Robert Lewandowski’s return to Bayern Munich was not a fruitful endeavour as a wasteful Barcelona were swept aside in a 2-0 Champions League defeat.
Second-half goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane condemned Xavi’s side to yet another loss in Bavaria, a historically poor hunting ground for the Catalan giants.
Barcelona were unable to capitalise on a dominant first half, with Lewandowski spurning some fine opportunities, while Pedri struck the post after the visitors had fallen two behind.
A fightback never appeared likely, with Bayern producing a stellar display in the second period after a frustrating first 45 minutes.
After an end-to-end start, Barcelona looked the more threatening, with Pedri forcing Manuel Neuer to make a smart save and Lewandowski passing up a chance on the volley.
Lewandowski, ever the threat, then saw a header from close range saved well, while Raphinha dragged a low shot wide from outside the box.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was belatedly called into action early in the second half as Leon Goretzka tested his compatriot from distance, and the resulting corner provided the breakthrough.
Joshua Kimmich’s delivery to the near post was met by the head of Hernandez, escaping Marcos Alonso’s attention and applying contact ahead of Ter Stegen.
And the lead was doubled four minutes later when Jamal Musiala fed Sane, who raced away and poked a deft finish into the net.
Pedri clipped the upright after a one-two with Lewandowski created space in the area, yet that was as close as Barca would come on another difficult night.
What does it mean? Bayern dominance continues
Bayern’s victory was the club’s ninth against Barcelona in the Champions League, more than double the number the Catalans have suffered at the hands of any other team; Bayern have won each of their five group-stage meetings.
This is a tough place for any team to come, however, with Bayern having won 36 of their past 38 home matches at this stage of the competition, last losing in December 2013 to Manchester City.
Barca blunder chances
Comfortably the better team in the first half at the Allianz Arena, Barcelona had 10 shots before the break – the highest first-half tally from a visiting side since Fiorentina’s 11 in October 2008.
Just two of those were on target, however. While Neuer made a couple of fine stops, a return of four efforts on target from 18 attempts across the 90 minutes will be of concern for Xavi.
At 19 years of age, Musiala ran Barcelona ragged. He created five chances – more than any other player on the pitch – and deserves significant credit for crafting the opportunity for Sane’s strike.
The teenager also attempted (22) and completed (18) the most passes in the final third.
Key Opta Facts
– Barcelona have lost five of their past nine group-stage games in the Champions League (W3 D1), more defeats than they suffered in their previous 68 such matches in the competition (W50 D14 L4).
– Bayern have scored 30 goals in their 12 Champions League games against Barcelona – only Real Madrid have scored more against an opponent in the competition (34 against Bayern themselves).
– Julian Nagelsmann has become the first coach to win his first three Champions League matches against Barcelona in the competition’s history.
– Sane has been directly involved in nine goals (five goals, four assists) in his six Champions League home games since the start of last season, only Lewandowski has more goal involvements at home in this time (15).
Bayern travel to Augsburg on Saturday in the Bundesliga, while Barcelona’s final test before the international break is at home to Elche.
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