What was billed as a fight between two five-time European champions has shifted a lot in one direction.
Bayern Munich had a 4-1 lead over Barcelona after the first 31 minutes and took a decisive lead in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski hit the headlines over a matchup full of star power, but it was also other big names that have strengthened, especially for Bayern Munich. Thomas Müller has two goals, while Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic each score one goal for the German champions, who have been aiming to win a first triple since 2013. Barcelona’s goal fell through Bayern defender David Alaba, who put Jordi Alba̵
Barcelona, which Antoine Griezmann left on the bench in a 4-4-2 formation, almost broke through in the third minute in the counterattack. Messi released Sergi Roberto on the left where he stepped in behind aspiring Canadian star Alphonso Davies. Roberto’s curling cross almost found its way to Luis Suarez, but it was just out of his reach and Manuel Neuer came off his line to clear it away.
Bayern then met against Barcelona the next time. Müller and Lewandowski worked a wonderful combination at the top of the box, with Müller shooting home from the edge of the field into the fourth minute.
This lead did not last long. Alba’s cross when attempting to locate Suarez was accidentally thrown into his own net by Alaba, leveling Barcelona and leading to 1-1 after seven minutes.
Barcelona were almost twice ahead in the next three minutes. Initially, Suarez fell behind the storming Neuer, who saved his chance from close range before Sergio Busquets hit the post on another opportunity.
Messi had then saved a chance in the 20th minute, and Neuer suppressed his chance at close range after being played behind the Bayern defense.
Bayern then rushed for their next chance in a game whose pace could not possibly be sustained. After a certain pressure forced a Barcelona turnover, Gnabry found Perisic in the overlapping run to his left, and the Croatian beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen from a tight angle and used his chance in the far post to take a 2-1 lead in 21 Minute.
Bayern should have made it 3-1 in the 27th minute when Lewandowski had to accept a rebound on the goalkeeper, only that Ter Stegen parried from close range. It got 3-1 soon enough, however.
Leon Goretzka threw a pass over the top for Gnabry, who got in behind Clement Lenglet and managed with balance to extend the lead to two.
Immediately afterwards, Ter Stegen almost made a self-inflicted mistake when he turned it over and tried to play it off the back. He gave Lewandowski the chance to strike just to save the desperation.
Not that it really mattered. Bayern made it 4-1 in the 31st minute through Muller’s second game, with his passing on from Joshua Kimmich’s pass extending the lead.
Stay tuned here for live updates and highlights of the goals and key games throughout the match (Update for the latest updates).
Here are the lineups for both teams:
The winner will face Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals on Wednesday. The winner of this game will reach the final on August 23 against PSG or RB Leipzig.