Five-time European champions Barcelona lost to Bayern Munich to miss out on the knockout stages of the Uefa Champions League for the first time in 17 years. Barcelona has not been absent from the last 16 since 2003-04 when they did not qualify for the competition at all. This exit adds to the continued poor season for the Spanish side, even with their new manager Xavi Hernandez.
Thomas Muller Punish Barca for Messi with UCL Exit
Before the game, one Bayern Munich player Thomas Muller said that before the Ballon d’Or award was handled, he felt his teammate Robert Lewandowski was cheated, so he said the best way to pay back was to ensure Barcelona, which was Messi’s former club, miss the Champions League spot. Benfica beat Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 to ensure their Champions League spot leaving Xavi’s men third and facing a Europa League knockout round play-off.
The game, played in snowy conditions and without fans because of a rise in Covid-19 cases in Germany, had got away from the visitors by half-time. Bayern Munich started the scoring through Thomas Muller, who had promised Barca Champions League exit beforehand. Former Manchester City star player Leroy Sane doubled their lead thanks to a superb 30-yard strike.
Jamal Musiala added a third goal in the second half with a routine finish after a pull-back from Alphonso Davies. After the game, Thomas Muller came out and said they “Barcelona” can’t keep up with the intensity that currently prevails in top-class football, and so they took advantage of that.
Barcelona had chances to take the lead when it was goalless, but Jordi Alba had his goal saved by Manuel Neuer, and Ousmane Dembele also wasted a chance by firing over. Bayern advanced as group winners with a 100% record. Benfica finished on eight points, with Barcelona, who only scored twice in the entire group stage, on seven points.
The draw for the Europa League takes place on Monday at midnight GMT in Nyon, Switzerland, and Barca will play one of the Europa League group runners-up, with Rangers one of their potential opponents.