You don’t need to pinch yourself. Seriously, that did actually just happen.
Barcelona fell to their heaviest European defeat of all time on Friday evening as Bayern Munich stormed to a terrifyingly dominant 8-2 victory, in a game which felt eerily similar to an adult taking a back garden kickabout at a five-year-old’s birthday party far too seriously.
8-2. Let’s repeat that: 8-2.
The crazy thing about this game is that it actually started fairly evenly. Barcelona could have netted five in the first ten minutes.
They forced David Alaba into an own goal, hit the post and had a Luis Súarez shot well saved by Manuel Neuer, and it looked like we could be in for a 10-10 kind of game.
Bayern decided to hold up their side of the bargain, tearing Barça’s defence open with terrorising ease.
Thomas Müller, Ivan Perišić and Serge Gnabry were all on the score sheet in the first half, with Müller finding the back of the net twice to ensure that this tie was over at half time. Even at 4-1, this looked embarrassing for Barcelona.
If only we knew what was coming.
The worst was yet to come for Barça. Joshua Kimmich fired home after a run from Alphonso Davies which may very well force Nélson Semedo into an early retirement, before Robert Lewandowski beat the offside trap to head home.
And the worst was still yet to come.
Off the bench came Philippe Coutinho – the same Coutinho who joined Barça for £142m, was deemed to be a flop and shipped out on loan to Bayern – and he scored. Twice. You can’t make this stuff up.
There’s a lot of things which won’t be forgotten quickly from this game. We’ll be talking about it for a long, long time.
However, the best thing to come out of the whole thing?
Literally three minutes before the beating began. Comedic timing at its finest.
Right. Well. That was something. Bayern Munich just beat Barcelona 8-2 in a one-legged Champions League quarter-final, Philippe Coutinho came off the bench to assist one and score two against the team he’s still contracted to, and…wow.
Wow. There’s not a huge amount to add to that (except for, say, player ratings and a roundup of what they’ve been saying on social media), so here’s the bare facts from our friends at Opta.
– Bayern Munich became the first team in Champions League history to score eight goals in a knockout match, and the first in the European Cup since Real Madrid in the 1990/91 last 16 against FC Wacker Innsbruck (9-1 win).
– Barcelona lost a match by six-goals for the first time since April 1951, when they were beaten 6-0 by Espanyol in a league match.
– Bayern Munich have reached their 12th Champions League semi-final – only Real Madrid have done so more often (13).
– Barcelona shipped eight goals in a match for the first time since an 8-0 defeat to Sevilla in April 1946.
– Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski became the first player to score in eight or more consecutive Champions League matches since Cristiano Ronaldo in April 2018 (11 games).
– Barcelona have been eliminated in the quarter-final of the Champions League for a fourth time in the last five seasons.
– Bayern Munich have won their last 19 matches in all competitions, a record run in German top-flight football in all competitions.
– Bayern manager Hans-Dieter Flick became only the third manager in Champions League history to win his first six matches in charge, after Fabio Capello in 1992/93 and Luis Fernandez in 1994/95.
– Barcelona have lost six Champions League matches against Bayern Munich – two more than against any other side.
– Thomas Müller scored six goals against Barcelona in the Champions League, the most a player has ever scored against the Spaniards in the competition’s history.
For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!
Friday’s Champions League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich went about as bad as it possibly could have for Barcelona. Not only were they beaten, but they were utterly humiliated for 90 gruelling minutes. Never before have they lost a European game by a scoreline as bad as 8-2.
Every shortcoming which fans have highlighted in Barcelona’s game this year was on show, and now there will be real questions asked about how Barça recover from this.
The problem is that it doesn’t seem as though Barcelona have any idea how to do that.
Nobody at Camp Nou will deny that something needs to change with Barcelona, but if you look at their transfer strategy, it seems as though the focus is on splashing out on yet another attacker – Lautaro Martínez. Why?
Yes, Luis Súarez is getting old and will need replacing at some point, but that simply cannot be the priority now. The defence needs fixing and the midfield is in dire need of some rejuvenation.
Bayern completely tore Barça apart all evening, looking like vultures picking away at the corpse of a dying animal, and there was nothing anybody could do to stop them. In midfield, Sergio Busquets looked like he should have retired ten years ago, Frenkie de Jong looked like an awkward fit in the team and Sergi Roberto looked like he should probably stick to being a backup right-back.
