Good N8te, Barça!
8:2. Eight two. EIGHT – two. EIGHT. Bayern scored EIGHT times against the great FC Barcelona. EIGHT!
Some people were nervous because Bayern was facing the greatest attacking player of all time. Some people were confident Bayern was the far better drilled side. But even those who predicted a dominant performance surely did not see this coming.
As sensational as the result looks in the end, the start to the game was anything but. Following Alaba’s precisely aimed own goal, Barça had three really good chances. Bayern’s defence was thought to be one of their strongest areas but it came under heavy fire today. Alaba was one the best centre-backs this season, but couldn’t really show it in there.
The spectacular scoreline was fruit of Bayern’s otherworldly efficiency today. Practically every decent opportunity was taken, with the only notable exceptions being Lewandowski and Coman’s attempts when the game was already long done and dusted. The times when people feared no other player than Lewandowski could score for this team seem to be distant memory.
Gnabry proved once more that he’s a true big-game player, enabling the second and scoring the third one himself. In fact, you could probably argue his phenomenal performances in these big-games overshadow his often more mixed showings in the Bundesliga.
And then of course there’s Müller. Thomas Müller. The goalscorer-turnt-assist-king became a certified goalscorer again. When people thought that maybe this team was relying on Lewandowski a bit too much, nobody could have foreseen them scoring five without him against Barcelona of all sides.
We’re usually only talking about Bayern but you just have to say a few words about Barça. It was their weakness that enabled this result. Barcelona, the team that gave birth to modern gegenpressing is now a team with no press at all. While Flick implemented possibly the world’s most dangerous system of winning back possession, Barcelona tried their best with no clear plan at all. Watch how nobody seemed to know how their teammates were pressing the opponent and compare it to Bayern’s unity in winning possession before the second goal.
Bayern have eliminated a big club for the first time since 2016, some might even argue since 2013 and are through to the semi-finals. No matter how great Pep Guardiola and Manchester City possibly are, after this performance everybody will be looking at them as the heavy favourites. This 8:2 (eight!) is already one for the history books but true football-immortality only awaits with winning this competition. Two games are yet to be won. Two teams are yet to be defeated. It’s not over yet.