Lewandowski Secured Two Goals As Bayern Defeat Barcelona At Camp Nou

As he did a year ago in Lisbon, Thomas Müller put Bayern ahead. It wasn’t as early, and it was a far scruffier goal, but Barcelona must have felt history was repeating itself.

Six of the Barcelona starting lineup were there on that night in Portugal a year ago, but a lot more has changed since that historic night when Bayern scored eight goals to break and belittle Barca.

Bayern Munich has a different head coach now, while Barcelona no longer have Lionel Messi to turn to. And yet the same haunting reality remains for Barcelona. What used to be one of the most prestigious European games is now a mismatch between two clubs moving in opposite directions.

Ahead of this game, Marc Roca told “Mundo Deportivo” that Julian Nagelsmann was a head coach “committed to modern football.” In Barcelona, the result of that commitment was on show as, after an opening 10 minutes in which to find their feet, Bayern dominated the home side. Thomas Müller’s deflected goal from outside the area was the least fitting way for Bayern to get the goal they deserved.

Despite Joshua Kimmich getting booked in the fifth minute, Bayern were strong. They manipulated space better than their hosts, controlling the game to a point where Barcelona’s steady retreat was alarming. If Hansi Flick’s Bayern devoured Barcelona a year ago, Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern slowly but surely sucked the left out of them this time around.

Total control

Nagelsmann’s Bayern is not as gung-ho as Flick’s and with that comes balance. The line between risk and reward was no longer blurred because it didn’t need to be. Despite the loud, wild antics of Nagelsmann on the sidelines, Bayern looked a steady, active, almost calming presence, lulling their seemingly hopeless hosts into submission.

Were it not for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, that dominance would have been better reflected in the scoreline. The German keeper twice denied Leroy Sané, although could do nothing about Jamal Musiala’s thunderous effort off the post or that Robert Lewandowski was the fastest to the rebound.

A raft of changes for the home side reestablished some order but only briefly. Soon Bayern’s players were lining up to score and when Serge Gnabry’s effort hit the inside of the post it was almost inevitable that Lewandowski would pounce. That the Pole had time to dance around desperate defenders before slotting into the top corner says everything about where both sides are.

Long before then though Bayern Munich had already taken it down a gear or two. What has become a regular sight in the Bundesliga was suddenly happening with 10 minutes to go against Barcelona. While that likely says more about the woes of the Spanish side, it is also a reminder to the rest of Europe that Bayern Munich are living through a golden age and it’s one they want to prolong.

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