Of course, the question had been ubiquitous before the game – how long 13 months really is. It’s been 13 months since FC Bayern slipped out of a decade game and FC Barcelona had the bad luck to be there. Would the Catalans remember it very much, and if so, why? Would they freeze in fear or develop defiance, or would they totally care less about the story of 13 months ago, because they are fully occupied with this strange present, in which Barcelona have fewer world-class players and more debts than ever before? After all, it became clear very early on that this opening game of the Champions League Group E would probably not end 8: 2, and it was then also clear what loss of players and debts had made of FC Barcelona: a team that, after a decent start, was quite messy and in the end could almost be happy that Bayern were satisfied with their increasing dominance in the 3-0 away win and did not chase after more hits.
“From the middle of the first half we didn’t allow much. We had a lot of ball wins and could have scored more goals before the break. Playing here is really fun. If you win 3-0 here, that’s a clear signal. That’s great us very much, “said Thomas Müller after the game on Amazon Prime.
As usual, FC Bayern got off to a promising start in the Champions League preliminary round, but one thing was new that evening: Bayern had rarely been a favorite in an away game in Barcelona. So maybe some of them dragged their humiliation from 13 months ago onto the field and the others their favorite role, in any case an initial phase developed that looked like the opposite of an 8: 2 spectacle. Both teams tried to be in control, they were highly concentrated, but at first looked a bit cumbersome and loaded. The initial phase looked like the result of a small armament spiral; In an effort not to let the presumed qualities of the other come into their own, both left their weapons in place for the time being.
It was hot that evening in Barcelona, the pace adapted to the heat and it took about 20 minutes for the difference between the rivals to become clear: Bayern needed a certain amount of time to adapt to the unusually cautious 3-5 -2 system of hosts to get used to, but they could do better. You couldn’t see that in Barcelona. Even in their good phase they had almost no chance of scoring; instead of Manuel Neuer, the CEO Oliver Kahn, 52, could have been in the goal for at least a while; and when the good phase ended, someone at Bayern-Bank could have checked whether they might have the phone number of Sepp Maier, 77. Watching his Bayern soccer team from behind, Sepp would probably have managed to do that too.
Bayern dominate Barcelona – without playing outstandingly
At least one German goalkeeper got hold of something that evening, Marc-André ter Stegen wearing the Barcelona jersey had to parry a shot by Leroy Sané in the 19th minute – at that moment the game changed. Munich didn’t even have to play outstandingly in order to dominate, they could also afford a few of the coordination problems in midfield that the transition from Hansi Flick to Julian Nagelsmann currently brings with it. In phases like this, it is quite useful to have a Thomas Müller on the team whose quirky game sometimes takes the liberty of ignoring academic subtleties.
In the 34th minute, Müller remembered that time-honored rule that is probably also taught in the youth of TSV Pähl: If you don’t shoot, you can’t score. After a quick attack on the left side it didn’t seem to go any further, but Müller traditionally doesn’t care, he just shot, not particularly strong, not particularly placed, like Thomas Müller. But the ball hit the back of Barcelona defender Eric Garcia and flew into the goal, completely unsustainable for Marc-André ter Stegen, Oliver Kahn and Sepp Maier (34th).
It spoke for Bayern that they were not satisfied with the lead, they followed up immediately after the break. And it spoke against FC Barcelona that they had hardly anything to counter it. Ter Stegen fended off Sané’s next chance (52nd), four minutes later he could only look behind. Jamal Musiala, whom Nagelsmann had called up to replace the battered Serge Gnabry, pounded the ball on the post, and Robert Lewandowski quickly turned the rebound (56th).
Julian Nagelsmann allowed himself a couple of changes, his players also temporarily let Barcelona go a little, but in the end Lewandowski couldn’t resist. He accepted an invitation from the Barça defense and scored the 3-0. But that was already in the 85th minute. It was already too late for an 8: 2.