Bayern humbles Barcelona 8-2 to reach Champions League semis
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Bayern Munich inflicted on Barcelona the most humiliating defeat of the Lionel Messi era and among the worst in team history by 8-2 to reach the Champions League semifinals on Friday.
Bayern’s stunning start to the standout quarterfinal between the only past champions in the last eight saw Thomas Müller score twice and Ivan Perišić and Serge Gnabry add on in the first half hour.
Barcelona conceded eight for the first time since 1946 after Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho (twice) piled on in the second half.
Barcelona tallied only seven shots on target in the whole game, getting on the board with an own-goal by David Alaba in the first half and through Luis Suárez in the second.
“It’s a disastrous result. An embarrassment,” Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué said. “This, today, is unacceptable.”
Seeking its first title since 2013, Bayern will next face either Manchester City or Lyon, who meet on Saturday in the last quarterfinal.
Paris Saint-Germain and Leipzig are in the other semifinal of the mini-tournament being staged without fans in Lisbon amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Brutal,” Kimmich said. “It’s hard to comprehend beating Barcelona 8-2. We were so focused from the first minute, we wanted to get forward with intent. An incredible result in the end, but we’re not done yet.”
Bayern’s biggest victory in Champions League history kept alive its quest for a sixth title, which would move it ahead of Barcelona. The German club has the most wins against Barcelona in the tournament’s history.
“We knew that if we put them under pressure, we would get chances,” Bayern coach Hansi Flick said. “We have such quality and intensity in this team, now we need to recharge and focus on the next game, where we start again from zero.”
The humbling loss ended a forgettable season for Barcelona, one that included a coaching change and public disputes between players and team officials. It is the first time since 2008 the club has finished a season without a significant title. It hasn’t lifted the European trophy since 2015.
This loss recalled previous Barcelona defeats almost forgotten:
— Eight conceded for the first time since 1946 in losing to Sevilla 8-0 in the final of the equivalent to the Copa del Rey.
— Largest margin of defeat since 1951 in losing to Espanyol 6-0 in the Spanish league.
— Only second time it conceded five goals in a European match, after the 5-4 second-leg loss at Levski Sofia in the 1975-76 UEFA Cup quarterfinals.
Quique Setién’s remaining time as coach is expected to be counted in hours. He was already under fire after Barcelona relinquished the Spanish league lead — and title — to Real Madrid after the competition resumed following the pandemic break.
“Right now it’s too soon to be talking about whether I stay at the club or not,” Setién said. “The reality is that it doesn’t depend on me. It’s worth all of us working out what’s important and considering a wide range of things which correspond to a defeat of this importance and which is so painful.”
In a hectic start at Benfica’s Stadium of Light, Barcelona paid for defensive mistakes against Bayern’s potent attack, which reached 39 goals in nine games in this Champions League.
Just four minutes in, Müller scored from inside the area after a breakaway that started when Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets gave the ball away at midfield.
Barcelona equalized three minutes later when Alaba found his own net while trying to intercept a pass by Jordi Alba to Suárez.
Barcelona had a couple of great chances shortly after, with Suárez’s close-range strike being saved by Manuel Neuer and Messi’s curling cross shot hitting the far post.
Messi also missed after a run into the area, and Bayern went back in front with Perišić’s powerful shot past goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen in the 22nd.
Bayern added the third and fourth goals three minutes apart after Gnabry beat Gerard Piqué to a pass into the area in the 28th, and Müller completed a cross into the area in the 31st after Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo conceded possession.
Suárez pulled Barcelona closer in the 57th, but Kimmich added the fifth goal in the 63rd after Alphonso Davies cruised past the Barcelona defense.
Lewandowski scored with a header in the 82nd, and Coutinho — on loan from Barcelona — closed the scoring with goals in the 85th and 89th minutes and didn’t celebrate.
Bayern’s eight goals tied the record for most by a club in a match in the Champions League era. Borussia Dortmund beat Legia Warsaw 8-4 in the 2016-17 group stage. It is the most by a club in a Champions League era knockout stage.
With his double, Müller reached six goals in five matches against Barcelona on the occasion of becoming the German player with the most appearances in the Champions League at 113.
Barcelona’s demise means no Spanish club has reached the semifinals for the first time since 2007.
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