Barcelona in ruins after devastating Champions League outings

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Barcelona’s Champions League group stage match with Bayern Munich on Wednesday night was thrown into a high stakes light that Bill Shankly would have approved.

Before the match, Gerard Pique seriously warned: “We know that the only result is a win to be alive for the next round of the Champions League.” Barcelona’s official Twitter account repeated the feeling of life and death by posting: “It’s time to do or die in Munich.”

In the end, Bayern slaughtered their visitors with an extremely comfortable 3-0 result that made Barcelona fall out of the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2000/01 campaign.

Bavaria blows Barcelona out of the water! ? pic.twitter.com/w0rcjp1wKV

– 90 min (@ 90min_Football) December 8, 2021

The Xavi Hernandez Revolution lasted just three games before the Bayern lump confirmed a consecutive defeat in the former midfield, with a sluggish performance too familiar for his successors’ nadir against the same opponent, with the same result in September.

Ronald Koeman sent Barcelona out for his first group game of the campaign in a reactive 5-3-2 scale. The hosts collected just five shots and failed to force Manuel Neuer to a single save all night. During Xavi on Wednesday night, a system that sometimes fell into a five-man defense off the ball succeeded, at least up to seven shots, which forced Bayern’s angry and subverted number one to two tame stops.

Still, Barcelona’s oiled saviors – and they really need to be saved – fell on the same tactical shortcomings against Bayern as Koeman. Most notable of all was the space that Leroy Sane consistently got when he drove in from his left flank.

Time and time again, Frenkie de Jong was exacerbated by the lack of pressure Sane was gifted when he received the ball as Bayern built from behind at the Camp Nou. In the spooky surroundings of an empty Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, Bayern’s number ten again picked up the same pockets of unoccupied green grass.

For Bayern’s opening goal, Sane collected a pass that struck him between Barcelona’s ever wider lines, and in the spring turned Robert Lewandowski galloping into the guests’ box when he put up Thomas Muller. Sane took a similar position on the edge of the area for the second goal of the match, and struck a long-range effort past the flapping Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

A roaring Leroy Sané attack doubles Bayern’s lead! ☄️

Barcelona need a miracle here … #UCL pic.twitter.com/brn1cu3XSQ

– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 8, 2021

Xavi’s team at least kept Bayern’s prolific Pole away from the record on Wednesday – a minor victory – but Lewandowski has still scored more goals (27) than the entire Barcelona squad in all competitions this season (25).

Blaugrana ended his failed group game campaign with a pitiful figure of just two goals – 27 players have put together more on their own in the season’s competition so far. The Catalans have also tried domestic; a total of 23 La Liga goals from 15 matches is the lowest since the 2003/04 campaign.

Even more damning, Barcelona have as many points in Spain’s highest league – another 18-year-old low. They are behind Atletico Madrid in fourth place with six and their supposed classic rival Real Madrid has already gone an embarrassing 16 points ahead of the Catalans.

One of the most telling lines from Barcelona’s 1-0 loss to Real Betis last weekend slipped out of the mouth of their own left-back Jordi Alba, who described Manuel Pellegrini’s team as “a direct rival”. If the Europa League’s Betis are at Barcelona’s level – as they themselves admit – how could they ever compete against Bayern Munich? Logically, they did not.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Barcelona

Barcelona is out in the #UCL group stage for the first time since 2000-01. pic.twitter.com/66ww2C0PtO

– The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) December 8, 2021

Barcelona had actually been thrown out of the season’s Champions League at half time of their last group stage match, but the club budgeted for involvement in the quarter-finals before the season began.

The difficult financial situation of the Catalan giants was already very clear when they had their salary costs for the ongoing campaign reduced by 250 million euros in light of their bleeding economy, exacerbated by the covid pandemic. A departure from the group stage exacerbates these problems and robs the club of more than 20 million euros, which it had already been responsible for according to MARCA.

Even if they win the Europa League – which, given Barcelona’s form so far, requires a mighty jump – the club will have earned 5.3 million euros less than it expected just from European competition. This early departure not only puts kibosh on any continental action for the rest of the season, but limits the resources Xavis has at his disposal when he tries to build a team in his image in the future.

In his unveiling, Xavi described the outrageous standards that Barcelona players must adhere to regardless of the game: “This is Barcelona and a draw here is not good enough. I learned it as a child. Barça have to win every game. When we drew or lost were it as a funeral, it must have consequences. ”

Wednesday’s death sentence for a defeat will surely initiate a plethora of repercussions, to say the least.

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