What have Barcelona done to ‘improve’? Sold the young Arthur and replaced him with the deteriorating Miralem Pjanić. Why? Oh, because the board put themselves in a disastrous financial position.
In defence, Gerard Piqué and Clement Lenglet lacked control and leadership. Jordi Alba looked like he’d forgotten how to play football. Nélson Semedo couldn’t get anywhere close to Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka, who waltzed through Barcelona’s back line without even trying.
What are Barcelona doing about that? Focusing their efforts on signing Manchester City’s Eric García, who has a grand total of 22 senior appearances to his name. Why?
This squad is crying out for significant investment, but Barcelona have missed the chance to do that. Sure, they couldn’t have predicted the coronavirus outbreak or the financial impact that would have, but it’s their fault for not addressing things sooner.
For too long, the focus has blindly been on the attack. Philippe Coutinho wasn’t needed. Antoine Griezmann definitely wasn’t needed. You can’t just bank on scoring 1,000 goals a game and forgetting that the rest of the pitch exists.
It’s time for the Barça board to wake up. Well, it was time to wake up about four years ago. It’s too late now. From top to bottom at Camp Nou, a whole lot needs to change.
The Italians are renowned for their exquisite taste in all things fashion and design. From clothes, to cars, to furniture, they’re obsessed with making everything infinitely cooler. And it works.
While many see Milan as the most fashionable club in Italy (sort of by default) Juventus have got the style to back up their previous decade of success too. While the white and black stripes of the home shirt are always a welcome sight, they’ve also had their fair share of decent away kits, too.
Whether it’s a modern approach using muted tones, a pastel effort using shades of yellow and blue, or a hark back to their origins with the dashes of pink, they always take to the pitch in style.
Almost always, anyway.
With that in mind, here’s Juve’s ten greatest change kits.
Every now and then, Juventus celebrate their roots by releasing a standout pink kit. While a pink kit is always going to be polarising, it’s hard to find fault with this one.
Alessandro Del Piero was on fire this term, scoring 32 goals in all competitions as Juve wound up Serie A winners and runners up in the Champions League. Also in the squad were the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte, Edgar Davids and Filippo Inzaghi.
Who knew Kappa would be so cool in 2020?
That combination of yellow and blue is so striking, it’s so hard not to like.
While the traditionalists will immediately criticise the updated Juve badge (which…fair) we can look past it here. That blue neck, combined with the blue sleeve cuffs and the ‘Jeep’ sponsor creates a basic but beautiful effort.
Simplicity at its best.
The 2010/11 season was a rather disappointing one on pitch for the Old Lady. They finished seventh in Serie A and didn’t make it out of the group stage in the Europa League, but at least they did so poorly in style.
A change of pace from their usual colours, Juventus took to the field in a white base, with a green and a red jagged stripe down the centre. Topped off with a nice vintage collar, this goes under the radar as easily one of Juve’s greatest kits.
Another pink kit, another love it or loathe it situation.
While at a glance the Kappa effort might appear more nostalgically attractive, Nike’s take on Juve’s classic colours is more inventive and more sleek. The black star that wraps around the kit is incredibly unique and stands out well against the hot pink base.
This would likely be Juventus’ best ever pink kit, if it wasn’t for another certain pink effort. But we’ll get to that…
A modern take on classic club colours, there’s not much bad you can say about this. Nike nailed it.
A royal blue base with very subtle yellow accents, the shirt was topped off by a faded star effect that covered the torso. Simple, yet so effective in taking the kit up another notch.
They wore it in a largely successful season, too. I Bianconeri won the Scudetto – again – and finished runners up in the Champions League, second to an incredible Barcelona team.
Not one for the football traditionalists, Juve’s collaboration with ‘hypebeast’ skateboard brand Palace is everything wrong with modern football. And it’s so so good.
Palace teamed up with adidas to provide a collection of team wear for Juventus, including this incredible fourth kit. A take on the classic black and white stripes, it was spruced up with neon accents to make a truly one of a kind kit.
Your dad hates it.
It’s virtually impossible to get a combination like yellow and blue wrong – so when it’s done incredibly well, it’s better than ever.
Nike knocked it out of the park in this blend of modern and traditional. Classic Juve colours combined with a big vintage collar, but made to feel new with the slick black central line and black and white trim around the sleeves, and the sleek black ‘Jeep’ sponsor.
Topping it off, though, is the black and white on the collar. Absolutely unbelievable.
Ban all monochrome badges. Except this one. It’s perfect.
