Goals by Sadio Mane, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard earned Bayern Munich a 3-0 win at already-eliminated Barcelona on Wednesday as the German giants clinched a spot in the Champions League round of 16 as group winners.
Bayern top Group C on 15 points, five ahead of Inter Milan who also reached the knockout stage after a 4-0 win against Viktoria Plzen earlier on Wednesday, a result that eliminated Barcelona in the group stage for the second year in a row.
With Barcelona having nothing riding on their game, it did not take long for Bayern to open the scoring through Mane 10 minutes into the first half after receiving a brilliant long pass from Serge Gnabry.
Mane beat Spanish defender Hector Bellerin in a 50-metre race and scored with a tidy finish.
Bayern doubled their lead in similar fashion 21 minutes later, catching the Barca defence sleeping and out of position.
Joshua Kimmich passed to Gnabry who, from the edge of the box, set up Choupo-Moting to score his sixth goal in the Champions League this season.
Barca thought they had a penalty after a clash between Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt and Polish striker Robert Lewandowski but the referee, after a VAR check, ruled that there had been no foul.
Bayern took their foot off the gas after the break and had a Gnabry goal ruled out for offside in the 56th minute.
Pavard scored the third goal in the very last play of the game, with a close-range strike from a corner.
“The way we won gives us a lot of energy. I don’t think Barca were expecting us to be so bold. But you have to do that when you play against Barcelona,” Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann told DAZN.
“We scored two lovely goals and added a third at the end. We defended with so much passion. The team made a statement tonight.”
Barcelona looked stale and went the full 90 minutes without a single strike on target.
“We have to face our new reality, today we didn’t even have the level to compete,” Barca manager Xavi told Movistar Plus.
“I believe today the psychological side weighed on us, going into the game knowing that we were already out.
“We started the season with very high expectations but ended up in a very complicated group and didn’t manage to be at the necessary level to compete with them. It’s a huge disappointment.”
Since winning the Champions League title for the last time in 2015, Barca have reached the semi-finals only once, in 2019. They lost 8-2 to Bayern in the 2020 quarter-finals, were knocked out in the round of 16 by PSG in 2021, and failed to make it past the group stage in the last two editions.
Last year, Barca’s exit at the group stage came after the departure of Lionel Messi to Paris St Germain and the financial crisis that led to the resignation of the entire club board.
This season, however, following the big-money signings of Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde, a better outcome had been expected.
They have won only one of their five games in the group so far and will go into the second-tier Europa League after ending up third in the group for the second year in a row.