Bayern Munich won in unusual fashion over FC Barcelona on Tuesday — not dominating their Champions League rivals, as has been recent custom, but grabbing two goals out of nowhere and keeping an improbable clean sheet thanks to last-ditch defending teamwork. Barça coach Xavi Hernández was left to rue his much-improved side’s lack of result.
“We were better than Bayern in many aspects,” said Xavi after the game, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “We have matched them in intensity, rhythm and physicality. In the first half we were excellent with the ball, but I’m pissed off because today was a day to win here.”
Indeed, even with Bayern’s habit of swarming bodies around Robert Lewandowski to try to nick the ball off just in time, the long-time Bavarian #9 still required sharp saves from Manuel Neuer more than once in the first half alone. The home team were perhaps lucky to head into the locker room drawn at 0-0, and then busted out the gates to quickly change the game.
“No way should our opponent be allowed to score from a failure of marking at a corner when we have the match under control,” Xavi said of the second half. “Or to score down the middle on a counter attack. We must learn from these mistakes.”
Barça had a terrific chance to shoot within seconds of the restart, but failed to find paydirt again, and were summarily made to pay. Lucas Hernández’s 50th-minute header changed the game completely, and Leroy Sané added a second within five minutes to continue his scintillating European form.
Still, this isn’t the Barcelona of old. It’s an exciting, tactically sharp team bursting at the seams with talent, and all of that was on display today. Xavi showed he can go toe-to-toe with the giants of Europe, and has Barça headed back in the right direction.
This day, however, still belonged to Bayern.
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