The third Quarter Final of the UEFA Champions League 2019/20 season kicked off on Friday between two European giants, Bayern Munich vs Barcelona. Barcelona were thrashed by the German club. Bayern Munich scored eight goals past Barcelona, winning 8-2. Barcelona have conceded eight goals in a game for the first time since 1946. Although, given the recent performance of Bayern Munich they went into the fixture as favorites to win. And Barcelona struggled in La Liga towards the end, especially after the restart of football. However, no one anticipated Barcelona to lose by a six goals margin. So, what exactly went wrong for the Spanish giants? Did Barcelona make things worse for themselves? Or Bayern Munich was too strong for them?
#1 Line up
Quique Setien has experimented with many different line-ups for Barcelona this season. Even in the UEFA Champions League this season. However, in a crucial game against in-form Bayern Munich, should they have gone with a 4-4-2 formation? With three holding midfielders and Sergio Roberto playing as Right Mid. Despite knowing the fact that, both Bayern Munich’s fall-backs like to go high up the pitch. Also the pace they carry on the left and right flanks with players like Serge Gnabry, Ivan Perisic, Joshua Kimmich, and the youngster Alphonso Davies.
Barcelona is very comfortable in the 4-3-3 line-up. We have seen throughout the years they have been very efficient in this line-up. Bayern Munich struggled defensively in the opening few minutes of the game. Should Quique Setien have gone with the same line-up? Or his decision for yesterday’s line-up was good only the players failed to perform? Comment below your opinions.
#2 Antoine Griezmann and Ivan Rakitic on bench
Barcelona signed Antoine Griezmann from their domestic rivals Atletico Madrid at a transfer fee of €120 million. Was it to warm the bench in a crucial game? Quique Setien benched one of the best players in the squad against Bayern Munich in a Quarter Final of the UEFA Champions League. Even in the crucial La Liga match against Atletico Madrid, Setien benched Griezamnn, through which Barcelona dropped points and Real Madrid extended their gap in the title race. Instead of playing four midfielders and only two attackers, Setien should have gone with three midfielders and three attackers.
Barcelona also missed Ivan Rakitic’s vision and experience in the midfield. They went with holding midfielders. Bayern Munich’s defense in the early stages of the match struggled just like Barcelona. The defense was exploited many times and Barcelona had many chances. In these kinds of situations, Ivan Rakitic’s vision and passing ability would have opened up Bayern Munich’s defense many times creating chances for their attackers.
Barcelona surely missed the duo in the crucial UEFA Champions League match against the German club.
#3 Bayern Munich’s High Press
In the Round Of 16 match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, we saw how Real Madrid struggled with Manchester City’s high press. Real Madrid got dispossessed several times out of which two errors led to the goals. Similarly, Bayern Munich troubled Barcelona with their high pressing. Bayern Munich used a high line defending as Barcelona did not have pace in their attack.
They used a high 4-4-2 press with Muller and Lewandowski upfront. When ter Stegan played the ball to one of the centre-backs, Lewandowski dropped in the mid-field and marked Busquets, cutting off the passing option. Bayern’s wingers pressed high and cutting other options to pass the ball. Forcing the defender to play it back to the keeper, ter Stegan. Then Lewandoski pressed forcing ter Stegan to misplace the pass and end up giving the possesion. Ter Stegan only had 71% pass accuracy in the game. Bayern saw many chanced with this high press mechanism, including a big chance for Lewandowski at 29th minute, but he failed to convert the chance.
#4 Barcelona fail to convert Opportunities
Bayern Munich made a lot of mistakes defensively in the opening minutes of the game. Out of which one ended up gifting a goal for Barcelona. But other than that Barcelona had many chances to score goals and change the momentum of the game.
- In the 9th minute, Suarez failed to score against Neuer, the Uruguayan striker came one-on-one against the keeper. But, Neuer came off the line to deny the goal-scoring opportunity.
- In the very next minute, Lionel Messi provided an excellent ball in the box. Where Bayern Munich defenders failed to mark any of the Barcelona players. All four players failing to make contact with the ball. Eventually, the ball hit the post denying a great goal scoring opportunity for Barcelona in the opening minutes.
Had Barcelona converted these chances, the entire momentum would have changed towards the Spanish giants.
UEFA Champions League never fails us to surprise. RB Leipzig’s shocking victory over Atletico Madrid helped them to book their place in the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. Will Lyon shock Manchester City in tonight’s clash? Or will it be a comfortable victory for Manchester City and play the UEFA Champions League semi-final against mighty Bayern Munich.