What has been billed as a battle of two five-time European champions, has leaned heavily in one direction.
Bayern Munich took a 4-1 lead over Barcelona after the first 31 minutes and holds a commanding lead in their Champions League quarter-final in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski led a match that matched the power of the star, but there have been other big names growing up, especially for Bayern Munich. Thomas Muller has two goals, while Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic have a proper goal for the German champions, who are aiming to win a first treble since 2013. Barcelona’s first goal came through Bayern defender David Alaba, i who snatched Jordi Alba̵7;s cross in his net. Luis Suarez made it 4-2 in the 57th minute, only for Joshua Kimmich to respond six minutes later to return the edge of the three goals. Lewandowski only added humiliation in the 84th minute with one of his own.
Barcelona, which left Antoine Griezmann on the bench in a 4-4-2 move, almost broke through in the third minute on the counterattack. Messi exploded free Sergi Roberto from the left, where he took after the Canadian star Alphonso Davies. Roberto’s curly cross almost did not find his way to Suarez, but he was out of his best and Manuel Neuer went out of his line to clear it.
Bayern then scored for the opening next time at the end of Barcelona. Muller and Lewandowski worked out a great combination at the top of the box, with Muller shooting home for the fourth minute.
This bullet did not last long. Alba’s cross trying to get Suarez was inadvertently from Alaba in his net, giving Barcelona a draw and making it 1-1 after seven minutes.
Barcelona almost went ahead on two occasions in the next three minutes. First, Suarez had a kick back from rushing Neuer, who saved his distant opportunity, before Sergio Busquets hit the post in another opportunity.
Messi then had a chance to save in the 20th minute, with Neuer fading his chance from close range as he would be playing in the Bayern defense.
Bayern then rose to his next chance in a game whose pace could not be maintained. After some pressure forced a Barcelona turnover, Gnabry found Perisic in the overlapping race on his left, and the Croatian defeated Marc-Andre ter Stegen from a narrow angle, strengthening his chance inside the far post for a 2- lead. 1 in the 21st minute.
Bayern should have made it 3-1 in the 27th minute, when Lewandowski had a ball drop towards him in the goal, just for Ter Stegen to save from the point of view. It became 3-1 fairly quickly, however.
Leon Goretzka sent the ball over to Gnabry, who came after Klement Lenglet and finished with a poem to extend the lead to two.
Ter Stegen almost had a self-inflicted mistake shortly after, when he turned it around trying to play it from behind. He gave Lewandowski a chance to strike, just to escape despair.
Not that it really mattered. Bayern made it 4-1 in the 31st minute through Muller second of the game, with his pass led by Joshua Kimmich extending the lead.
The second half started just like the first. Barcelona was clumsy and detached at its end, while Bayern Munich kept up the pressure. Her first chance came through a direct ball among Neuer, who chose Muller following the line behind Barcelona. Muller turned and fed Perisic, who hit his chance towards Ter Stegen’s chest in the 49th minute.
Another chance came through Goretzka, who went through Barcelona’s defense to meet Kimmich’s ball over the top, settled with his chest, but shot high a minute later.
Barcelona needed a life-saving save, and took it in the 57th minute. Messi found Alba on the left, who cut it again for Suarez. The Uruguayan then did well to cut Jerome Boateng – who certainly had the nuances of his famous light against Barcelona and Messi in 2015 – and beat Neuer with a shot from inside the box to make it 4-2.
This path of salvation did not last long. Davies absolutely abused Nelson Semedo down the left wing, reaching the bottom line and cutting a cross back in the center of the box, where Kimmich stepped on him to shoot home the goal that gave Bayern its three-goal lead behind.
The only thing that did not happen for Bayern Munich was Lewandowski’s note, but that inevitability happened in the 84th minute. Cruelly to Barcelona, it came from a loan from Philippe Coutinho – on loan to Bayern from Barcelona – and was backed up after a VAR review confirmed that his head was anide. The goal was Lewandowski’s 54th in all competitions this season, 14th in the Champions League.
Stay tuned here for live updates and highlights of goals and highlights throughout the match (refresh for the latest updates).
Here are the lineups for both teams:
The winner will advance to face either Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals on Wednesday, with the winner of that match reaching the final on August 23, either PSG or RB Leipzig.