Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich, Estadio da Luz – refresh page for live updates
(Alaba og 7′, Suarez 57′  — Müller 4′, 31′, Perisic 22′, Gnabry 27′, Kimmich 63′, Lewandowski 81′, Coutinho 85′, 89′)

Thomas Müller and Hansi Flick know a thing or two about big knockout-stage performances.

In summer 2014, when Müller’s strike set Germany on their way to a 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in the World Cup semifinal, Flick was sat on the bench as Joachim Löw’s assistant.

On Friday night in Lisbon, Müller again opened the scoring as Bayern put Barcelona to the sword, winning 8-2 to progress to the Champions League semifinal for the sixth time in eight years.

Neither Müller nor Flick wanted to hear about comparisons with the Maracana, but the similarities were impossible to ignore.

This Bayern Munich performance, particularly in the first half hour, was characterized by the same tireless harrying of the opposition, the same precision of passing in transition, the same physical superiority, the same merciless finishing.

First Müller, finishing off after a delicate one-two with Robert Lewandowski, then Ivan Perisic, then Serge Gnabry, then Müller again, the latter three at intervals which almost had you rubbing your eyes to check they weren’t replays. It was just as absorbing, just as awe-inspiring. For Müller, even better than Brazil.

“In Brazil, we didn’t have the game as under control as we did tonight,” he said. “Tonight we wanted to dominate the opponent with our style. And we were brutally dominant.” And incredibly, despite leading 4-1 at half-time, the best was yet to come.

Dancing Davies

Much had been made before kick-off of the potential mismatch down the Bayern left, where teenage winger-cum-fullback Alphonso Davies would be tasked with marking Lionel Messi. But the young Canadian had clearly done his homework on the Argentinian. That became obvious not in the way he defended against Messi but in how he set up Bayern’s fifth goal in the second half.

Pinned to the touchline by Nelson Semedo, seemingly with nowhere to go, Davies feinted once, feinted twice, and suddenly dashed past the Barcelona fullback, dribbling into the box, the ball glued to his feet in the manner of Messi at his majestic best, before cutting back for Joshua Kimmich to get in on the act.

Robert Lewandowski made it six, his 14th in this season’s competition, taking him within three of Cristiano Ronaldo’s record, and Philippe Coutinho added number seven and number eight. Bayern have now won a ludicrous 27 of their last 28 games since December 7, securing an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title and second consecutive double in the process.

The caveat, of course, is that Bayern have out-grown their domestic league and that they can only really be judged in the Champions League against Europe’s very best. It’s not an unreasonable argument and it’s how a whole line of coaches from Felix Magath to Louis Van Gaal, Pep Guardiola to Niko Kovac have all been judged and ultimately found wanting.

‘Intensity, mentality, quality’

So where does this result rank in the great scheme of things for the current incumbent, Hansi Flick? What does it say about Bayern’s chances of winning a second treble after 2013?

Admittedly, this Barcelona team are not of the caliber of previous generations. This humiliation was merely a crowning indignity at the end of a season dominated by managerial changes, financial problems and the loss of their domestic crown to Real Madrid. With an average age of 29.6, they had the oldest squad in Lisbon.

But it was still Barcelona, still with Messi, Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal, and still with Marc-André ter Stegen in goal. Still with Ivan Rakitic and Antoine Griezmann sat on the bench. This was different to putting four past Wolfsburg, five past Düsseldorf or six past Hoffenheim. Different even, with respect, to beating Chelsea in the quarterfinal.

Speaking post-match, Flick constantly repeated three words: Intensität, Mentalität, Qualität. They don’t require much translation and they sum up Bayern Munich – not just here in Lisbon, but ever since the turn of the year and especially since the restart.

A potential semifinal rendezvous with Manchester City and former coach Pep Guardiola promises to produce a semifinal with just as much Intensität, Mentalität and Qualität and will surely pose a tougher challenge.

But Flick and Müller will be quietly confident that they can rise to it. After all, they know a thing or two about these sorts of games.

As it happened:

FULLTIME: Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich — EIGHT. TWO.

A distraught Lionel Messi at fulltime.

A distraught Lionel Messi at fulltime.

89′ GOAL! Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich — Coutinho again! Coutinho is on a hattrick and he’s been on the field less than 15 minutes. Bayern Munich become the first team to score eight goals in a Champions League knockout game.

85′ GOAL! Barcelona 2-7 Bayern Munich — Coutinho makes it seven! Coutinho adds insult to Barcelona’s injury, scoring against the club he actually plays for. He pokes the ball home to inflict Barcelona’s worst defeat since 1949! it’s Bayern’s biggest win since… October. 2019.

81′ GOAL! Barcelona 2-6 Bayern Munich — Lewandowski makes it six! The Bayern marksman finally gets his goal, heading in Coutinho’s cross and, after a lengthy VAR check, the goal stands. 

