The Champions League journey comes to a sorrowful end with a heavy defeat to the Germans in Lisbon
FC Barcelona’s Champions league dream is over for another year. Bayern Munich have advanced to the semi-finals and on the strength of the football played in Lisbon tonight, it is impossible to deny that the Bundesliga side earned that honour.
Three German goals in the space of ten minutes left Barça with a mountain to climb in the second half. Unfortunately not only they were unable to make it happen, but the situation descended into one of the darkest nights in the club’s history. They ended up on the receiving end of their heaviest ever defeat in European football.
The game could not have started worse. A Sergi Roberto led counter attack almost had Barça scoring first, but instead it produced a counter attack for the opposition, capped by Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller combining to put Bayern one up.
Mere moments later, Barça were back level. David Alaba stretched out a leg to prevent a Jordi Alba cross from reaching Luis Suárez, and inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.
Bayern were in a rush to make amends quickly. Barça made the most of the spaces they were leaving behind and the best of several chances saw Leo Messi hitting the post.
The forwards lines were outshining the defences in this game, and we’d seen more action in 15 minutes than some matches produce in 90.
But sadly, most of the action in what remained of the half was going to be at the wrong end of the pitch.
With the momentum back with them, the Germans went back into the lead on 21 minutes. A fine angled finish from Inter loanee Ivan Perišić meant the blaugrana were playing catch-up again. But that was only the start of the woe.
Serge Gnabry was soon blasting in a third for Bayern, and had it not been for two miracle saves by Ter Stegen, Barça could have been further behind.
But they soon were. Joshua Kimmich slipped a perfect ball for Muller to pick up his second goal, and that was 4-1. Barça fans worldwide buried their heads in their hands. This was hurting.
As the second half progressed, Bayern looked closer to extending their lead rather than Barça cutting it down.
There was a sudden ray of hope when a superb finish from Suárez narrowed the gap to two. But just when Barça looked to be back in it, young Canadian Alphonso Davies capped a powering run to feed Kimmich Bayern’s fifth. We back where we were before.
There was more pain to come. Lewandowski, the leading goalscorer in the competition, added another to his collection. There was a question of offside, but there was no use protesting by this stage.
Substitute Philippe Coutinho, on loan from Barça to the Bavarians, made it seven. And then eight. The first time Barça have conceded that many goals in a game since an 8-0 defeat to Sevilla in 1946.
It was a sad way to bring the curtain down on what has been a very long, and very strange season of football. But in just a few weeks, it will all be starting again.