Barcelona’s fortunes in the post-Messi era keep getting worse as the results of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League Group C fixtures condemned them to yet another season in the UEFA Europa League.
The Catalan giants have been unable to translate their strong performances in LaLiga onto the European stage this season. Shot-stopper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has conceded only four goals in the league this season and has kept nine clean sheets in 11 matches, has conceded nine goals in five games in the Champions League.
Barcelona, who are also the out-and-out leading goalscorers in the league have also only been able to score eight goals in five games on the European stage.
Their current struggles were facilitated by German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, who have proven to be a thorn in their side in the past few seasons.
Wednesday’s results could have gone differently for the Catalan giants if they managed a win over Bayern and Inter Milan lost to Viktoria Plzen in the other fixture. However, both outcomes did not happen and fans of the club will have to watch their team compete in the second tier of European competition once again.
Barcelona failed to make any if their chances count despite pegging Bayern back for most of the game at the Spotify Camp Nou. Of their nine shots at goal, none was on target. The German club, on the other hand, had the ball in the back of the net four time but one was ruled out for offside to keep the final scores at 3 – 0.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandes has taken responsibility for the loss. The former midfield maestro said after the match: “We were not at Bayern’s level today. They were better. In Munich we were ourselves, but today they were better, intense.
“The elimination before the game affected us psychologically. Now we train again tomorrow and think about LaLiga.
“There were a lot of expectations, but we got a tough group. All sorts has happened to us in the group stage. It’s been cruel on us, but we did not compete well today.
“I have said that we have to be united, tackle the situation head on. We have been knocked out of the Champions League but the season does not end in October. There are other competitions.”
He went on to thank the fans, some of who left the game at 2 – 0 in the first half. “Thanks to the supporters for their unconditional support,” Xavi added. “They have shown it since I arrived and the atmosphere was extraordinary again tonight.
“Bayern were better, we can’t have any complaints. It is the reality for us now. We have to disconnect from the Champions League and focus on the other competitions. It is a blow, but I have already said that maybe we need these setbacks to grow from.”