Lisbon, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- Bayern Munich dealt FC Barcelona a crushing defeat Friday in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, repeatedly shredding the Catalans’ hapless defense in an 8-2 shellacking.
The LaLiga giants had struggled down the stretch in the Spanish league against a level of competition well below what the Bavarians bring to the table, finishing their domestic season five points behind champion Real Madrid.
The Champions League offered a chance for Barcelona to salvage a 2019-2020 season in which they also lost in the quarterfinal stage of the Copa del Rey to Athletic Bilbao, but instead they were utterly outclassed on Friday at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon against one of soccer’s perennial powerhouses.
Bayern needed just four minutes to take the lead, with Polish superstar Robert Lewandowski setting up vice-captain Thomas Muller for the 45th goal of his Champions League career.
The Spanish club managed to hit back quickly thanks to a blunder by Austrian defender David Alaba, who inadvertently scored an own-goal in the seventh minute while attempting to clear the ball over the crossbar.
But a contest that briefly appeared to be an evenly matched battle of heavyweights quickly turned into a rout as the Bundesliga club exploited an amateurish Barcelona defense to the tune of three more first-half goals.
In the 21st minute, an unmarked Ivan Perisic received a pass from Serge Gnabry on the left and powered a shot that ricocheted off of Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet and into the top right corner of the goal past goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Six minutes later, Leon Goretzka showed exquisite touch on a pass that sailed over the head of Lenglet and bounced into the goal box. The French center-back tried to recover, but Gnabry beat him to the spot and scored on a right-footed shot past Ter Stegen to make the score 3-1.
Bayern continued to exploit Barcelona’s porous defense, scoring again in the 31st minute when Muller showed outstanding anticipation to position himself at the near post and poke home a pass by Joshua Kimmich.
Lenglet once again was a step slow and could only watch from the turf as another ball ended up in the back of the net.
After the break, Barcelona briefly got the lead back down to two when Luis Suarez received a pass from Jordi Alba and scored into the bottom left corner in minute 57.
But that would be the last highlight of the day for the Catalans.
Just after the one-hour mark, Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies showed off his exquisite skill by charging past Nelson Semedo and driving along the goal line before feeding Kimmich for an easy goal.
Three more goals then followed in the game’s final 10 minutes: one by Lewandowski on a point-blank header and a pair by substitute Philippe Coutinho, who was loaned to Bayern in August of last year by Barça.
Those latter two goals added insult to injury, as the Brazilian was a major disappointment at Camp Nou after having been acquired in 2018 from Liverpool for a club-record 160 million euros ($189 million).
Afterward, Barcelona’s president apologized for a lopsided loss that called to mind Brazil’s 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinals and Barça’s 7-0 loss on aggregate to Bayern in the 2012-2013 Champions League semifinals.
Josep Maria Bartomeu also indicated that big changes are on the horizon.
“There are some decisions that we had already made, and others that we will make over the next few days. Announcements will be made from next week, we need to make decisions after things have calmed down. Today is a day for reflection. Tomorrow we will try to raise our fans’ spirits following such a heavy defeat,” he was quoted as saying on Barcelona’s website.
“It was a devastating result. I congratulate Bayern. They played a great game and deserved to go to the semi-finals. We were not up to the occasion, and we can only apologize to the members and fans.”
Prominent Italian sports journalist Fabrizio Romano reported that one of those decisions already has been made.