Monday , 2 October 2023

The crisis is in full swing. In Barcelona, the reboot continues

It would seem that on August 14, 2020, the Catalan team reached the bottom. On this day, she lost 2–8 to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in Lisbon. Then it became clear that the end of the whole era of “blaugranas” had come. After such humiliation, Camp Nou wanted to leave Lionel Messi, but he was not allowed. But Luis Suarez and Vidal left, Rakitic went with them, and a year later, the Argentine followed them, then the team said goodbye to Antoine Griezmann. Finally, in the autumn of last year, the club’s financial problems were exposed, which turned out to be brought almost to the handle by the would-be entrepreneur Josep Bartomeu. He was kicked out of the club, a new-old president, Joan Laporta, was elected, but they could not improve quickly. And did anyone believe in such a thing?

Thomas Müller - Robert Lewandowski

Barcelona is deeply immersed in a transition period. And the sooner she overcomes it, the better it will be for her future. So far, in Spain itself, the problem of the Catalans is not very visible. But in Europe, Bayern Munich convincingly pointed to them, giving food for thought to both Ronald Koeman and Laporte. Barcelona did not have six players at once compared to a year ago against Bayern Munich in Lisbon. Koeman switched to a 3–5‑2 scheme, allowing his compatriot Luc de Jong to play in attack with Memphis Depay. The Catalans immediately tried to make it clear to Munich that they would not command the game. They played powerfully, kept a high defensive line. “Bayern” was somewhat taken aback by this and did not know what to do. It was not for nothing that Jozua Kimmich received a warning already in the 5th minute, having managed to tame Frankie de Jong only at the cost of a foul.

But everything changed after 10 minutes. Well, maybe 15. The Bavarians gradually “ate” the Catalans in the centre of the field, and this knocked the ground out from under their feet. In the 19th minute, Leroy Sane miraculously did not score-Marc – Andre Ter Stegen played brilliantly at the last turn of Barcelona. Then there was Jamal Musiala’s moment. And in the 34th minute, Thomas Muller’s shot still reached the goal. 0:1.

Having conceded, the Catalans naturally lost the first half. The team’s game was not complete and well-established, especially in comparison with the guests’ actions from Munich. But there was a starting 10-minute, which left pleasant memories. Then something broke. Or rather, it was forced to die. The current “Barcelona” is not in a state to consistently keep a high level of play and dictate its vision to such an opponent as “Bayern”. Let’s repeat: in the Spanish Example, the team still has enough power, but for Europe, as it turned out, this is more than a meagre arsenal.

Robert Lewandowski - Camp Nou

After the rest, the drawing of the game did not change. In the second half’s opening, Ter Stegen again flashed his reaction, managing to deflect the threat after Sane’s strike, and immediately Musiala tested the strength of the Catalan goal post. She stood it. However, Robert Lewandowski was on the finishing line promptly. 0:2.

The match’s outcome was no longer in doubt – the Munich team guaranteed themselves three points and a winning start in the Champions League. Barcelona had to think about the future already. And in this situation, Koeman behaved fantastically. He threw 17-year-old midfielder Gavi into the fight and then 18-year-old Yusuf Demir, on loan from Rapid Vienna. The coach also removed the experienced Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto from the field. A little later, Oscar Mingesa and Philippe Coutinho appeared on the area for the Catalans. In principle, it was no longer important who was in the game in the ranks of Barcelona, since the advantage for the Germans was kept at a stable level, and the” blue-garnet”, for example, by the 70th minute did not perform a single accurate shot at the opponent’s goal (by the way, they finished the game with this indicator). The problems of the Catalans did not end there. Jordi Alba was injured and asked for a replacement – Koeman released 18-year-old Alejandro Balde instead.

Camp Nou - FC Bayern Munich

Thus, Barcelona completed the home match of the 1st round of the Champions League against the Munich monster with the efforts of teenagers Pedri, Gavi, Yusuf Demir and Balde. It is not surprising that Bayern was able to score more. However, it was amazing that she did it only once. 0: 3 – “blue-garnet” lost to Munich no longer 2:8, as in August 2020. However, the game clearly showed the depth of Ronald Koeman’s team’s overload.

Yes, she is now forced to play without Ansu Fati and Sergio Aguero, approaching their full recovery. With them, the Blaugranas will be stronger. Yes, there is still a “shadow of Messi” in the team’s actions, but it is impossible to rebuild quickly, having lost such a leader. It takes time, which must be multiplied by effort and dedication. This is the only way the Catalans will be able to return to their previous level. The road, as you know, will be mastered by walking! And the main thing now for Barcelona is that it has already set off on this path. Therefore, the fans of the team need to be patient.

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