Barcelona suffered a resounding 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, October 26.
Barca entered this contest on the back of a poor record in the group stages, sitting in third place with just four points from as many games. They knew nothing but a win would do if they were to have any hope of progressing to the knockout stages.
Bayern, on the other hand, have already qualified and were looking to secure victory to strengthen their claim for the top spot. Both managers fielded competitive lineups for this clash.
Barcelona made a good start to the game as they tried to play their usual possession game with quick movement in midfield. They were overcommitted at times and were caught out on one occasion early in the game. Serge Gnabry played Sadio Mane through on goal with a lovely pass. The Senegalese shrugged off a last-ditch challenge from Hecto Bellerin before scoring to make it 1-0.
Bayern hit the ground running after scoring as they pushed forward in numbers looking to add another goal. They played some expansive football, moving the ball to the wings before playing a threaded pass. Gnabry picked out Eric Maxim Choupo-Mouting with a well-timed pass on the right flank. The forward then hit the ball with force low into the goal as he made it 2-0 after 31 minutes.
Barcelona's penalty decision was reversed late in the first period. Former Bayern man Robert Lewandowski went down after a challenge from Matthijs de Ligt. The referee awarded a spot-kick on-field but was advised to overturn the call by VAR officials. There was no further action as the visitors carried a healthy two-goal cushion into the break.
Serge Gnabry had a goal ruled out shortly after the restart. Joshua Kimmich played a perfectly-weighted pass over the top towards the winger. However, he made his move slightly early as his shoulder was offside. Both managers made several changes as they looked to alter the course of the game.
Despite several half-hearted attempts to build momentum, Barcelona failed to create a credible chance in the second half. The game looked cagey for a while but Bayern showed great composure as they held their lead. They added a third goal deep into stoppage time to seal the deal.
Benjamin Pavard made a smart late move to convert Gnabry's attempted shot into an open goal in the 95th minute. The game ended shortly after as Barcelona drop down to the Europa League knockout stages. That said, let's take a look at the five hits and flops from the game.
#5. Hit - Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Choupo-Moting does not often get a chance to start games but he was in the starting XI for this game. He made the most of his chance as he scored with a smart, low drive to make it 2-0 to Bayern inside half hour.
#4. Flop - Jules Kounde
Kounde looked out of sorts and struggled against Bayern's pacey attack. He won just one of his eight duels as he struggled to mark his opponents.
#3. Hit - Sadio Mane
Mane had a great game as he scored against Barcelona, showing great strength and composure to shrug off a tackle before calmly finishing past the 'keeper. He dominated the left flank, winning 15 of his 21 duels. He also attempted three shots on target and completed two dribbles as he was a nuisance for Barcelona's defense throughout the game.
#2. Flop - Barcelona's defensive unit
Barcelona struggled to cope with Bayern's organized and intricate passing moves. The entire unit won just seven of their 39 duels collectively and were unable to track the runners effectively.
#1. Hit - Serge Gnabry
Gnabry ran riot against a hapless makeshift Barcelona defense. He made some smart runs infield but also held his width on the right flank as Bayern Munich dominated proceedings. He won four of his eight duels and created three big chances, all of which were assists for his team's three goals. He could also have had a goal had he remained onside from Kimmich's pass.