Football Features

“The best player on the pitch tonight” – Player ratings as beleaguered Barcelona get battered by brutal Bayern Munich

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:33, 14 September 2021

In a brutal night of football, Bayern Munich opened their Champions League campaign by demolishing Barcelona 0-3 at the Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana started well but a deflected goal just before half-time turned an even contest into a one-sided beatdown as Bayern walked away with an 0-3 win that could have been so much more.

Here’s how the players rated at the Camp Nou:


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Barcelona

Marc-André Ter Stegen – 5 – Helpless on the goals where cruel deflections left him stranded. Did alright beyond that.

Ronald Araujo – 8 – An absolutely flawless display from the Uruguayan. Constantly bailing Barcelona out with his pace, power and defensive instincts. Shut down Alphonso Davies, made Robert Lewandowski struggle for long stretches. Just a masterclass.

Gerard Piqué – 8 – The only Barcelona player over the age of 25 to play well. The club captain in all but name put in a huge display. 5 clearances, 4 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 blocks. A great leader who only needed his team-mates further up the pitch to help.

Eric Garcia – 3 – He is a fabulous passer of the ball (he actually made and completed more passes than any team-mate with a 95.2% accuracy) but the question remains as to whether he can actually defend. Got turned inside out whenever Bayern ran at him and his tepid attempt to close down Muller’s shot led to the deflection that caused the opening goal and he was slow to close out on Musiala just before the second Bayern goal as well. Terrible.

Sergio Busquets – 4 – Usually brilliant, today the midfield maestro was well off the pace. Constantly making sloppy passes that failed to penetrate the Bayern lines, the Blaugrana improved markedly once he went off and that is something you can rarely ever say.

Sergi Roberto – 3 – Absolute nonsense. Booed when he went off and while you never want to condone such things when you see how comically inept he was you can’t blame them. Didn’t defend much, offered no threat in attack, didn’t even cross well!

Frenkie de Jong – 8 – A magnificent performance at the heart of midfield. Frenkie was the only Barcelona player who really matched wits with Bayern in a game of football and just needed more help than Pedri.

Pedri – 7 – Looked re-energised after his break but whenever he dribbled into space and got his head up, he had nobody to pass to.

Jordi Alba – 4 – Was constantly found in space by Frenkie and Pedri in the first-half and not once did he put a good cross in for Luuk de Jong to attack. Left the field with injury and the 18 year-old who came on caused Bayern far more trouble than Alba did. Is this the end of the line? It would be a huge call to put Baldé in as the starter but Alba looks like his goose is cooked.

Memphis Depay – 5 – Really struggled. Constantly showed for the ball and tried to make things happen but had no one to pass to and, worse, he couldn’t physically impose himself on Upamecano which really held him back.

Luuk de Jong – 4 – A baffling and bizarre choice to play given Barcelona seemed to be sitting deep and playing on the break. And was unsurprisingly a bit rubbish on his Barcelona debut.

Substitutes:

Gavi (for Busquets 59′) – 6 – Added so much energy to the match. Relentlessly chased and harried Bayern’s midfield.

Yusuf Demir (for Roberto 59′) – 5 – Was better than Roberto, but didn’t look comfortable in such a deep role. Gave the ball away for the third goal.

Coutinho (for Luuk de Jong 66′) – 6 – Added a bit of invention to the side albeit he spoiled two good attacks by shooting instead of passing. But, y’know, they don’t call him Shootinho for nothing!

Oscar Mingueza (for Garcia 66′) – 6 – Played well enough that you wonder why he didn’t start ahead of Garcia?

Alex Baldé (for Alba 74′) – 7 – Did more in 15 minutes than most of his team-mates did in an hour or more. Relentless in his forward runs, causing Bayern genuine discomfort and bringing the Camp Nou to its feet every time.


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Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer – 6 – Had almost nothing to do. A few bits of sweeping here and there. No saves.

Benjamin Pavard – 7 – Defended solidly. Didn’t do much in attack but didn’t have to.

Dayot Upamecano – 9 – Absolutely colossal at the back. Every time Barcelona put a decent attack together, which they did a few times in the first-half when the game was far from the one-sided beating it ended up being, Upamecano appeared to slam the door shut in their face. Many doubted him after a rocky end to his time with Leipzig but he’s stepped up to the task with Bayern and is obscenely dominant at the back. On this kind of form there’s no way he won’t find his way back into the French national team as well. The best player on the pitch tonight and one of the finest young defenders in the world.

Niklas Sule – 7 – A decent performance albeit Upamecano handled the majority of the defending..

Alphonso Davies – 8 – The rocket man found Ronald Araujo an impassable object that prevented him from shining as bright as he could, but every time he squared up to anyone else he was absolutely burning their face off.

Joshua Kimmich – 7 – A decent display in the middle of the pitch. Couldn’t get a handle on De Jong but was otherwise bright.

Leon Goretzka – 7 – Some impressive forward runs that really gave Barcelona headaches.

Jamal Musiala – 8 – Really bright performance from the young teenager. Ran at Barcelona with confidence and caused the second goal when he slammed his shot off the post.

Thomas Muller – 8 – A perpetual thorn in Barcelona’s side with his hustling and harrying. Scored the opening goal with a heavily deflected potshot but continued to chase every ball.

Leroy Sané – 7 – Looked really sharp with his movement. Forced a huge save from Ter Stegen in the first-half.

Robert Lewandowski – 8 – Was actually fairly subdued by some excellent last ditch defending from Araujo and Piqué, but never stopped trying to find his goals and made it 18 straight games with a goal when he tapped home a rebound. Added a second when he put Piqué on the floor and slammed it home (via a generous deflection).

Substitutes:

Lucas Hernandez (for Pavard 66′) – 7 – Was solid when he came on.

Serge Gnabry (for Musiala 70′) – 7 – Added a tonne of thrust into attack and struck the post late on.

Marcel Sabitzer (for Muller 82′) – n/a – Came on late.

Kingsley Coman (for Sané 82′) – n/a – Came on late.

Josip Stanisic (for Sule 82′) – n/a – Came on late.