Xavi Hernandez’s side went into the match knowing they already had no chance of reaching the knockout round for the second year in a row after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in the early window on Monday.
First-half goals from Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw Bayern clinch top spot in Group C on 15 points with one game to play, while Inter Milan finish second. Barcelona, who will finish third regardless of results on the final matchday, are headed for the Europa League.
“We have to face our new reality, today we didn’t even have the level to compete,” Xavi said after the match. “I believe today the psychological side weighed on us, going into the game knowing that we were already out.
“We started the season with very high expectations, but ended up in a very complicated group and didn’t manage to be at the necessary level to compete with them. It’s a huge disappointment.”
Bayern raced into the lead with an early goal from Mane, who ran on to a pinpoint through ball from Serge Gnabry, fended off Barca’s Hector Bellerin and cleverly chipped the ball past an onrushing Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Choupo-Moting doubled the lead for the visitors right on 30 minutes, finishing from a tight angle through Ter Stegen’s legs after being played in with another clever ball from Gnabry.
Barca looked set to halve the deficit from the penalty spot just before the break, but referee Anthony Taylor overturned his call for a foul in the area on Robert Lewandowski after a visit to the pitch-side monitor showed the Poland striker had stepped into his defender to initiate the contact.
Gnabry continued his torrid night netting a third for Bayern, but his well-taken shot for the left side of the penalty area was ruled out for a marginal offside call in the buildup.
With the match all but over, substitute Benjamin Pavard scored at the back post after Gnabry’s cross-shot fell kindly to him for Bayern’s final goal of the evening.
“The way we won gives us a lot of energy. I don’t think Barca were expecting us to be so bold. But you have to do that when you play against Barcelona,” Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann said after the match. “We scored two lovely goals and added a third at the end. We defended with so much passion. The team made a statement tonight.”
Since winning the Champions League title for the last time in 2015, Barca have reached the semifinals only once, in 2019. They lost 8-2 to Bayern in the 2020 quarterfinals, were knocked out in the round of 16 by PSG in 2021, and failed to make it past the group stage in the last two editions.
Last year, Barca’s exit at the group stage came after the departure of Lionel Messi to Paris and the financial crisis that led to the resignation of the entire club board.
They have won only one of their five games in the group so far and will go into the second-tier Europa League after ending up third in the group for the second year in a row.
Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich – Football Match Report – October 26, 2022
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