79′ It’s shooting practice for Bayern now. And Barcelona are willing partners.

77′ Neuer forced into a save from Messi, who had done well to get into a shooting position but was unable to generate enough power on his low shot to trouble Neuer.

75′ A double change for Bayern: Coutinho on for Gnabry, Süle replaces Boateng.

74′ A brilliant dummy by Müller creates an opening for Lewandowski, but his shot is charged down by Semedo. Still no goal for Lewandowski tonight…

70′ Barcelona make another attacking change, with Busquets making way for Fati.

69′ Gnabry has a shot closed down and it’s a good thing it was as it was heading in.

68′ Coman almost scores with his first touch! Müller finds space, cuts it back to the Frenchman, but his shot is well blocked by Jordi Alba.

67′ Davies and Semedo clash heads and the Bayern man has come off worse. He’s stayed down and will require treatment. Bayern use the break in place to send on Coman for Perisic.

65′ Barcelona playing about with the ball at the back and lose it. Kimmich crosses but it just fails to reach Müller.

63′ GOAL! Barcelona 2-5 Bayern Munich — Kimmich scores! It’s another one for Bayern but this goal is all about Davies. He turns Semedo inside out before attacking the byline and putting it on a plate for a Kimmich tap-in.

Joshua Kimmich grabs a fifth for Bayern Munich.

Joshua Kimmich grabs a fifth for Bayern Munich.

59′ Jordi Alba goes into the book for going over the top in his protests about a foul going against Suarez.

57′ GOAL! Barcelona 2-4 Bayern Munich — Suarez scores! Some neat footwork gets the Barca forward away from Boateng and he drills his shot into the bottom corner. A foothold for Barca.

56′ Great opportunity for Bayern but Lewandowski opts to pick out Perisic at the far post when Müller was waiting to be teed up on the edge of the box.

53′ Lewandowski puts the ball in the net but the flag is up. The Pole will have to wait for his goal.

52′ Alphonso Davies picks up yellow card after a dispute with Vidal.

51′ Kimmich picks out Goretzka, who brings the ball down on his chest but can’t keep his shot down. Bayern still creating chances for fun.

49′ Barcelona sliced open again by Bayern as Müller lays the ball off for Perisic, who takes it on the run but smashes it straight at Ter Stegen.

47′ One change for Barcelona at the break: Griezmann comes on for Sergi Roberto.

46′ SECOND HALF — We’re back underway.

45’+1 HALFTIME: Barcelona 1-4 Bayern Munich — A breathless first half comes to a close. Five goals in the opening 31 minutes, four of them scored by Bayern. The Bundesliga champions have been amazing, Barcelona have been abject. There could easily be more to come after the break.

45′ A snap shot by Suarez, but it’s straight at Neuer.

44′ Almost another opening for Bayern after a quite brilliant flick by Müller, but Kimmich unfortunately stepped on the ball at the crucial moment.

42′ Boateng booked for a cynical trip on Suarez, who had skipped past the former Germany defender. 

39′ Chance for Lewandowski, but he heads the ball straight at Ter Stegen.

36′ Perisic is in again, but he puts it over. Barcelona need to do something here otherwise Bayern could reach double figures by the end of the night. This is the first time Barcelona have ever conceded four in the first half of a Champions League game.

33′ Barcelona don’t know what’s hit them. Bayern have been fantastic but defensively Barca have been a joke.

31′ GOAL! Barcelona 1-4 Bayern Munich — Müller scores again! This is unreal. Kimmich drills a low cross in from the right and Müller is first to the ball and slides it in at the near post. Striker!

27′ GOAL! Barcelona 1-3 Bayern Munich — Gnabry scores! Bayern flying here, and it’s a brilliant goal constructed by Thiago, who lifts it to Goreztka and then Gnabry lashes it in. Liquid football!

25′ Roberto forces a corner off Boateng. It’s a poor one by Messi, but he delivers a better ball the second time of asking and Lenglet heads narrowly wide, although he was offside.

24′ This is an absolutely absorbing game. Both teams looking like scoring every time they go forward, but it’s Bayern who are showing the greater composure in front of goal.

22′ GOAL! Barcelona 1-2 Bayern Munich — Perisic scores! Bayern back in front as Gnabry feeds him down the left, and he drills a low shot in from a tight angle. Took a slight deflection off Lenglet but disappointing from a Barcelona perspective.

20′ A brilliant slaloming run by Messi gets him into a shooting position but the only thing that was missing was the finisg as Neuer gets down well to make the save.

17′ The madness of the opening few minutes has subsided somewhat, but it remains an extremely open game. Half chance for Goretzka, who heads over from a corner.

14′ Another Bayern chance as Thiago dinks a ball over the top to Müller whose cushioned ball finds Lewandowski, but it’s an awkward one for the Pole who can’t keep his shot down.

