Champions League: Lewandowski, Mueller propel dominant Bayern to easy win at Barca
FOOTBALL By Reuters | September 15th 2021
Two goals from Robert Lewandowski and one from Thomas Mueller propelled Bayern Munich to a 3-0 win at Barcelona in their opening Champions League game on Tuesday in another brutal demonstration of the gulf in class between the two sides.
Mueller gave Bayern the lead in the 34th minute with a strike from outside the area which deflected off Barca defender Eric Garcia to confound goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Lewandowski struck the German champions' second in the 54th, tapping into the net from close range on the rebound after Jamal Musiala had hit the post as Bayern made a rampant start following the interval, hemming their hosts into their own half.
The Polish striker twisted the knife further into Barcelona by scoring again in the 85th, collecting the ball in the area after another shot had come back off the post and tormenting the defence before calmly beating Ter Stegen in the Group E clash.
The scoreline was not quite as damning for Barca as the 8-2 drubbing Bayern gave them in the quarter-finals two seasons ago but the performance was just as hopeless as they were routinely dispossessed and struggled to cope with the visitors' intensity.
Barca made a promising start in their first Champions League game in front of supporters at the Camp Nou since December 2019, although while the crowd was limited to 40,000 due to coronavirus restrictions there were fewer fans in attendance owing to a lack of appetite for the post-Lionel Messi era.
But Bayern soon showed their superiority and it took a strong hand from Ter Stegen to prevent Leroy Sane giving the Germans the lead, while Gerard Pique had to slide across the ground to block a goal-bound strike from Musiala.
Barcelona's only real attempt on goal in the first half came from a free kick, defender Ronald Araujo meeting Memphis Depay's cross and heading just over the bar.
Bayern finally took the lead their play merited through Mueller, who scored twice in the 8-2 hammering of Barca in Lisbon and has now netted seven times against the Catalans in Europe's top competition.
Loud boos could be heard at halftime but things got more desperate for the hosts after the break and by the end of the game Barca fans were sarcastically applauding the team whenever they managed to recover the ball, resigned to their fate.
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