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UCL report: Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich

Barcelona faced Bayern Munich on the opening night of the Champions League, just over a year after THAT previous appearance.

The first few minutes were pretty even as both teams patiently tried to create some chances. Bayern saw more of the ball but Barcelona defended well to stop any advance.

Sané had the first shot on goal, which Ter Stegen had to fend off after a distraction. Musiala caused all sorts of problems on the right side as Pique had to put in a sliding stop to prevent him from taking a shot on goal.

On the other hand, Araujo was head-bounced after being selected with a free kick when the game was over half an hour. The away team eventually took the lead with a decent build-up game near the Barcelona penalty area. The ball eventually reached Müller, who had time to shoot, which required a major distraction from Garcia’s back and Ter Stegen got it wrong.

The time remaining in the first half was similar, Bayern dominated the ball and their defense remained rock solid at the back. Ronald Koeman knew he had to do something during the break if the home side were to turn the tide.

The second half was similar at first, as Sane had blocked a shot within the first six minutes. Just 180 seconds later they were 2-0 up. Musiala’s shot went off the post, leaving Ter Stegen stranded and Lewandowski was the quickest way to get him across.

There was a lot of activity on both benches when many new faces came into play. Barcelona made the occasional break-in but never looked threatening enough. Although they had a lot more speed now with the young players. It didn’t get any better, however.

Bayern press helped them interrupt Barcelona’s attempts to play from behind when Coman pushed the ball into Gnabry, which hit the post. The ball fell on Lewandowski, who quietly sold Pique down the river before firing his shot, which deflected into the net from Araujo.

That was all the two teams gave in terms of action when Barcelona suffered their first day-one loss in the Champions League in 22 years. Bayern looked like a fearsome opponent again and will be a team to watch closely.

Here are the three key takeaways from the game:

ABJECT BARCELONA CRUMBLED AGAIN

It really had to take something special for the Blaugrana to win against these opponents. The loss of Lionel Messi and the injury of some key players meant the writing was on the wall before the game started.

The biggest concern, however, should be how few ideas they had throughout the game. Yes, Bayern Munich hogged the ball and increased the pressure, but when they lost the ball, Koeman’s side didn’t know what to do.

Depay spent most of the game falling deep or running across the right wing, Luuk de Jong lacked the pace to overtake the defenders while Frenkie de Jong was often the farthest man on the field.

Although both goals were lucky, the result was never in doubt. Barcelona rarely made progress, and when they did, the ball landed either at Neuer or for a goal kick. It’s not going to be a good season again.

BAVARIA BREEZE THROUGH

On paper, they were favorites, not only because of their performance last season but also because of the contrasting summer the two teams had. Their relentless pressing and confidence on the ball ensured that they attacked at every opportunity.

The defense was hardly affected, Neuer did not have to make any saves for 90 minutes. Muller scored his usual goal against the Spaniards, while the pace of the full-backs did not allow Barcelona to move forward at all.

It was similar in the second half when Lewandowski put down a real striker finish before showing a cool head to get his second. The midfielders barely had to break a sweat and had plenty of room to play their pace. An absolutely dominating all-round performance.

IN WITH THE NEW?

Koeman’s substitutions made the team slightly better, with the youngsters exuding much more confidence than their veterans. Gavi and Balde looked sharp while Coutinho’s return gave a big boost as he showed off his mercury talent.

They still have a long, long way to go to get back to their golden standards but the next generation of La Masia players are integrating well as they will undoubtedly have their chances this season.

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