Barcelona vs Bayern Munich Player Ratings: 9/10 Gnabry, Mane shine; Lewandowski among six to get 5

Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 3-0 at Camp Nou to progress to the Champions League Last 16 as group winners, while the Blaugrana crash out early.

Barcelona suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Group C on Wednesday. Sadio Mane, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard got on the scoresheet to ensure Julian Nagelsmann’s side retained their 100 per cent record in Europe and advanced to knockout rounds with a flurry.

Another Bayern Munich thumping, and another year of relegation to the Europa League for Xavi Hernandez’s men. On the night, it was 3-0 at Camp Nou. And the 5-0 aggregate score from the two group stage games against the rampaging Germans reflects how far Barcelona still have to go to return to the top level of European football. And there are no shortcuts to glory by selling the club’s soul via pulling various economic levers.

With Inter Milan beating Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in the early kick-off, the hosts had already been confirmed to drop down to the UEFA Europa League. So Barcelona had nothing to play for from kick-off except pride and to entertain the vast attendance.

However, in stark contrast, none of Barcelona’s players showed any resilience, or fight in what was an underwhelming performance in front of the home crowd, with no fight or intensity from almost the entire team. They also struggled to cope with Bayern Munich’s pace at the other end.

Barcelona actually made a decent enough start to the encounter and passed the ball around well in opening exchanges but their aggressive playing style and reluctance to maintain a high line left them vulnerable to counter-attacks, more so against a Bayern frontline designed to play on transitions.

The Blaugrana rearguard was undone yet again, conceding another goal from a slick Bayern move down the right wing. Gnabry was the supplier once again as he released Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting into right-half space. The forward kept his cool and produced a fine finish through ter Stegen’s legs to put the visitors two ahead.

There is nothing to write home about Barcelona’s attacks, but they had a penalty shout late in the first half which was originally awarded by the on-field referee. However, he reversed his decision following a VAR check and the spot-kick was canceled.

Gnabry completed a hat-trick of assists in the dying moments as his scuffed shot fell kindly to Benjamin Pavard, who made no mistakes in finding the back of net to rubber more salt on the hosts’ wounds. The Hard Tackle will now take a look at how both sets of players fared in the game.


Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10

Ter Stegen had his hands full as he kept busy in the hosts’ goal as Bayern exploited the space in behind on the break multiple times during the first half. Shaky with his distribution under press and should have done better for the Choupo-Moting goal, while getting beaten three times during a game is never a good look.

However, it would be harsh to not give him a pass here due to his excellent early performances this season, and the fact that Barcelona’s gung-ho style left him far too exposed. The German made four critical saves during the contest to keep the scoreline respectable.

Hector Bellerin: 2/10

A night to forget for Bellerín, who struggled to track down Bayern’s speedy runners as the last man in Barcelona’s offside trap. Poor positioning in both goals, as he played the opponents onside. He failed to cope with the threat of Alphonso Davies and Sadio Mane on the same flank.

Jules Kounde: 4/10

Kounde failed to contain Mane and Gnabry as he struggled with Bayern’s buzzing movement at times but did well to restrict the quantity of clear-cut opportunities. He only won one of his eight duels and was defeated nine times.

Marcos Alonso: 5/10

Alonso, another player who was deployed out of position at centre-back, had a disastrous evening as he was far too fragile under pressure. He lost all of his duels, failed to contribute defensively, and lacked pace crucially.

Alejandro Balde: 5/10

Balde did well on a handful of occasions, causing problems for Noussair Mazraoui and Serge Gnabry, showing his world-class potential but left spaces behind him when marauding forward and did not complete a single cross or long ball.

Franck Kessie: 6/10

Anonymous until he was shifted deeper in a double pivot. Even so, he had a below-par display in the middle of the park, winning five of his 10 duels and made two tackles as Bayern midfield overwhelmed their counterparts. Passive in possession, he only passed sideways.

Sergio Busquets: 5/10

Not a vintage performance from Busquets, who not only failed in the midfield battle against Kimmich and Goretzka but the only big chance the hosts created due to a lack of composure.

At this point, one has to wonder if it’s time for the Barcelona captain to find a less competitive environment now that he has reached the last years of his playing career, as it is quite clear that he no longer has the legs to compete at the highest levels. Booked as he hauled Musiala down on the breakaway, ruling him out of their final encounter against Viktoria Plzen.

Frenkie de Jong: 5/10

De Jong did not enjoy his best evening either. But to his credit, he made a fair few runs from deep and covered well for Garcia and Alonso at times. He was press-resistant under pressure and did not shirk away from his defensive duties.

Ousmane Dembele: 5/10

It was quite a wasteful performance from Dembele, who saw a lot of the ball and got into some decent positions, but his decision-making more often than not let him down. Davies could not cope with him throughout, but the Frenchman failed to make it count and squandered the opportunities he made for himself. That said, he showed great determination from start to finish and tried to make things happen, earning a team-high five tackles.

Robert Lewandowski: 5/10

Lewandowski endured a tough night as Barcelona struggled to create chances for the prolific Pole, who himself looked off-colour and has not really been able to emulate his La Liga form in the Champions League. He battled away, dropped deep, and tried to instill positivity among his teammates, but to no avail. His former team marked him out of the game, with zero shots on target.

