Thomas Muller’s deflected strike for Game 1 was an unfortunate way to fall behind, but the class divide between the two teams was evident throughout.
Without goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, Bayern might have come close to last year’s crushing scoreline, though not even his exploits could prevent irrepressible Robert Lewandowski from scoring a brace that carried his Champions League total at 75.
‘We are who we are’
After slipping in a desperate attempt to stop Lewandowski from scoring his second of the game, photos of Gerard Pique, key to many of Barcelona’s greatest triumphs, watching helplessly from the floor as the Polish striker shot at home served as a painful encapsulation of the club. Current state.
Pique has remained at Camp Nou despite the departures of key players such as Neymar and Luís Suárez in recent years, not to mention Antoine Griezmann and Messi this summer, and after the game the center-back has been blunt in his assessment of recent struggles of Barcelona.
“The result is tough and playing at home is a bad result, we cannot lie to each other,” Pique told Spanish channel Movistar.
“This is what it is, right now we are who we are,” he added.
Pique referred to the absences of young Ansu Fati, as well as winger Ousmane Dembele and new signing Sergio Agüero, who arrived from Manchester City this summer.
“I hope that throughout the season the injured players start to come back and I have no doubts that we will finish well in competition. It’s going to be a very complicated year,” he continued.
“At the moment we are not favorites, but things change very quickly in football. Last season nobody would have said Chelsea were favorites [to win the Champions League]. “
With 17-year-old substitute Alejandro Martínez, one of the many teenagers on the pitch at the end of the game, Pique found reason to be optimistic about the future despite accepting the current challenges facing the club.
“I think at the end of the day we played with four to five 18-year-olds,” he told CBS.
“I think they are competing amazing and we have to invest in them, they are the future of the club.
“It’s true it’s not the best time since I’ve been here, we’ve suffered a bit but I think we’ll grow up, we’ll be better and I’m sure at the end of the year we let’s compete for the titles, ”Pique said.
‘It’s like that’
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman echoed his defender’s comments in accepting the club’s current state, admitting a “quality” gap between his side and Bayern.
“We only had three attackers today, no more. Tactically, there were a lot of phases of the game that we controlled. We tried to fill in the gaps near Lewandowski, we tried to compete better, but it was is what it is, ”Koeman said. Movistar.
“I can’t complain about our attitude. There is a difference in quality, in the team, as a group and bench which is improving. In two or three years, these young players will be better. really hard to accept, but that’s what it is, “he concluded.
Meanwhile, Messi is set to embark on a Champions League campaign without Barcelona for the first time in his career as Paris Saint-Germain face Club Brugge in Belgium tonight.
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