Bayern Munich extended their UEFA Champions League (UCL) head to head record against FC Barcelona to five successive wins with a formidable second-half display to muster a 2-0 victory. It is Barça’s first defeat since May, ending their 14-match unbeaten run.
Bayern Munich condemned Barcelona to a first group stage exit since 2000/01 with a 3-0 win at home last season on the final matchday, but with club legend Robert Lewandowski now plying his trade at Barça, it was never going to be easy to overcome the rejuvenated away outfit.
It took the visitors less than 10 minutes to establish their grit, as midfield starlet Pedri forced Manuel Neuer into a brilliant save with his left foot.
Lewandowski’s return to his previous home almost proved fruitful early on when he sent his volleyed effort inches over the woodwork following a lovely pass by Gavi, before nodding a header right at Neuer from point-blank range.
With Die Roten struggling to etch their mark, perhaps influenced by their meek domestic form, Marcel Sabitzer came agonizingly close to shifting the momentum after the half-hour mark when his dipping shot from outside the box edged past the left post.
Barça, who were on top for a good 50 minutes, were dealt successive blows right after restart. Lucas Hernandez delivered an opportune header following a delightful corner by Joshua Kimmich to put Bayern in the driving seat, before Leroy Sané executed a fine solo run and deft finish to send the Allianz Arena berserk.
A mazy run and clever one-two with Lewandowski put Pedri clear on goal on the hour mark, only to see his sleek touch bounce off the post, much to the dismay of coach Xavi Hernández.
Despite pushing back in search of a consolation goal towards the end, the Blaugrana head back to Spain empty-handed. They will be utterly disappointed following a fantastic but goalless first-half display.
Daniel Ademiju Idowu