Xavi Hernández: ‘I feel very responsible’
Played in front of an empty Allianz Arena and with snow falling from the Bavarian skies, there was already something surreal about a game that was going to mean something stranger still. Barça would be missing out on the Champions League group stage for the first time in 18 years. Take a look at Xavi’s post-match reaction after the match against Bayern.
It was an open start from both sides, the ball going from one side to another. The Bavarians were looking the quicker of the two, but it was Jordi Alba who had the game’s first shot on target. Ousmane Dembele had a great chance past the 20th minute mark which he blazed over, and Thomas Muller cross cum shot needed saving from Ter Stegen.
The goal came just past the half hour and it was the two wily old foxes combining. Robert Lewandowski’s run in behind the backline helped in isolating Gerard Pique to the right of the goal. He bided his time before chipping a cross to the onrushing Muller whose looping header was cleared on the line by Ronald Araujo. However, the defender’s luck was out as the ball had crossed the line meaning Barcelona now needed two goals to advance. But they fell further behind 10 minutes later.
Leroy Sane took aim from more than 25 yards and his powerful strike bamboozled Ter Stegen whose weak right handed attempt was not enough. Suddenly, the visitors had a mountain to climb to after the break as Bayern were very much in control. Bayern made an excellent start to the second half, breaking at pace down the left. Alphonso Davies’ fizzed cross made it all the way through to Kingsley Coman who touched it onto Sane. With everyone expecting the net to bulge, Sane made a poor connection that was easily held by Ter Stegen.
Barcelona did have some forays forward but Bayern were always well placed to clear the danger away. The third goal eventually arrived just past the hour mark which involved beautiful linkup play again. Lewandowski dropped into midfield to pick up the ball before switching the play to Davies on the left. His pace left Araujo floundering the cutback found Jamal Musiala who tapped it in. There were some suspicions over whether the ball had crossed the line but replays showed it was not fully past.
Julian Nagelsmann was not risking anything as he brought off several off his starters, including Davies, Lewandowski and Coman. That slowed down the pace of the game considerably and even though Barcelona continued seeing bits of the ball, they could do little with it. Indeed, there was nothing to show they could even pull one goal back as the final whistle went. Xavi and his team drop down into the Europa League as Bayern win six from six.
Muller (34′), Sane (43′), Musiala (62′)