Messi and Lewandowski fight and a good sign for a winner
The rivalry between Barcelona and Bayern aroused, perhaps, the greatest interest among the fans, because both teams by default each season claim to win the Champions League. And some of them on Friday had to leave Portugal ahead of schedule, where the Final Eight is taking place. At the same time, the Catalans have not won the main European Cup since 2015, and Bayern - since 2013.
However, on the eve of the match, journalists drew attention to an interesting statistical fact. In the last three cases, when Barcelona and Bayern met in the Champions League, the winner of this confrontation eventually took the trophy. Just in 2015, on the way to the final, the Catalans proved to be stronger than their opponent in the semifinals. Two years earlier, the Munich team celebrated their success in the semifinals. Finally, 11 years ago, the teams' paths also crossed in the quarterfinals, and Josep Guardiola's players did not leave the opponent the slightest chance (4: 0, 1: 1), and soon became the strongest team in Europe.
Equally interesting was the face-to-face duel between Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski. The Pole had an impressive season and broke all personal performance records. So, in the Bundesliga, he scored 34 goals in 31 matches. In the Champions League, his statistics are even more impressive - 13 goals in seven meetings, or almost two goals per game on average.
The Argentinean's numbers are much more modest - only three accurate hits in the main European Cup and 25 in Example. But on the side of Messi - experience: yet he won the Champions League four times, while his counterpart - never. It is curious that the head coach of Munich, Hans-Dieter Flick, directly stated before the game that it was difficult to compare these players, since Messi in recent years "was the best player in the world with a clear advantage."
However, many believed that Lewandowski was not only having a wonderful season, but also deserved the Ballon d'Or, which was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the Pole had a great opportunity to prove that right now he is really stronger than Messi.
By the way, Barcelona fans feared that Lionel might miss the match due to minor damage received in the return leg with Napoli, but it did not prevent the attacker from taking part in the game with Bayern. Unless he went out to the last training sessions with a special bandage on his shins.
The rest of the team losses were minimal. At Barça, only central defender Samuel Yumtiti missed the quarterfinals. Also on the eve of the match, Jean-Clair Todibo, who returned from loan at Schalke, passed a positive test for coronavirus, but his participation in the match was not planned, and he did not intersect with partners. Bayern were also unable to count on just one person - right-back Benjamin Pavar.
Barcelona's worst mistakes and Bayern's incredible form
The match in Lisbon began without swinging. Already in the fourth minute, Bayern opened the scoring. After the transfer of Ivan Perisic from the left flank, Lewandowski made a neat discount on Thomas Müller, who is playing the 113th match in the Champions League, and he sent the ball into the far corner with a rebound from the lawn.
However, Barcelona won back instantly. The Catalans made a quick attack on the left flank, and Jordi Alba executed a cross into the penalty area. David Alaba, trying to interrupt the transfer, only moved the projectile under the crossbar of his own goal.
On the courage, the Catalans immediately created a couple more chances. For example, Sergio Busquets, taking advantage of Messi's serve from the right edge, cut the ball into the far post with his head.
But it soon became obvious that Bayern would act as the first number. The German champion, in his trademark manner, suppressed his opponent with high pressure, and Enrique Setien's wards, as if not ready for this, made mistake after mistake.
Marc-André ter Stegen acted especially uncertainly at the last line. One of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world, over and over again, literally gave the ball to his opponents.
He played not in the best way in the episode with the second goal. After Ivan Perisic's kick, the ball from the German's leg flew under the crossbar. However, it all started with the loss of Sergi Roberto near his own penalty, which was used by Serge Gnabry.
And six minutes later, the midfielder distinguished himself on his own. Leon Goretzka made a perfect throw for his partner's move into someone else's penalty area over Clement Lange, who lost his position, and Gnabry shot into the far corner past Ter Stegen.
Müller succeeded in completing the double. Thomas closed the cross from Josua Kimmich from the right flank. So the position of Barcelona has become almost hopeless. At the same time, for the first time in history, the blue garnet conceded four goals in the first half in the Champions League.
The Spanish team made a huge number of mistakes in their half of the field. As a result, Bayern struck 14 shots against the opponent's four, seven of which were on target. Ter Stegen made three saves, but in several episodes he simply gave the ball to Munich.
Coutinho's double and Lewandowski's 14th Champions League goal
In an attempt to save the meeting, Setien threw Antoine Griezmann into battle right after the break. At the same time, Roberto, who had an unsuccessful match, left the field.
“Bayern” continued to look stronger than the opponent and just physically better prepared team, but in the 57th minute Barcelona managed to win back one goal. Messi made a perfect pass from deep to Alba, and he made a lumbago on the move to Suarez, who beautifully removed Jerome Boateng on the backswing and accurately shot into the far corner. For the Uruguayan, this goal was the 298th in the blue garnet.
It seemed that the Catalans can revive the intrigue, but very quickly Munich showed that they did not intend to allow the opponent to return to the game. On the 63rd minute, Alfonso Davis on the left flank of the attack mockingly easily left Nelson Semedu, burst into the penalty area and rolled the ball from the goalkeeper to the empty Kimmieha.
After that, it became finally clear that Barcelona this evening does not expect anything but a humiliating defeat. But “Bavaria” continued to go forward.
With a special mood came to replace Philippe Coutinho, the rights to which still belong to the Spanish club. In the 82nd minute, he made an assist to Lewandowski, who hit the other goal with his head from the goalkeeper's line.
Referee Damir Skomina after a short pause counted the goal. Thus, the Pole scored the 14th goal in the current Champions League season. Moreover, he was different in each match of this tournament draw.
And then Coutinho himself scored twice. The Brazilian, after Muller's transfer from outside the penalty area, shot into the near corner between Piquet's legs. The ruthless Coutinho did not stop there and in the 89th minute he scored a double, inflicting an accurate blow from the goalie. Setien's wards by this moment completely disintegrated.
They will try to forget this day at Barcelona forever. The Catalans have conceded eight goals in the Champions League for the first time in history and suffered one of the biggest defeats in their history. Bayern have brought the number of goals in the current Champions League to 39 and will face the winner of the Manchester City v Lyon match in the semifinals. Also, Munich were the first in the history of the Champions League to score eight times in the playoffs.