowly started to change sides as Barcelona began to inch away at Bayern in the middle of the pitch. Time and time again, Barcelona was able to dribble right up the center of the field, yet still, nothing came of it.
Barcelona’s best attack saw Ousmane Dembele beat the likes of Alphonso Davies and make darting runs in the box. However, the indecisiveness of the Frenchman led to a poorly placed pass in the final third when he should have taken a clear shot on goal.
In the 30th minute, Bayern grabbed their second goal coming from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Another perfect ball from Gnabry found Choupo-Moting running into the box to his right. From there, all it took was a cool head to pass the ball between the keeper’s legs.
The first half ended with an exciting bit of play at both ends of the pitch. After a pour bout of defending from Barcelona, Bayern was unable to capitalize as point-blank shots from both Jamal Musiala and Gnabry were saved. Just seconds later, a Barcelona charge was brought to an end after Matthijs de Ligt. Originally, the tackle was given as a foul resulting in a penalty; however, it was waved off as VAR revealed the tackle was clean.
As the second half rolled on, the intensity for both sides subsided. It was evident that Barcelona was not able to take the game to Bayern. Most of the excitement that took place in the second half was right around the 55th minute. After grabbing a brace of assists, it seemed as though Gnabry finally got himself on the scoresheet. Even though it was a beautiful curling goal, it was ultimately disallowed for offside.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Barcelona’s best chance of the entire game came just a minute after Bayern’s third goal was disallowed. Left-back Marcos Alonso came charging down the left side of the field, running one-on-one with Dayot Upamecano. Wrestling for the ball, it seemed as though Alonso had a perfect opportunity to get Barcelona back in the game. Instead of taking the shot, the Spanish full-back tried to set up Robert Lewandowski. Die Roten managed to anticipate the pass and made the interception to stop the attack.
Barcelona was dominating possession in the second half, but Bayern managed to defend well and eventually get the third goal. In the dying moments of the game, Benjamin Pavard scored with a simple finish coming from Gnabry’s botched shot. It was Gnabry’s third assist of the game and Pavard’s first goal of the season.
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With this 3-0 win over Barcelona, Bayern Munich has successfully clinched the first-place position in Group C of the Champions League. The Bavarian club will be hosting Inter Milan in the final group game next week.