We’ve seen some brilliant games under Hansi Flick, and we decided to make a series showcasing the top 10 matches that the legendary coach gave us. These reviews will look at the buildup, the match itself, the match’s significance, and the aftermath. Enjoy!
Episode 4: FC Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich
UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals
August 14, 2020
Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
Lineup: Neuer — Kimmich, Boateng (Sule 74), Alaba, Davies (Tolisso 84) — Goretzka (Hernandez 84), Thiago — Perisic (Coman 67), Muller, Gnabry (Coutinho 74) — Lewandowski
Goalscorers: Alaba (OG) 7’, Suarez 57’/Muller 4’, 31’, Perisic 21’, Gnabry 27’, Kimmich 63’, Lewandowski 82’, Coutinho 85’, 89’
Bayern Munich had successfully defended their domestic double over the course of May, June, and July, before turning their attention to unfinished business in the Champions League. Having dispatched Chelsea 3-0 in the first leg of the round of 16, Bayern made little work of the remainder of the tie with a 4-1 win at home to send them through to the quarterfinals.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic had made a few changes to UEFA’s plans. Instead of playing out the rest of the tournament in its usual home and away format, the quarterfinals onwards would be played in one neutral venue, Lisbon, in single-legged ties. A mini-tournament, one would call it, a tournament in which if you lost, you were out.
Barcelona were picked as Bayern’s opponents in the draw, and not much could be said about them other than what’s already been said. Lionel Messi and his henchmen were always formidable opponents, and despite a difficult season for them, they were expected to give the Bavarians a hard time.
Or so they thought.
Bayern wasted no time in getting on the scoresheet with a nifty one-two between Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski resulting in the former slicing the ball into the bottom corner with barely four minutes gone. Barcelona soon restored parity with a David Alaba own goal, and had a handful of chances themselves, but they all fell short before Manuel Neuer.
Taking this as a wake-up call, Bayern started the rout in the 21st minute, Ivan Perisic thumping home a powerful shot from a tight angle to put his side ahead. Serge Gnabry volleyed in a lovely lob from Leon Goretzka, and Muller added another goal to his tally when Joshua Kimmich whipped in a quick cross from the right. Halftime could not come sooner for the Catalans, and the score was enough to shock Barcelona captain Messi into silence in the dressing room.
To give the Spaniards a tiny bit of credit, they did get a goal back early in the second half when Luis Suarez wrong-footed Jerome Boateng, but again, the ruthless Bavarians took that a little too personally. Alphonso Davies effectively killed off the game when he rounded Messi, skipped over Arturo Vidal, completely bamboozled Nelson Semedo, and cruised past Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet to square the ball for an unmarked Kimmich to tap in.
Bayern were far from done, however, and substitute Philippe Coutinho put the ball on a plate for Lewandowski to get his obligatory goal. Provider then turned scorer when Muller fed Coutinho for goal number seven, and fellow substitute Lucas Hernandez supplied Coutinho with yet another goal in the final minutes. Ironically enough, Coutinho was on loan from none other than Barcelona that season. Boy, they must have regretted that deal.
Soon after, the referee blew for full time before the two added minutes were gone, putting Barcelona out of their misery.
Why was this match special?
Needless to say, this was one match for the history books. Even as languishing as Barcelona were, no one expected them to concede eight goals in a single game. That’s right, eight. This was not just a simple defeat, this was humiliation at its worst. Bayern had already embarrassed the Catalans with an aggregate score of 7-0 on their way to their first treble, but this was something else. To concede more goals than those two games in a single match was just unthinkable. Hansi Flick and his men made the unthinkable happen.
The win also further cemented Bayern’s status as firm favorites for the tournament. I mean, come on. The so-called best player in the world had been reduced to a meek shadow of himself as a band of German juggernauts pressed the hell out of him and his teammates. It was one of those wins that just signaled that this team was going to win this tournament, and they were not going to let anything stand in their way. The German national team did something similar to Brazil before winning the World Cup in 2014. Ruthless, cold-blooded, and frighteningly destructive, Bayern had shown the world that they were the team to beat in world football.
There are just so many ways to describe this game, so I’ll just try to put it as simply as possible: Bayern had blown one of the best teams in the world to smithereens, and the scary part was, they weren’t finished yet.
To their credit, Flick and his men were not letting this game get to their heads. They restarted analyzing, training, and rehearsing for their next opponents in the semifinals. Goretzka may have enjoyed a bit of schadenfreude when he destroyed his childhood idol Messi, but that was it. This was just one win, and Bayern moved on. It certainly looked as if they had done their job right, because they got to the final after a routine 3-0 win over Olympique Lyon.
It was originally expected that Bayern would face Manchester City in the semifinals, but apparently the Barcelona result scared City coach Pep Guardiola so much that he ended up changing his entire team’s tactics in the quarterfinals against Lyon to prep for a potential meeting with Bayern. That decision proved costly, as Lyon swept them aside 3-1. It just goes to show how big of an impact that Bayern’s dominant win had on the tournament.