Initial reactions and observations
- It is done. Bayern Munich have just sent Barcelona to the Europa League. We’ve said it a few times before, but this is really looking like the end of a great club. How will they recover?
- Jamal Musiala continues to show why he should be starting games. The teenager once again gets a goal contribution on a start. When Musiala plays a 90, a goal/assist is almost guaranteed.
- Leroy Sane had an insane screamer of a goal, but his performance was otherwise mixed. He did what was asked of him in the pressing and defensive phase, but his final ball was poor. Maybe he needs a rest.
- Good to see Nagelsmann give some of the bench players some minutes, though it’s unfortunate that Lewandowski couldn’t get a goal.
- Benjamin Pavard was actually GOOD today. There, I said it.
Full time: Bayern Munich 3-0 Barcelona.
87’ — Sane is missing chances left and right. What is going on, man.
77’ — Subs: Nianzou and Malik Tillman come on for Sule and Lewandowski.
62’ — GOAL! Alphonso Davies sets up Jamal Musiala for a tap in! 3-0 now.
59’ — Subs: Marc Roca comes on for Corentin Tolisso.
45’ — The second half kicks off!
Halftime observations and analysis
- Far from the best performance from Bayern Munich so far. Barcelona had their moments, but they were hard chances which were difficult to capitalize on. The scoreline seems more or less fair.
- Xavi made the right decision moving Ousmane Dembele to the opposite flank of Alphonso Davies to prevent pointless 1v1s. The Frenchman has been Barca’s most dangerous player so far.
- Thomas Muller really loves Barca, huh? This was his 7th goal against them in all competitions. No player has scored more times against the Catalans in European football.
- No chances for Lewandowski thus far, except for one in the 27th minute. He needs to be more involved.
- As it stands, Barca are headed to the Europa League.
Halftime: Bayern Munich 2-0 Barcelona.
42’ — GOAL! Grab a replay when you can, because that was a spectacular long range shot by Sane.
33’ — GOAL! What a role reversal! Thomas Muller lobs it over ter Stegen after an assist from Lewandowski!
27’ — Incredible miss by Lewandowski. Muller was away on the counter and found him. How was that not a goal?
Kickoff: We’re underway in Munich! It’s snowing, which is never a good sign though.
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Julian Nagelsmann is taking a big risk by putting Jamal Musiala in the middle of the pitch. Niklas Sule also starts in place of Lucas Hernandez, so it’s not quite the best lineup Bayern Munich could have fielded. Still, we should be able to get the job done against Barcelona. If not, then questions will be asked.
It’s the final game of this year’s Champions League group stage. In any other year, Bayern Munich facing Barcelona at the Allianz Arena would be a spectacle that brings the rest of football to a standstill. This year, however, the game’s pedigree is a little muted, mainly because Bayern have nothing but pride to play for, and Barca are in deep distress.
Julian Nagelsmann says he wants to field his best XI for this match. That’s easier said than done — while he can count on the likes of Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski, key players like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka remain sidelined. Barcelona, meanwhile, have a new coach. Xavi Hernandez, their midfield legend, has returned to the club to steer it out of the depths of mediocrity. He says he wants his team to take the game to Bayern, and he’ll likely unleash all the tools he has at his disposal to make it happen.
With Bayern lacking in both manpower and motivation, can they fend off the Catalans? Can Alphonso Davies keep Ousmane Dembele at bay? Can Robert Lewandowski score past the imperious Ronald Araujo? We’ll have to wait and see.
It’s Bayern time.
While you’re waiting for the game, why not check out our preview podcast?
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 9:00 pm local time, 3:00 pm EST
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