Sun | Sep 27, 2020

Bayern ‘gr8’, Barcelona ‘2thless’ - Munich hand Spanish giants heavy defeat to advance to Champions League semis

Published:Saturday | August 15, 2020 | 12:37 AM
Bayern’s Thomas Mueller (bottom center) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Barcelona in Lisbon, Portugal yesterday.
Bayern’s Thomas Mueller (bottom center) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Barcelona in Lisbon, Portugal yesterday.

LISBON, Portugal (AP):

With four goals in the first half hour and four more in the last half hour, Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona 8-2 yesterday to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the second time in three years.

Thomas Müller scored twice and Ivan Perišić and Serge Gnabry added on in Bayern’s stunning start to the standout quarter-final between the only past champions left in the last eight.

Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho (twice) piled on in the second half as Barcelona conceded eight for the first time since 1946.

Barcelona got on the board with an own-goal by David Alaba in the first half and a goal by Luis Suárez in the second among only seven shots on target.

Seeking their first title since 2013, Bayern will next face either Manchester City or Lyon, who meet in the last quarter-final today.

Paris Saint-Germain and Leipzig will play in the other semi-final of the mini-tournament being staged without fans in Lisbon, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The humiliating loss ended a disappointing season for Barcelona, one that included a coaching change and public disputes between players and team officials. It is the first time since 2008 that the Spanish club finished a season without a significant title. They haven’t lifted the European trophy since 2015.

The commanding victory kept alive Bayern’s quest for a sixth title, which would move them ahead of Barcelona. They will be back in the semi-finals for the first time since 2018, when they lost to Real Madrid in the last four. The German champions were eliminated by Liverpool in the round of 16 last season.

It is the first time since 2007 that no Spanish club has made it to the semi-finals.

The result adds pressure on coach Quique Setién, who had already been criticised after Barcelona relinquished the Spanish league lead, and title, to Real Madrid after the competition resumed following the pandemic break.

Barcelona, who were eliminated by Liverpool in last year’s semi-finals, have not reached the final since the title run in 2015. They got past Bayern in the last four that year. The German club has the most wins against Barcelona in the European tournament.