A year after the terrible 8-2 inflicted on the Catalans in the quarter-finals of the last edition, Bayern Munich reaffirmed its superiority over FC Barcelona, lacking 3-0 benchmarks on Tuesday at Camp Nou on the first day of the League champions. For their first in more than fifteen years in C1 without Lionel Messi, the Catalans suffered from his absence and a gap separates them from the German giant, who imposed himself based on his undeniable admirals Thomas Müller (34th) and Robert Lewandowski (56th, 85th).
“It will be a memory to take into account”, confessed Ronald Koeman Monday about the specter of 8-2 which still haunts Catalan memories. And the Dutch technician, despite a team in full transition, was able to measure what still separates his young formation from the Bavarians. The “Rekordmeister” asserted his superiority from the start of the match, repeatedly alerting Marc-André ter Stegen in the Catalan cages: Leroy Sané saw his first strike stopped by the right hand and the head of the Blaugrana goalkeeper (19th) and his second attempt repelled by the right foot of his compatriot (52nd).
But Manuel Neuer’s lining in the cages of the German selection could not do anything on the strike of 25 meters from Thomas Müller (34th), diverted by the young Eric Garcia.
Ditto on the resumption of the sole in the empty cage of Robert Lewandowski (56th), after a strike from Jamal Musiala which crashed on the left post of Ter Stegen before returning to the feet of the Pole. Or on the goal of the double for “Lewy” (85th), on a similar action, which confirms his place of third highest scorer in the history of C1 (75 goals) behind the tandem Lionel Messi (120) – Cristiano Ronaldo (135), evening scorer with Manchester United.
At 32 years old (Monday) and 33 years old respectively, Müller and Lewandowski, well supported by Sané and Musiala, have decided with the ineffectiveness of the new Catalan attackers. The German surface fox continues in his role of executioner for Barça, with 7 goals in 6 games against the Blaugrana, while “Lewy” scored for his 18th game in a row with Bayern.
Opposite, Memphis Depay, who arrived this summer, was the only one to try to make calls, sterile, and Luuk de Jong, who arrived a fortnight ago, seemed lost. In defense, the enormous performance of the Frenchman Dayot Upamecano, who won almost all his duels and who annihilated Frenkie de Jong in the midfield, also cut with the Blaugrana curtain, quickly disorganized when the Bavarians accelerated.
Strong whistles even descended from the stands of Camp Nou, almost half full on Tuesday night, when the referee whistled at half-time while Barça kept a low profile, or during the outings of Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. While Bayern, rather wise this summer, relied on its usual frameworks to establish its domination, Barça, in full transition after the departures of Messi and Antoine Griezmann especially during the last transfer window, will have to increasingly s’ lean on its young talents.
The Catalans ended the meeting with seven players under 25 on the field. Hollowed out by fatigue, the faces of Alba, Busquets and the Catalan veterans contrasted with the cold serenity displayed by Bayern, while Koeman’s men haven’t even played this weekend in La Liga. The European scene is still a step too high for this young Barça. Bayern is ready to do battle. (AFP)