Bayern Munich completed their perfect group stage record in the Champions League with their 3-0 win over FC Barcelona thanks to goals from Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, and Jamal Musiala to make it six wins out of six in Group E.
Bayern had already clinched advancement to the knockout stages as well as the top spot in the group, but by stark contrast, Barcelona needed a result to have any chance of progressing out of the group. Despite Barcelona coming to the Allianz Arena confident they could do what it takes to fight for their Champions League survival, Bayern proved too big of a hurdle for them to clear and quite literally outplayed them in every single department.
Speaking to DAZN after the match, Julian Nagelsmann, who made some changes to his starting lineup from the 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund last weekend, said he was very proud of his side for never really letting Barcelona gain a foothold in the match. Without Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka available for selection, Nagelsmann started Corentin Tolisso alongside Musiala for the double midfield pivot just behind Muller, Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane. The unsuspecting pair stood firm against Barcelona, tipifying what was a well rounded, dominant performance from Bayern. “It is also important that we played to a shutout today, that is always chalked on us a bit. I think we conceded three goals in the group phase, scored 22 — already a good number,” Nagelsmann said, grateful for his side recording the clean sheet (Tz).
A lot of question marks have surrounded Nagelsmann’s tendency to toy between a back three and back four in defense, which has shown to have its holes. Against Barcelona, though, he was pleased with the way his side defended, especially in the second half when Bayern sat just a little bit deeper having gone 2-0 up before the halftime interval. “We played against an opponent who, of course, has a very big name and actually had to win today. We have never really let it unfold properly. In the second half we clearly defended deeper and let them have the ball a little more, but I believe that if we put it on properly, then we could have scored significantly more goals than three,” he explained.
Even all of the financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Bayern has found great success and sustainability. The same can’t be said for Barcelona, who are in a serious amount of debt and just lost Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain during the summer transfer window. For the first time in what feels like a very long time, Barcelona is struggling, and Bayern’s two commanding wins over them in the Champions League group stages highlight just how different of a place the two clubs are at. Nagelsmann said that he feels the club’s financial struggles are clearly effecting the performances on the pitch and it’s hard to notice it. “I believe this immense mountain of debt simply hovers over the club. They may not be able to do what Barcelona typically does on the transfer market. When you just have 1.5 billion in debt — I don’t think it’s a pleasant way to go through life,” he said.