After suffering a loss and then a draw in consecutive games to Inter Milan, FC Barcelona always knew they were going to need a miracle to stay in the UEFA Champions League this season. They would have had to beat Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou and hope Inter lose to Viktoria Plzen at the San Siro. Given what we’ve seen so far, that’s not going to happen.
The Nerazzurri have now officially beaten the Czech champions 4-0 with goals from Mkhitaryan, Dzeko, and Lukaku. So, Barcelona are back in the Europa League for a second season running. No, they cannot be dumped out of Europe altogether, as without a win in the group, there is no way for Plzen to overtake the Catalans’ tally of four points so far in the group stage.
How will this affect the Barca team heading into the Bayern game tonight? According to Xavi, they would be watching Inter play from the dressing room and hoping for a miracle. In the absence of that, doesn’t it render their match at the Camp Nou practically useless?
What must Robert Lewandowski think? He definitely did not expect this when making his transfer bid to leave Bayern this summer. Now he’s going to be forced to play in Europe’s second-tier club competition, where he will be kept company by the likes of a washed-up Cristiano Ronaldo. Lewy’s dreams of winning a Ballon d’Or in the upcoming season are in tatters right now.
As for the Barca team itself, they absolutely expected to do better in the CL this year. Pedri admitted as much in an interview before the game. Failure like this for a second season in a row cannot be good for their finances, and you have to wonder what this team will do to keep trying to win.
If you want coverage of our game tonight, join the discussion on the gamethread. We hope to see you there!