Pedri: 6/10

A big tactical mistake from Xavi was to play Pedri on the wing, as it quite clearly did not suit the creative side of his game. Despite this, he was one of the better performers for Barcelona on the day. He had a few lovely touches and released the runners brilliantly, but it makes you question if he would have been involved more in his natural position and Lewandowski would have had better service.


Ferran Torres: 6/10

Torres was brought in to replace Busquets as Xavi attempted to take a more attacking approach. His excellent link-up play was on display once again during the game. He created a fair few opportunities but to no fruition. He had a decent game overall.

Raphinha: 6/10

Tried to add some fresh impetus on the right wing but Bayern had things completely under control.

Ansu Fati: 6/10

Fati was a bustling presence in the final third tonight, but he could only do so much. Should have started the game.

Eric Garcia: N/A

Garcia came on in the second half and had a sloppy defensive display as he was rescued by de Jong after he gave away the ball cheaply.

Pablo Torre: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Bayern Munich

Sven Ulreich: 6/10

Had absolutely nothing to do all evening, with Barcelona posting zero shots on target. What little the veteran had to do, he carried out with little fuss and was brilliant on the ball.

Noussair Mazraoui: 7/10

Confident and composed, Mazraoui worked effectively with the attackers and used the width to provide central space for the forward players in a complex 4-2-2-2 system. His defensive positioning was generally very sound and he made 3 tackles.

Dayot Upamecano: 7/10

Despite being engaged in a handful of clumsy challenges, Upamecano put forth an outstanding defensive shift at the heart of the defence. After hauling down Busquets, the Frenchman walked a bit of a tightrope on a yellow card.

Matthijs de Ligt: 8/10

De Ligt’s performance showed exactly why Bayern paid €80 million to secure his services from Juventus in the summer transfer window. He was absolutely immense at the back against Barcelona. He pocket Lewandowski throughout the game and denied the Pole from having a sniff at goal. And the Dutchman’s combo of physical stature and defensive nous was vital to nullifying Barcelona’s dangerous wingers.

A cool customer when it comes to defensive actions, his inch-perfect tackle on Lewandowski was bang on spot. He halted Ferran Torres from slipping through to beat Sven Ulreich in the second half, then prevented a speculative long-range shot to preserve a clean sheet.

Alphonso Davies: 7/10

Davies did not have to be at his best, but he did pose problems when he pushed forward. The left-back’s speed and running ability often gave opposition defenders a hard time but he was outdone by the trickery from Dembele on a fair few occasions.

Joshua Kimmich: 8/10

If there was ever any question in anyone’s mind, Kimmich is quite simply the best central midfielder on the planet Earth. Bayern’s metronome, Kimmich, set the tempo as the Bavarians cruised to victory, keeping things ticking along from the middle of the park.

It is a real joy to watch him effortlessly spray the ball around with some fine, very fine balls over the top that basically ripped apart Barca’s defensive and midfield lines. He was also in a key position to stop Barcelona at source multiple times.

Leon Goretzka: 6/10

Goretzka cruised through a comfortable midfield display before making way for Marcel Sabitzer in what seemed to be a tactical substitution.

Serge Gnabry: 9/10

Gnabry stole the show at Camp Nou, grabbing a hat-trick of assists during an emphatic performance. While he remains a match-winner, the former Arsenal academy player has had a mixed start to the season, and his place in the Bayern attack was not a guarantee heading into this game. However, Nagelsmann’s decision to play him on the right wing proved to be wise.

The 27-year-old’s superb chemistry with Sadio Mane was on show while they were initially the two central forwards in the visitors’ 4-2-2-2. The German then drifted inside to fulfill his playmaking duties. He could have had a goal of his own as well when he curled one in the second half after slipping narrowly offside, but the placement and weight of the pass for both goals, particularly the first, were inch-perfect.

Jamal Musiala: 6/10

A rather ineffectual and quiet display from Jamal Musiala, who missed a big chance to make it 3-0 just before half-time as he was denied by ter Stegen.

Sadio Mane: 8/10

A pressing machine, Mane was popping all over the pitch for the visitors and made good use of pace to make sharp runs in behind. He actually set the tone for Bayern with his intent front-foot pressing, perfectly timing a run off Bellerin’s shoulder before clipping a composed finish beyond Marc-André ter Stegen’s outstretched arms.

Mane could have had another in a similar fashion but skewed his finish. Tough tackler, incisive passer, especially on transitions, and a devastating goal threat, Mane really silenced his critics with this performance, and his energetic presence is a big asset for this Bayern side.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting: 7/10

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is on fire in front of goal for Bayern Munich at the moment, as he stretched his red-hot scoring streak with a very well-taken second goal here. The former Stoke City man has now found the back of the net in four straight games, and he’s tallied five goals and two assists over that span, as he continues to surprise many this season with his prolific nature in front of goal.

It has not always been the case for the Cameroon international, who has been Robert Lewandowski’s backup in prior seasons. But he is now stepping up with Bayern operating without a high-profile natural striker.


Marcel Sabitzer: 6/10

Sabitzer replaced the yellow-carded Goretzka at half-time, but the game was already done and over before that, with a dejected Barcelona side barely pulling a punch thereafter.

Thomas Muller: 6/10

Like Sabitzer and all the other substitutes, Muller did not have to do much as Bayern were controlling the game brilliantly.

Benjamin Pavard: 6/10

Had very little to do when he came on. Coasting.

Ryan Gravenberch: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Josip Stanisic: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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