Football

Champions League quarterfinals: Bayern 8 Barcelona 2

Early strike: Thomas Muller set the ball rolling Bayern Munich’s way with a goal in the fourth minute.

Early strike: Thomas Muller set the ball rolling Bayern Munich’s way with a goal in the fourth minute.  

A merciless Bayern Munich inflicted a humiliating, record defeat on Barcelona on Friday, with a scarcely believable 8-2 victory in their Champions League football quarterfinals to leave Lionel Messi forlorn and surely hastening the end of an era in Catalonia.

Thomas Mueller scored twice either side of goals from Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry in a stunning opening 31 minutes at an empty Estadio da Luz, with a David Alaba own-goal having briefly brought Barcelona back level.

Caving in

Luis Suarez pulled it back to 4-2 at one point in the second half, but Barcelona then caved in, with Joshua Kimmich getting Bayern's fifth before three more goals in the final stages, one for the prolific Robert Lewandowski and two for substitute Philippe Coutinho.

That was the really humiliating part for the beaten side, with Coutinho on loan in Bavaria from Barcelona, which spent huge money on signing the Brazilian in 2018.

Unbeaten run

This was its 19th consecutive victory in all competitions, and a 28-game unbeaten run for Hansi Flick’s side.

It has now scored 39 goals in nine Champions League outings this season.

But the story of this game is Barcelona’s remarkable capitulation and the question is what happens to it now.

Messi was 27 when it last won the Champions League in 2015.

He is 33 now and this game may make up his mind that he needs to finally leave Camp Nou if he is to win it again.

Barca was torn apart by Bayern in the 2013 semifinals, losing 7-0 on aggregate, but this was eight goals in 90 minutes.

And with an ageing team featuring six players aged 31 or older, this has to be the end of an era.

Coach Quique Setien will not survive.

His team, having already come second to Real Madrid in La Liga, simply could not cope with Bayern's pressing.

The result (quarterfinals):

Barcelona 2 (Alaba 7-og, Suarez 57) lost to Bayern Munich 8 (Mueller 4, 31, Perisic 22, Gnabry 27, Kimmich 63, Lewandowski 82, Coutinho 85, 89).

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 7:44:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/bayern-8-barcelona-2/article32364420.ece

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