BAYERN MUNICH 2-0 BARCELONA: Goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane rendered Robert Lewandowski’s homecoming a bitter one, as Julian Nagelsmann got the better of Xavi in the Champions League
Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane scored within four second-half minutes of each other to give Julian Naglesmann ‘s side all three points on matchday two of the Champions League group stage. And it was a stark game of two halves, as Barcelona dominated the first 45 minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Lewandowski missed most of their gilt-edge chances, as Manuel Neuer and some desperate Bayern defending denied their ex-teammate a goal on his return to Munich, as Barcelona prolonged their record of zero wins in seven visits to Munich.
Here are six talking points from the Allianz Arena.
1. Barca’s barnstorming start
It’s not often you see Bayern Munich play on the counter attack when they’re at home, but that’s exactly what Julian Nagelsmann’s team were forced into doing after Barcelona rocked them during the opening exchanges. Excellent play from the visitors with less than 10 minutes on the clock led to a golden opportunity for Pedri, but the teenage prodigy’s shot was blocked by the leg of Manuel Neuer.
And then came Robert Lewandowski’s turn to probe his former teammates – three times, in fact. Firstly, the prolific Pole intercepted a misplaced pass from Neuer but couldn’t edge his way into a shooting position. Next, he blazed a volley from close range over the bar in his and Barcelona’s best chance of scoring early on.
Then the Bayern goalkeeper was there to deny the away team again by saving Lewandowski’s third effort, a header inside the six-yard box. To compound the onslaught, Raphinha soon cracked an effort from outside the penalty area, whizzing past the post to prompt a sigh of relief from the hosts, who’d somehow held Barcelona for the first half an hour.
2. Bayern fans’ Royal message
Away from the exciting events on the pitch, a section of Bayern supporters made their feelings known during the first half on how the death of Queen Elizabeth II has affected football fans.
Focussing on how Napoli supporters have been denied a trip to Glasgow to face Rangers tomorrow due to strained police forces in the UK – which in-turn means Rangers won’t have any travelling fans for the return fixture in Italy – a message read: “Last minute match delays and bans because of a Royal’s death?! Respect fans!”
3. Lucky escape for Davies
Over the past few weeks, particularly in the Premier League, we’ve had plenty of controversy thanks to VAR deciding to take centre stage. At the Allianz Arena, though, it was the technology’s puzzling absence that meant Alphonso Davies avoided the embarrassment of conceding a penalty at the end of the first half.
The Bayern left-back brought down Ousmane Dembele just inside the penalty area without winning any of the ball, as Barcelona rallied for one final attack before Dutch referee Danny Makkelie blew his whistle. Xavi Hernandez and co appealed for a foul, but their cries fell on deaf ears as the decision was waved away by both Makkelie and his off-field colleagues.
4. Hernandez heads home
Having spent the first 45 minutes under the cosh, Bayern were different outfit at the start of the second period. The home side won an early corner and Joshua Kimmich’s in-swinging was met by Lucas Hernandez, who found himself in acres of space and planted a header past Marc-Andre ter Stegan.
It was ex-Chelsea stalwart Marcos Alonso who was culpable for letting the French defender go, as Hernandez bagged only his second ever goal in three years with the Bundesliga champions. Barcelona’s dominance hadn’t returned from the dressing room at half-time and it was about get worse.
5. Sane rubs salt in the wounds
With no mercy for their bamboozled opponents, Bayern doubled their lead thanks to a slick move that former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane finished in ice-cool fashion. 19-year-old midfielder Jamal Musiala threaded him through on goal, but Sane still had plenty of work to do after his electric speed got him away.
Slotting past outstretched German stopper Ter Stegen, new signing Jules Kounde couldn’t rush back in time to clear the ball before it crossed the line and the scoreboard ticked to 2-0. Nagelsmann and co had recovered emphatically, and Barcelona could only rue their squandered opportunities from earlier in the topsy-turvy night.
6. Lewy’s unhappy homecoming
It was billed to be the night that Robert Lewandowski made Bayern remember what they’d lost this summer, but there was no such feeling when the final whistle blew. In fact, it was a familiar feeling for the Bavarians, who ensured that Barcelona still haven’t won on any of their seven visits to Munich.
Their old marksman rued his slew of missed chances, and his current teammates eventually ran out of supply for him, as Pedri came closest to scoring consolation goal. The Spanish starlet somehow struck the post when the whole stadium was waiting to say: ‘Game on’.
Xavi and co will now go back to the drawing board and plot a response when the Blaugrana return to La Liga action against Elche at the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Nagelsmann – who’d been the subject of scrutiny over the weekend – is bidding to end a run of three successive Bundesliga draws when Bayern travel to Augsburg.