It was always going to be a tall order for Barcelona to win in Bavaria, but after half an hour of the game against Bayern Munich, the Catalans were still holding their own.
Once Thomas Muller put the hosts ahead, however, there was an air of inevitability about the match from Barca’s point of view.
With little firepower up front, and Benfica winning in the other group game, the Blaugranes needed to strike back quickly, but instead they went further behind to a Leroy Sane blockbuster.
From that point onwards, it became an exercise in damage limitation.
A third goal in the second half merely underscored the gulf between the two teams, and it became, incredibly, the 10th time since 2017 that Barcelona have left in three or more goals in a Champions League game.
Tonight was Barcelona’s 10th (!) UCL loss by 3 goals or more since February 2017. Overseen by 5 different coaches.
PSG 4-0 Barca
Juve 3-0 Barca
Roma 3-0 Barca
Liverpool 4-0 Barca
Bayern 8-2 Barca
Barca 0-3 Juve
Barca 1-4 PSG
Barca 0-3 Bayern
Benfica 3-0 Barca
Bayern 3-0 Barca
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) December 8, 2021
Goals scored by Barça in the #UCL group stage in the last decade:
— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) December 8, 2021
Xavi has got an incredibly tough job on his hands, and how he works the January transfer market will arguably author how well the second half of the 2021/22 campaign goes for the club.
It could still end up being a relative success for the club, but Wednesday night’s result was another indicator of how far they’ve fallen and how far they have to go to get back to the top.