12′ Lenglet heads out for Barcelona after a teasing cross from Davies on the left that almost reached Lewandowski.

10′ Off the post! A Barcelona corner is worked to Messi, whose inswinging cross from the right glides over the head of Busquets and bounces onto the outside of the post. This game is nuts.

9′ Big save by Neuer, who denies Suarez from close range. Bayern just let the Uruguayan walk into their box unchallenged. To say this game is open would be an understatement.

7′ GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Bayern Munich — Alaba own goal! It’s a freak own goal by the experienced David Alaba, who was trying to clear Jordi Alba’s cross but slices it over Neuer with his weaker right foot and into his own goal. What a crazy start to this one.

The moment David Alaba sliced the ball into his own net.

The moment David Alaba sliced the ball into his own net.

4′ GOAL! Barcelona 0-1 Bayern Munich — Müller scores! It’s an early lead for Bayern and it’s Müller with a fine strike from the edge of the box after Lewandowski laid it off. Fine finish, fine start for the German side!

3′ Early chance for Barcelona as Roberto puts in a cross from the right that gets beyond Boateng, but Neuer is alert and clears with his feet.

1′ KICK OFF — We’re underway in Lisbon!

20:45 Messi vs Lewandowski

The second and fourth highest goalscorers in Champions League history are on the field tonight. Lionel Messi is second in the all-time list with 115 goals and Robert Lewandowski is fourth, with 66. Cristiano Ronaldo is first with 130, in case you were wondering.

20:30 Müller makes history

While we’re talking stats, Thomas Müller achieves another personal milestone tonight…

20:20 European giants

Tonight’s meeting is between the only two sides still in the competition that have won it before. Their pedigree is undisputable: Both have reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the 18th time (in 24 and 23 appearances respectively), more than any other side.

20:10 Vidal starts, Dembele makes the bench

Barcelona line up as expected. Arturo Vidal starts against his former club and Ousmane Dembele, he former Dortmund player, is fit enough to be on the bench having been suffering with an injury. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi start up top, with Antoine Griezmann on the bench again. Manuel Neuer’s Germany understudy Marc-andre ter Stegen, the best second choice goalkeeper in the world, starts in goal for Barca.

20:00 Perisic in, Coman out

The only real talking point from the Bayern XI selected by Hansi Flick is the inclusion of Ivan Perisic rather than Kingsley Coman. Perisic preferred because of his better defensive capabilities, perhaps. And with Lionel Messi likely to be operating on that side of the field, it’s a key consideration. Coman is on the bench though, as is Niklas Süle and Philippe Coutinho.

19:50 Team news!

Bayern’s starting XI…

And Barcelona’s…

Flick: Bayern not just playing Messi

Bayern boss Hansi Flick is a relative novice at this stage but it’s all gone swimmingly so far. His side are now master pressers and look to have goals all over the pitch. Tonight’s opponents have been less convincing since football resumed but were saved by Lionel Messi’s magnificence against Napoli in the last 16. But Flick is wary of focusing only on the Argentinian.

 “It is not Bayern Munich against Messi but Bayern Munich against Barcelona,” he told reporters ahead of the game.

Vidal praises ex-teammate Lewandowski

Thiago won’t be the only midfielder playing against his old side this evening, with Arturo Vidal likely to line up against Bayern for the first time since he left the Bundesliga champions in 2018.

The Chilean picked out Robert Lewandowski as a major threat. The Polish striekr is all but certain to win the golden boot in the Champions League this term.

“Lewandowski is truly extraordinary,” Vidal said in the prematch press conference. “He is very dangerous and it will be very hard to defend against him, but we will be prepared.”
 

Pavard out, Coman fit

French defender Benjamin Pavard is Bayern’s only injury absentee with Kingsley Coman “100 percent fit,” according to Bayern coach Hansi Flick. Pavard’s absence will likely mean Joshua Kimmich stays at rightback and Barcelona academy graduate Thiago continues in midfield, despite strong speculation he’ll soon join Liverpool.

For the Spanish side, former Borussia Dortmund flyer Ousmane Dembele is back in contention after nine months out with a hamstring injury. But Barca boss Quique Setien is only expecting to get “perhaps a few minutes” from the Frenchman.

Rare battle of big beasts

Considering they’ve won the competition 10 times between them, Bayern and Barcelona have not met all that often. Surprisingly, the first European meeting came as recently as 1996, when the Germans ousted Johan Cruyff’s team in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) semifinal before going on to win the competition.

Barcelona have won only two of the eight meetings in the Champions League since then and were hammered 7-0 over the two legs by Jupp Heynckes side on their way to the treble in 2013. Two years later though, a strong performance at the Camp Nou helped Barcelona to the final in Berlin, which they would also go on to win. Indeed, the winner of every knockout tie featuring these two has gone on to claim the trophy.