Barcelona started the game brightly, but as Benfica raced into the lead in Group E’s other game, it was apparent that the Spanish giants would need to beat a Bayern outfit that has been a familiar foe in recent years. The Bundesliga champions grew into the game, and eventually got the breakthrough after 34 minutes as two of their veterans combined. Robert Lewandowski twisted his way beyond Gerard Piqué and delivered a cross that was met by Thomas Müller, who managed to loop a header over Marc-André ter Stegen despite being off-balance.
While the German had no chance for the first goal, the former Borussia Mönchengladbach stopper would soon be found wanting when his team needed him most. Three minutes before HT, Leroy Sané was allowed space to shoot, and he thundered in a 25-yard strike that left Ter Stegen flapping at thin air.
Within moments of the restart, Sané should have doubled his tally as Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman teamed up to put a chance on a plate for him. However, the German somehow found the grateful arms of Ter Stegen with the goal at his mercy. Davies was again provider when ‘Die Bayern’ eventually found a third goal, as the Canadian raced to the byline and pulled back for Jamal Musiala, who slotted home to confirm Bayern’s dominance.
Barcelona avoided the capitulation of their 8-2 drubbing 18 months ago, but this was another chapter in their slow decline into mediocrity, as they now head into their first ever UEFA Europa League campaign. The contrast with their opponents could not be more stark, as the German giants joined Ajax and Liverpool in topping their UCL group with maximum points.