The quarter-final stage of the Champions League served up a shock scoreline in more ways than one. Two giants of Europe faced off in Lisbon as Bayern and Barca looked to take one step closer to their first European glory since 2013 and 2011 respectively. Also, could big-spending PSG and Man City shake off their Champions League demons? Check out my analysis of how Bayern walked over Barcelona plus a brief summary of how other teams fared below! Enjoy!
Bayern Munich 8 Barcelona 2
Don’t refresh your device. This is not a fake score. It is very much real, unfortunately for everyone associated with Barcelona. The team who beat Man United so convincingly in 2009 and 2011 fell apart against German giants Bayern Munich as long-serving attacker Thomas Muller and red-hot scorer Robert Lewandowski were just the pick of the names to net past a beleaguered Barca contingent. A ruthless display by the Germans ensured they still remain on course for their first triumph on the ultimate stage since 2013’s final against German rivals Borussia Dortmund. Here is a quick recap of how this incredible match occurred and the aftermath of it…
Lewandowski nears record as Coutinho haunts his parent club.
Believe it or not, this sort of score might have been hard to envisage back in November last year. Bayern had just sacked their manager Niko Kovac after a 1-5 loss at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt, their heaviest loss in 10 years. They then decided to throw caution to the wind by appointing Hans Flick. Having national success with Germany in 2014, he had some form of pedigree. However, he was relatively sparse in the domestic field.
The gamble paid off though in spades. Regrouping the side, he led them to their, what feels like, annual League Title, overcoming Dortmund by a convincing 13 points. The domestic cup soon followed, beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in the final. In April, Flick’s revival of their fortunes was rewarded with a new three-year contract. A big part of Flick’s success has been the form of Robert Lewandowski. Currently, Lewandowski has an amazing 54 goals in all competitons in 19-20.
Having already amassed 13 goals in the Champions League this campaign, it was perhaps surprising that among the trashing Bayern gave their sorry Spanish opponents, it took him 82 minutes to find the back of the net again. By then though, the game was safe and the damage had been done. 14 goals now for Lewandowski and only three off Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 17 from 2014. You would not bet against the Polish forward surpassing that in the frame of mind he is in. It was not just his scoring that was on show in Lisbon as he assisted the opener for Thomas Muller, who got two goals on the night.
While Bayern made a lightening start inside four minutes, their backline was not exactly invincible. As displayed when Messi hit the post and Suarez went close to in the first ten minutes. In fact, it was an own goal that seemingly made this a level playing field once more as David Alaba made it 1-1 accidentally . No panic though from the German Champions as Barcelona failed to find a spring in their step, Bayern blitzed them with three further strikes to effectively end the contest inside half an hour, or just over. Gnabry and Perisic netted before Muller got his second and Barca, even Messi, looked bereaved of ideas. 4-1 it stayed for the remainder of the half but the 2013 winners were far from done with their thrashing of the Catalans.
Coming out for the second half, in what already seemed a lost cause, Luis Suarez attempted to get Barca back on track. His goal on 57 minutes reduced the gap to 4-2 with a measured curling finish from close-range. We have seen comebacks before in the CL. Could it happen once more? Joshua Kimmich answered that abruptly on 63 minutes. Alphonso Davis of Bayern evaded a meek challenge from Semedo down the left and raced into the box to find Kimmich who duly converted with venom for 5-2. Semedo nearly was guilty for another goal when he took too long on the left with the ball, but Kingsley Coman’s first touch was blocked goalbound last-minute by Jordi Alba. Keeper Ter Stegen was then nearly undone by a wild punch out from a corner a minute later. Still 5-2. Would Bayern ease up as the match drew to a close? Not a chance. Robert Lewandowski got his customary goal on 82 minutes and the Barca players were accepting the inevitable, as was Barca’s manager for his job. Surely it could not get any worse? It did as on-loan Phillipe Coutinho scored a brace in the last five minutes to condemn Barcelona to their biggest Champions League/European defeat ever. 8-2 it finished as Messi and co trudged off to utter humiliation, hanging their heads in shame.