Driven by anniversary goal scorer Thomas Müller, FC Bayern have completed their six-win group stage and thus underpinned their title ambitions in the Champions League.
In a dreary ghost game atmosphere, the Munich team caused another significant defeat for the glorious FC Barcelona with a 3-0 (2-0) win on Wednesday evening.
Müller with his 50th goal in Europe's premier football class (34th minute), Leroy Sané (43rd) - aided by a mistake by national goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen - and Jamal Musiala (62nd) ensured the third clear Bayern- Win against Barça in a row.
Bayern had won 3-0 in the first leg and celebrated an 8-2 win at the final tournament in Lisbon on the way to winning the 2020 Champions League.
While Barcelona were eliminated from the group stage for the first time in 21 years, FC Bayern are looking forward to the round of 16 draw on Monday.
There, however, top teams such as defending champions FC Chelsea or the star ensemble of Paris Saint-Germain threaten as opponents from the pot of runners-up in the group.
Knockout games against lighter calibers like Sporting Lisbon would also be possible in the new year.
FC Bayern with a flawless preliminary round
As only the second team after Real Madrid, the Munich team managed a flawless preliminary round for the second time. In cold, wet weather with light snowfall and temperatures around freezing point, instead of cheering or chanting, the commands of the players around loudspeaker Thomas Müller or coach Julian Nagelsmann echoed through the empty arena. There the financially and athletically troubled Catalans looked for the way forward - given the quick leadership of their direct competitor Benfica Lisbon, the team, now trained by club legend Xavi, had no other choice.
The Munich team initially had problems demonstrating their usual dominance.
In midfield, the strategic qualities of Joshua Kimmich were missing, whose quarantine after a corona infection ends on Thursday night, as Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic said on the DAZN streaming service before kick-off.
Kimmich should be carefully brought back to the team.
Musiala started in the defensive midfield, in defense Niklas Süle was there after surviving the corona infection - and initially had a lot to do, especially when the former Dortmund Ousmane Dembélé stormed over the left side.
In the center of the storm, however, an enforcer was missing, like Lionel Messi or Luis Suárez once were.
Dembélé shot over the goal from a good position (21st).
Gradually, Bayern found ways to get too dangerous in front of the goal. After a counterattack initiated by Sané, Müller sought with his pass Robert Lewandowski, but national goalkeeper Ter Stegen was still on the ball with his hand and thwarted Bayern's lead (28th). The worried Müller with his eighth goal against FC Barcelona. After fine preparatory work by Lewandowski, the veteran 's header sailed behind the line, where Ronald Araújo came too late. A little later, Ter Stegen let Sané's massive but durable long-range shot flutter into the net.
Immediately after the restart, the national player awarded the apparently safe 3-0 (48th) against a Barcelona team that can no longer be compared with teams from former heyday.
After a return pass from Alphonso Davies, Musiala made everything clear.
Sané's attempt to serve the free Lewandowski on a counterattack did not work (70th).
Then, as announced, Nagelsmann gave some players from the second row a chance at this score.Keywords: