WThe pros from FC Bayern couldn’t really cheer up their former colleague Robert Lewandowski after the final whistle. On the lawn of the Camp Nou, they hugged the Pole and chatted with him, but after the sovereign 3-0 (2-0) of Munich, the frustration at FC Barcelona and the world footballer was deep. Because while Bayern were the group winners after Wednesday evening’s victory in the Champions League, Barça and Lewandowski were already clear before the game.
“Today it was important for us to be number one in our group. I’m very happy about that, we did it very well,” said Bayern defender Matthijs de Ligt on DAZN. “Against Barça you have to play very aggressively, very intensely. With our intensity, with our aggressiveness, we did it very well.”
Sadio Mané (10th minute), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (31st) and Benjamin Pavard (90th + 5) scored the goals for Munich. The Catalans, on the other hand, didn’t have a clear chance to score thanks to the outstanding defensive work of the guests. The former Bavarian Lewandowski, shaking his head in front of around 90,000 spectators, was annoyed that he was initially awarded a penalty after seeing the video images (45.+1). A fine flick from Serge Gnabry was also not given due to an offside position (54th). The strong Gnabry also prepared the third Bayern goal in injury time.
“Top performance again today, top score,” said Choupo-Moting. “It was another difficult game today against a strong team, even though Barca were eliminated earlier.”
FC Bayern: Choupo-Moting meets again
The mood of Lewandowski and the Catalan star ensemble was already in the basement before the kick-off, because Inter Milan’s 4-0 win over Viktoria Pilsen had already sealed the end of the fight for the round of 16. Before the last day of the preliminary round in a week, when FC Bayern host Inter, all the placements are already certain. As group winners, Munich have home rights in the second leg of the round of 16 in February and March next year. The draw will take place on November 7th, where Bayern will not get another first-placed team drawn.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann wanted to “set an example” with a strong performance in Spain – and that’s exactly what his stars did. In the course of the first half, Barça often controlled the ball, but even Lewandowski did not become dangerous against his former colleagues who defended in a disciplined manner. Instead, the Munich team took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves.
Twice it was the strong Gnabry who initiated Bayern’s first goals. First, the national player played a sensational diagonal pass to Mané, who pushed in freely in front of Marc-André ter Stegen to take the lead. Around 20 minutes later, after a perfect counterattack, Gnabry put it across to Choupo-Moting, who shot ter Stegen dry through the legs. On the other hand, Lewandowski hardly took place, the Pole was repeatedly slowed down by the strong Matthijs de Ligt.
Shortly before the break, however, the Dutchman seemed to be late. After a duel with Lewandowski, referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty. But when he watched the scene again on the video screen, the Englishman took the penalty back: de Ligt had touched the ball very lightly in front of Lewandowski.
Most viewers didn’t think anything of this decision at all. After there had already been whistles during the premier class anthem before the game, the referee was dismissed with a concert of whistles during the break. It wasn’t just an intense game for Taylor because of that. Because of their consistent defensive work, the Munich team had already received three yellow cards after 35 minutes. But it paid off as Barcelona could hardly create any chances.
Dayot Upamecano and de Ligt worked so well in the center of defense that Lewandowski and the entire Barça offensive could not develop. Bayern’s defense was the key to victory. And Gnabry had already made it 3-0 up front after a fine Kimmich pass – but the goal was withdrawn due to an offside position (55th). Barcelona, on the other hand, didn’t create a clear chance.
FC Bayern has now won its preliminary group for the fifth time in a row and for the 17th time in total in this competition. Only opponents Barcelona managed to do this more often (18 times).