It’s a little bit odd when black and gold kits pop up in the lower divisions of football, but it’s hard to stay mad. No matter who uses it, it always looks incredible. adidas delivered big time with their first season of kits for Juventus, and this is no exception.
A simple template, with the primary sponsor coloured accordingly, and a peak Paul Pogba dabbing at every opportunity. Football heritage.
Before Nike and adidas could try their hand at making cool, slick blue and yellow kits for Juventus, Kappa had already been there and done it.
From top to bottom, this kit is immense. The huge yellow stars are so unique and are something you don’t see these days. The collar is flawless and the ‘Sony’ sponsor with the vintage Juve badge is so 90s it hurts.
Turn up to any bar or music festival with this and you’ve won.
How on earth is it possible to make a pink kit so outrageously stylish?
In their debut season, the brand with the three stripes got it spot on for Juventus. Their home strip was a classic, the black and gold third kit was a welcome change of pace and this pink away kit remains iconic.
Every element works so well with one another. The pink base is softened by hits of black and white, and the bursts of red give the shirt relief to create one of the greatest shirts ever. It helps that ‘Jeep’ are a great looking shirt sponsor, too.
The Old Lady bowed out of the Champions League at the round of 16 but completed a domestic treble in this season, making the kit feel all the more special.
We’re into the late stages of the Europa League now, and three teams have dominated the headlines up to this point.
Will Manchester United win it to bring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his first trophy? Can Inter save their season with some silverware? Can Wolves snatch a place in the Champions League by lifting the trophy?
Have we all just forgotten about Sevilla, the side who know more about winning the Europa League than anyone right now?
By winning three consecutive trophies between 2013 and 2016, Sevilla proved that they are capable of going all the way in this competition. They know what it takes to get over the finish line and they will be looking to call upon that experience this summer.
Granted, they haven’t come close to replicating that success since 2016, but the 2019/20 campaign saw Sevilla reach the kind of heights which haven’t been seen at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán for the last few years.
Julen Lopetegui’s side climbed up to third in La Liga, finishing as Spain’s best side not called Real Madrid or Barcelona. They also boasted the third best defence in the division, and that’s the key to Sevilla’s chances of winning the Europa League.
The highlight of Sevilla’s side has been their centre-backs. Diego Carlos has enjoyed an astounding season which has seen him linked with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, and the continuing development of young Jules Koundé has been just as exciting to watch.
The pair’s perfect combination of power and technical ability makes them the perfect duo. Whether you want to attack on the air or on the ground, Carlos and Koundé know how to come out on top. The only way you get past them is if one of them makes a rare mistake.
Sevilla now have a pair of £60m centre-backs and 21-year-old Koundé’s value will only rise as the years go by. Carlos in the one to have attracted most interest, but there’s an argument to suggest that Koundé should be the man on top sides’ wish lists in his place.
Either side of those central defenders are the exciting full-backs Sergio Reguilón and Jesús Navas. Beginning with Reguilón, who has found himself in the headlines with links to Chelsea and Napoli, he was named La Liga’s best left-back after showcasing an incredible combination of attacking flair and defensive strength.
The Real Madrid loanee is capable of recovering possession and kick-starting a counter attack, and the same can be said of Navas, whose transition from an ageing winger with Manchester City to a dominant right-back has gone better than anyone expected.
Behind them, cup stopper Bono has kept six clean sheets from his eight appearances this year, but Lopetegui could call on regular starter Tomáš Vaclík if he wants even more strength at the back.
Not only do Sevilla boast the scariest defence left in the competition, but they’re not half bad going forwards either.
With Argentinian maestro Éver Banega pulling the strings in midfield, winger Lucas Ocampos has finally proven himself as a top talent, racking up 17 goals in all competitions and adding five assists for good measure.
Add in solid contributions from Luuk de Jong, Munir El Haddadi and Suso and you’ll find a dynamic attack capable of taking whatever chances come their way.
Sevilla’s strength definitely comes from the back, but there’s nothing wrong with that. They go into every game knowing that their opponents will struggle to score, while simultaneously being confident that they can snatch the one goal which may be enough to get the job done. Just look at their quarter-final win over Wolves as proof of that.
It’s not always the most exciting football to watch, but who cares about that right now? It’s time to get results, not impress the YouTube highlight reel merchants. That’s what Sevilla do best, and that’s why they will be confident of lifting the Europa League trophy when all is said and done.
For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!