What was announced as a fight between two five-time European champions leaned sharply in one direction.
FC Bayern Munich were 4-1 ahead of Barcelona after the first 31 minutes and never looked back, doubled it after half-time and surprisingly won 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski led a duel full of star power, but were the other big names to appear for Bayern Munich. Thomas Müller scored two goals, Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic each scored one goal before halftime for the German champions, who have been aiming to win their first triple since 2013.
Barcelona’s first goal was scored by Bayern defender David Alaba, who stuck a cross from Jordi Alba into his own net to make it 1-1 in the seventh minute. Luis Suarez scored the 4-2 in the 57th minute, only Joshua Kimmich replied six minutes later and restored the three-goal lead. Lewandowski only added his own humiliation in the 84th minute, before Philippe Coutinho – on loan from Barcelona to Bayern – made it 8-2 shortly afterwards with a late double.
Barcelona, who let Antoine Griezmann sit on the bench in a 4-4-2 formation, almost got through on the counterattack in the third minute. Messi freed Sergi Roberto on the left, where he moved in behind newly promoted Canadian Alphonso Davies. Roberto’s curling flank almost found its way to Suarez, but it was just out of his reach and Manuel Neuer came off his line to clear it away.
Bayern then hit the end of Barcelona at the beginning of the next time. Müller and Lewandowski worked a wonderful combination at the head of the box.
This lead did not last long. Alba’s cross from Suarez was accidentally thrown into its own net by Alaba, which gave Barcelona the 1-1 equalizer after seven minutes.
Barcelona almost took the lead twice in the next three minutes. At first, Suarez fell behind the oncoming Neuer, who saved his chance from close range before Sergio Busquets hit the post on another opportunity.
Messi then had a chance in the 20th minute, which Neuer stifled after being played behind the Bayern defense.
Bayern then took their next chance in a game whose pace could not possibly be kept. After some pressure forced a Barcelona turnover, Gnabry found Perisic in the overlapping run on his left, and the Croatian hit Marc-Andre ter Stegen from a tight angle and took his chance to lead 2-1 in the 21st minute at the far post.
FC Bayern should have scored the 3-1 in the 27th minute when Lewandowski crashed a rebound in front of the goal, only for Ter Stegen he parried at close range. But it soon became 3-1.
Leon Goretzka threw a pass over the top for Gnabry, who came into play behind Clement Lenglet and confidently extended the lead to two.
Ter Stegen almost had a self-inflicted mistake immediately afterwards when he tried to play it off the back. He gave Lewandowski a chance to score to save the desperation.
Not that it really matters. Bayern scored 4-1 in the 31st minute with Müller’s second of the game, and his setback after Kimmich’s pass extended the lead.
The second half started much like the first ended. Barcelona were sloppy and disjointed while Bayern Munich kept the pressure on. His first chance came from a direct ball into the middle of Neuer, who found Müller behind the defensive line of Barcelona. Müller turned around and fed Perisic, who hit his chance in the 49th minute directly in Ter Stegen’s chest.
Another chance was offered by Goretzka, who broke through the Barcelona defense to hit Kimmich’s ball over the top, settled on his chest but shot up a minute later.
Barcelona needed a lifeline and they got one in the 57th minute. Messi found Alba on the left, shortening it for Suarez. The Uruguayan then did well to push back Jerome Boateng – who certainly had the shadow of his infamous lowlight against Barcelona and Messi in 2015 – and defeat Neuer with a shot from the box to make it 4-2.
That lifeline didn’t last long. Davies absolutely abused Nelson Semedo on the left, coming to the end line and flicking a cross back through the center of the box, where Kimmich raced to score the goal that gave Bayern back a three-goal lead.
The only thing that didn’t happen at Bayern Munich was a Lewandowski goal, but it happened in the 84th minute. Cruel for Barcelona, it came from a feed from Philippe Coutinho – who was loaned to Bayern by Barcelona – and was confirmed after a VAR review confirmed his header was on the field. The goal was Lewandowski’s 54th in all competitions this season, 14th in the Champions League.
The cruelty continued moments later when Coutinho got two of his own to make a sensational 8-2.
Here are the lineups of both teams:
Bayern Munich will face either Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals on Wednesday, with the winner of this game reaching the final on 23 August against either PSG or RB Leipzig.