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Barcelona’s catastrophic decline makes Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win almost meaningless

A week since Bayern’s win at the Camp Nou, it looks like anyone can beat Barcelona these days.

Cadiz CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you’re expecting a deep or longwinded analysis today, prepare to be disappointed. The headline gives you the gist of the article — you can head on down to the comments section without reading the rest.

In case you’re still here, then let me say it again — Bayern Munich beating Barcelona 3-0 doesn’t mean anything. The statement may be self-evident, but the sentiment is not. The Barca game changed opinions and narratives when it shouldn’t have. There is far too much weight given to the name FC Barcelona when compared to the state of their team. Just to recap, this is a team that:

  • Is currently 8th in La Liga.
  • Has scored only 8 goals in 5 games.
  • Lost Leo Messi over the summer.
  • Faced Bayern without Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, and Sergino Dest.
  • Has a tactically-clueless Everton reject as their coach.
  • Can’t even beat Granada and Cadiz.

Does it matter that Bayern Munich beat them 3-0? Does it mean the team was challenged? They honestly looked like Schalke out there — setting up to defend and hoping to not get steamrolled. Manuel Neuer didn’t have to make a save. Even last-placed Greuther Furth gave Bayern more of a challenge this season.

We get it, Barca suck. What’s your point?

The point is that the significance of the game, at least from a Bayern standpoint, is being overblown. There was a healthy cautiousness in the fanbase before we faced Barca, where the abilities of the team were scrutinized with the harshness you’d expect. Bayern fans have always been demanding.

However, this Barca game — it was just a 3-0 win, but it changed things. Suddenly, you have people saying that Bayern’s defense is fixed, that the team looks so solid now. Nagelsmann’s credentials are rising in the eyes of fans. People are feeling confident in their team now. We can see ourselves winning the Champions League from here.

FC Barcelona v Bayern München: Group E - UEFA Champions League
Barca vs Bayern simply wasn’t competitive enough.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Why is that? Because we beat Barcelona? Anyone can can beat them these days. Granada and Cadiz are La Liga fodder teams, and they drove Barca up the wall. They had freaking Luuk de Jong starting up top — what kind of Bayern defense would let him score? Ronald Koeman has never been more than a mediocre coach at club-level, and he was supposed to challenge Nagelsmann? The game was meaningless, but fans and the media are giving it too much importance.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, fans will be fans. This is what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to hype up our team. We believe in these players. We believe in the manager. We firmly believe that we can take on anyone. That is the joy of being a Bayern fan, and everyone should savor it.

But ... the fact is, Julian Nagelsmann has not been tested yet. Not by a long shot. The three biggest games of this season — the Supercup, RB Leipzig, and Barcelona, were all against teams not at their best (BVB), weakened compared to previous seasons (RBL), or both (Barca). Nagelsmann’s Bayern hasn’t met a true elite team on the field yet. It doesn’t mean we have to face Manchester City — but without even facing a team on a lower level, like Manchester United, Inter Milan, or a fully-fit Borussia Dortmund, the quality of this current Bayern side remains in doubt.

Flick’s Bayern proved its credentials even before the treble. They beat Chelsea and Dortmund convincingly, and took Barcelona to the sword. Heck, they even proved it after the treble too, by crushing Atletico Madrid (the eventual La Liga winners) without breaking a sweat.

Until Nagelsmann gets the same kind of victories under his belt, we can’t claim that he’s proven himself. This team hasn’t proven itself. There’s still a very long way to go, and people shouldn’t forget that.