Bayern Munich bring about Barcelona’s nemesis as Xavi’s illustrious European dream comes to an end

December 9, 2021

Just when we thought that Barcelona has endured enough humiliation for this season and the Xavi era will bring on new hopes and aspirations for a better future, that’s when they hit the rock bottom. Now the time has finally arrived to unmask the façade of grandeur and stand in the light for the erstwhile Catalonian giants and to come forward and accept their mistakes. The abomination of the Barca name came about on a snowy evening in Munich when Julian Nagelsmann’s Mannschaft  Bayern Munich thrashed FC Barcelona with a 3-0 blow in their last group game of the Champions League and sent them straight to the UEFA Europa League.

The problem here is not the absence of guidance on the touchline and now they have Xavi Hernandez, one of the Club legends as their coach there should be no lack of motivation there but the issue is that of the lack of leadership in the pitch and the absence of polished players who are capable enough to carry on with the Club’s vision. This Barca is still reeling from the bad decisions taken by Ronald Koeman to bring players like Sergino Dest and Lukk de Jong and the 1.2 billion Euro worth of debt. Now is the only chance to accept the consequences of it all and face adversity with courage and determination.

Barcelona already knew the storm will catch up with them, no matter how far they try to run away from it and in simple words, they have forgotten what they knew and whatever skills they once possessed had been lost in the due course of time. When the world was made aware of their financial crisis players like Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba (specifically the one’s who helped Barca reach the epitome of success over the years) took the pay cut to assist the management in buying viable new options once they lost Lionel Messi (due to their lack of monetary discipline). But the players brought on did not live up to their role and eventually Koeman was sacked for not getting the results. When Xavi joined Barcelona, we heard Oscar Mingueza, the 22-year-old Spanish defender state that during the fag end of the Koeman leadership, there was no order in the dressing room and everyone tried to solve their own problems.

Arunjo Vs Musiala

So far as my conscience is concerned I always feel there should be a sense of accountability of actions within every human being and everyone should be ready to face the repercussions of their doing. Xavi came on and brought about some important alterations to the proceedings at the training center and implemented the late fines (to which Ousmane Dembele has defaulted twice) but the path that would lead them back to the glory is going to be a treacherous one and last night was his fifth game in-charge and he did not hold back in the post-match press conference- “Today is the start of a new chapter for us. We have to start demanding a lot more of ourselves. We must use this as a turning point to change many things. We are going to face this reality with all the dignity in the world and work to bring back Barca back to where we deserve to be, which is not the Europa League. It really annoys me to face our reality. I am angry. Barca does not deserve this.”

Xavi Hernandez

For the first time in 21 years, their reality is worse than their dream and yet they held out with faint hope going into the game when Thomas Muller challenged the team while talking about Lewandowski’s Ballon D’or loss to which Memphis Depay replied with boastful indignation for the German giants that revenge will be taken. Well, if for once they would have stopped and thought about it to play like to prove their point to these media hoaxes could have been dealt with better results. Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann in his pre-match press conference said that he is going to field the best of his available players and he congratulated Benfica beforehand and told them not to worry about this game. You cannot punish people for their wishful thinking but you can cost them the victory they needed by exhibiting the very best of what you have to offer.

Julian Nagelsmann

Bayern did exactly what they vowed to do as they made frequent runs from inside the left flank beating Ronald Araujo and Sergio Dest to make diagonal crosses for the striking force at the center and that’s exactly how they got their first goal around the 34th minute when Lewandowski’s shot found Thomas Muller and the 32-year-old German forward made no mistake but headed the ball at the back of the net and put his team up for the well-deserved lead.

Muller’s goal

The second goal came at the advent of 43rd minute, when Leroy Sane surged through the center and in between the ample amount of space inside the Barca defense line, he hammered in a vicious strike from 25-yard out with his left foot and just before his compatriot and the Blaugrana custodian found the perfect angle to slide and stop the ball, but the shot was powerful enough to floor him and drove into the goal post.

Leroy Sane’s strike on goal

The high press that had worked for FC Barcelona in their previous encounters seemed to be ineffective in front of this heavy intensity play from the Bavarian giants. The second half saw a change as Nico Gonzalez replaced Sergino Dest which in a tactical sense translated to more midfield play and thus cut off the attacking opportunity from the wings. But they could not fructify their plans as Bayern fought to keep the possession and Musiala looked sharp in this attacking play alongside Kingsley Coman.

The nightmare came in for Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet when at the juncture of 62nd minute Alphonso Davies made a scintillating run down the left as he swayed past Araunjo in the byline area and slotted a low back pass into the path of Jamal Musiala and the 18-year-old German left back converted from the close range and froze the scoreline to 3-0 which seemed to be an unattainable dream for the visitors.

Jamal Musiala celebrating after scoring the third goal of the night

Barcelona crept back into the game with their triangle play through the attacking third but Bayern’s defenders were on high alert as they kept them at bay. The personnel changes did not make the play more effective as Countinho and Riqui Puig came on to the pitch to limit further damage. Dembele missed keeping a handful of shots on target upfront. Honestly, Barca’s midfield is guile but they lack ferocity; although their attack has sharpness but they suffer from the lack of a prolific goal scorer and their defense is a huge embarrassment. Any connection between the three is entirely coincidental and eventually made no sense.

Barcelona must dig deep into their present squad and make the necessary changes to gain back the lost glory. They must rise up from their post-nostalgic success of the Guardiola era and realize where to shake things up to get the right results. They are trailing at the 20th position in the Premiera Division table some points above the relegation zone and some kind of damage control must be done. Now that they are banished to the Europa League, it will be hard to attract top players into the squad to make things better and we cannot blatantly deny the faltering standard of their financial status. The road back to the top is going to be brutal and heartbreaking for this club but it was high-time for them to wake up from their sleep and realize the mess every single wrong decision has led them to.

TEAM NEWS:

Bayern: Neuer; Pavard, Upamecano, Süle (Nianzou 78’), Davies (Richards 71’); Musiala, Tolisso (Roca 60’); Coman (Sarr 71’), Müller, Sané; Lewandowski (Tillman 78’)

Goals: Müller (34’), Sané (43’), Musiala (62’)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Araujo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba (Mingueza 30’); De Jong (Puig 73’), Busquets; Dest (Nico 46’), Gavi (Demir 86’), Dembélé (Coutinho 73’); Memphis

UEFA Player of the Match: Leroy Sane

Sane- Player of the match