Barcelona played host to Bayern Munich in the opening game of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Both sides are the favourites to make it out of Group E and are likely to battle it out for the top spot in the group.
Heading into the game, Barcelona were looking for revenge for the 8-2 thrashing they received at the hands of Bayern Munich last year. However, it was not to be, as the Bavarian side comprehensively defeated the Catalan giants 3-0.
Robert Lewandowski scored a brace for Bayern Munich, while Thomas Muller also got on the scoresheet. Meanwhile, Barcelona barely showed any attacking threat.
The Blaugrana started with three defenders as Gerard Pique started alongside Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia. The midfield consisted of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri, with Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto on either flank. Luuk De Jong made his first start for the club, leading the line alongside his compatriot Memphis Depay.
The first half started slowly, with Bayern Munich looking more likely to score. Barcelona stars Luuk De Jong and Memphis Depay were shackled by the Bavarians' defense. Frenkie De Jong did his best to get forward, but the Catalans barely got a foothold in their opponents' half.
All of Bayern Munich's pressure paid off in the 34th minute when Thomas Muller saw his shot fly past Marc-Andre ter Stegen following a deflection off Eric Garcia.
Barcelona looked out of sorts in the first half, while Bayern Munich looked comfortable as they went into half-time in high spirits.
The second half started on a brighter note for the Catalan giants. However, the Bavarians asserted their dominance once again when Leroy Sane forced a good save out of Ter Stegen.
Bayern Munich soon doubled their lead as Robert Lewandowski found the net in the 56th minute. This forced Barcelona to immediately make three substitutions as youngsters Gavi and Yusuf Demir replaced Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto. Ronald Koeman opted to bring on the youngsters despite having more established stars like Sergino Dest and Philippe Coutinho on the bench.
Coutinho did find his way onto the pitch in the 66th minute as the Brazilian replaced Luuk De Jong. These substitutions breathed new life into Barcelona's attack as they found themselves further up the pitch on more occasions than at any point during the match. However, Bayern Munich still looked comfortable as they thwarted any attack that Barcelona could muster.
The Bundesliga giants found the net again in the 84th minute when Lewandowski showed great composure in the box to fire past Ter Stegen.
Despite being convincingly beaten, Barcelona did have a few players who did well on the night. Without further ado, let's take a look at the five best Blaugrana players against Bayern Munich.
Barcelona's 5 best players from their 3-0 loss against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League
#5 Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique was Barcelona's most reliable defender on the night. The Spaniard tried his best to organize his inexperienced teammates against the well-oiled machine that is Bayern Munich.
The centre-back was calm in possession and barely made any errors in the game. However, he was completely fooled by Robert Lewandowski's fake shot before the Polish hitman's second goal.
Aside from that error, Pique showed that his leadership abilities will be key for Barcelona during the 2021-22 season.
#4 Jordi Alba
Jordi Alba was Barcelona's biggest attacking threat on the night. He constantly ran down the left flank and tried to put in crosses for the likes of Luuk De Jong.
Along with his attacking exploits, the Spaniard often had to cover defensively for Eric Garcia, who could not handle Kingsley Coman for most of the game.
Alba showed once again why he is one of Barcelona's most important players. The defender was substituted in the 74th minute and looked absolutely exhausted after coming off.