For the first time since 2000, Barcelona have crashed out from the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and have been sent to the Europa League.
The Blaugrana faced Bayern Munich in a must-win encounter at the Allianz on Wednesday but despite a strong start, the Catalans lost the plot and quickly succumbed to the constant questions being posed by Bayern Munich. Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, and Jamal Musiala entered the scoresheet to complete a convincing 3-0 victory for the reigning Bundesliga champions.
Barcelona’s group stage was rather unceremonious as they were in uncharted lands, needing either Benfica to drop points against Kyiv (loss) or create history by defeating Bayern Munich away from home, for the first time ever.
Barcelona are not used to leaving it this late but the reality is that they did leave it until the final whistle and now face the harsh reality of competing in the Europa League.
Barcelona and their fans are not used to playing in the Europa League and it is going to be a harsh test of character and mettle for the Catalan giants.
The team lacked intensity or rather, could not keep up with the intensity shown by Bayern Munich after an impressive start.
Speaking after the game, Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez did not mince any words as he had to come to terms with the current reality, despite being optimistic about beating Bayern away from home.
“I’m angry. This is the reality and it pisses me off. We have to tackle it face-on. There’s nothing else for it. A new era starts today. We start from zero,” he said.
“Barça’s objective is the Champions League, not the Europa League. But our reality now is the Europa League and we have to go all the way and win it. This is Barça’s goal – to win every game and win every title.”
Xavi further added that he is the one who feels responsible for this loss and that things will have to “change”.
There is no other way to put it and it is what it is. Barcelona are in the Europa League and will find it difficult to win it.
Club president Joan Laporta calls for calm
Speaking to Tv3, Laporta said, “I call on all Catalans: now more than ever, we have to row in the same direction. We will work to reverse the sporting and financial situation.” [via tv3]”.
Barcelona lacked intensity, says Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller, who is the leading goal-scorer against Barcelona in the UCL, summed up the state of the visitors. The German midfielder’s understanding of the current situation at Barcelona is that while the club does have good players in terms of technique, it is the lack of intensity over the 90 minutes that is hurting the former La Liga champions.
“Barça cannot cope with the intensity. Technically and tactically, they have it all. But at the highest level, they cannot match the intensity of the game.” (via DAZN)
Being relegated to Europa League is certainly an important event in Barcelona’s history and it is one that either makes or breaks this new team.
A medical student with an avid interest for the game.