The champions and game elite Barcelona have been kicked out of the UEFA Champions League. Thrashed by Bayern Munich by 3-0, it was a severe blow to the Barca who were in the race for the title for so long. The unusual event happened after two decades leaving the fans humiliated. Their only hope was miraculous news from Lisbon but that too did not happen as Benfica emerge 2-0 winners and sealed second place in Group E. A relentless team, they could have never thought of being in such a low position after Messi has announced his departure.
The last time they failed this badly in the Champions League was in 2001-02. That season, Barcelona missed the Champions League entirely and played in what was then the UEFA Cup. Barcelona’s coach Xavi was disappointed and said that they need to learn from their mistakes. They have to start from zero and head towards the Europa league now, a place not suitable for Barcelona. In the Europa League, they will face their opponents in the knockout round on Monday, December 13. The eight from the Champions League will be competing against the eight runners-up from the Europa League group stages. The winners will go into the last 16 where they will join the UEL group winners. Going through a financial crisis, the club’s performance has been on an ultimate low. They have been technically and tactically strong, yet they can’t cope up with the high intensity of football. Defeat in Munich has added to Barcelona’s financial problems as it will miss out on prize money and sponsors. Sitting seventh in La Liga means they might not be able to qualify for next year’s competition as well.
Thomas Muller, the eighth player in UEFA Champions league stole the show by scoring 50 goals entering into the Elite list of players. He did this with the help of his team mate Robert Lewandowski. There was nothing offered as a challenge by Barcelona this time and they fell apart. It was a comfortable win by Munich which placed Barcelona to third place in the group. Due to new pandemic restrictions, playing in an empty stadium didn’t affect Bayern’s morale while playing in their hometown. They qualified as the group winner and finished with six wins from six games, matching Liverpool and Ajax on a perfect record this season. It is the only German team in the round of 16 after Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig, and Wolfsburg in the group stage. The last time that happened was 2017-18.
Let’s see what the future holds for Barcelona, especially being without Messi. Who knows, it has all the makings of a true down-under-beaten up underdog story and all the folks at Barca get to tell it one day?