Barcelona ousted from Champions League group stage for the first time since 2000
Barcelona rocked as group stage exit confirmed
Spanish giants Barcelona have gone from one crisis to the next tonight after confirmation that the Blaugrana will be competing in the Europea League knockout stages.
Barça clashed with German juggernaut Bayern Munich at a vacant Allianz Arena tonight and was soundly beaten by Julien Nagelsmann’s Bavarian giants 3-0.
That result alone was not enough to send the Catalan outfit packing from the competition and they could still have reached the next round as runner-up in Group E, but Portuguese stalwarts SL Benfica – who came into tonight 2-points adrift of Barcelona – ran out 2-0 winners against bottom feeders Dynamo Kyiv at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.
The last team to knock Barcelona out at the group stage of the UEFA Champions League were Leeds United in 2000……..
— John Bradley (@jbradleymedia) December 8, 2021
It is the first time since 2000 that Barcelona has been made to pack their bags at this stage of the competition, with the last time coming at the hands of high-flying Leeds United under David O’Leary when they made their fairytale run to the semi-finals.
7️⃣ games vs. Barcelona
Can’t stop @esmuellert_ 😁
♦️ #FCBFCB 2-0 ♦️ pic.twitter.com/HtwYv0usA5
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 8, 2021
To add fuel to the fire, German international Thomas Müller’s first-half strike against the Spanish side was not only his 50th Champions League goal, but his 8th goal in just seven appearances against Barça; more than any other player in the history of the competition.
Xavi regime stuttering out of the blocks
It was a dream start for new Barcelona boss and returning iconic son Xavi when he replaced Ronald Koeman on the Camp Nou touchline when his managerial debut for the club resulted in a 1-0 derby win against Espanyol.
But that feeling did not last long after Barça fought to a 0-0 draw against Benfica in a match that turned out to be of massive importance in the end. A win there would have sealed Barcelona’s passage into the next round of the Champions League, but the club bounced back regardless afterward with their second league win in two under Xavi in a 3-1 result against Villarreal.
That, too, did not serve as the right springboard when a disappointing 1-0 home loss against high-flying Real Betis last weekend gave Xavi his first taste of defeat in his new role.
The loss tonight, which has far-reaching ramifications, is not only humbling but a warning sign of just how difficult the job in Catalunya is.