Humiliation and disaster from the club, collective and individuals. In a horror night, these are the ratings for each Barcelona player in the historic 2–8 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Barcelona, once more, came crashing down like a house of cards on the European stage, where Bayern Munich handed the Catalans their most humiliating defeat in recent history. The greatest club to possibly ever exist fell from grace in the most demeaning and mortifying manner possible, but the worst part is: the decline had begun years ago. Roma and Anfield may have felt like the nail in the coffin, but in reality, they were just appetizers, a glimpse of what was ahead.
With structural changes desperately required and a surge of new blood, Barça must, at long last, revitalise and rebuild. The vibrant and lively football it once boasted of has now been sucked out to the core. Nevertheless, despite holding the one’s in charge accountable, this would have never been possible without the disastrous performances displayed by the blaugranas. Here’s how the Barça players fared in the fateful night in Lisbon:
Marc-André ter Stegen: 2/10
Barcelona’s most reliable and reputable player failed on the big stage as Ter Stegen spent 90% of the match picking the ball out of his net. Whilst he could have done a far better job in denying Bayern’s bloodthirsty forwards from feasting infront of goal, it was his dodgy distribution that truly deteriorated his performance. The German struggled to play out from the back and consequently gave the ball away on innumerable occasions.
Gerard Piqué: 3/10
Barça’s most trustworthy defender since the restart looked broken and in shambles as he let Bayern’s blistering attack open the defence up countless times. Despite the ghastly result, Piqué had a few moments to shine where he made some key interceptions and blocks. Woefully, it meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Clément Lenglet: 2/10
Arguably Clément Lenglet’s worst ever performance in a red and blue shirt. He was physically outmuscled and mentally outmatched. Lenglet, as did every Barcelona player on the field, floundered whenever Bayern pressed up high. The Frenchman gave away possession in dangerous areas, even failing to contain pacy wingers such as Serge Gnabry, who effortlessly slipped past him to beat Ter Stegen in goal. An awful day for a defender who was beginning to set a high bar for himself.
Nélson Semedo: 1/10
Shocking…Simply outrageous. Nélson Semedo’s career was tarnished at the hands of Bayern, more specifically, Alphonso Davies, who not only made him look like a fool in the second half, but a mere Sunday league defender. The Portuguese consistently went high up the field, leaving the right flank exposed and naked for Bayern, who repaid his lack of positioning with a barrage of goals. Semedo’s defensive capabilities, which are regarded as his best trait, proved to be his worst on the night.
Jordi Alba: 3/10
Jordi Alba was just another deer caught in the headlights, making a mockery of himself on the left flank, where Bayern ran rampant. Although he earned himself an assist, his defensive contribution was as minimal as it got. Infact, he contributed to the opposition more than he did to his team, which sums up the majority of the match for Barça. Jordi was caught out several times, proving why he has been a measly shadow of himself ever since that traumatic defeat to Liverpool.
Sergio Busquets: 2/10
The bridge that connected all departments was disfigured as Bayern bulldozed their way through him and constantly forced him into making errors or losing the ball. Sergio Busquets’ ageing legs and inability to distribute the ball caused him to frequently panic and malfunction, a very rare sight from the veteran. It was his performance that probably described Barça best: brilliant in his prime, but inept nowadays.
Frenkie de Jong: 2.5/10
De Jong’s influence against Napoli was a tremendously optimistic sign for Barcelona, but he disappeared on the grand occasion, giving possession away cheaply and barely building any sort of attack. Der FCB were, simply put, all over the youngster.
“How we played is a shame. A shame for a club like Barcelona, with the players we have. After half an hour they had already scored four. We were disappointed at half time, but believed there is a chance. In the second half we were even worse, however”
Frenkie de Jong
Sergi Roberto: 1.5/10
As has been the case several times over the years, Sergi Roberto failed to adjust on the right flank. His combination with Semedo was a severe factor that led to the culés‘ horrific demise. He didn’t bother to track back, nor did he complement Semedo in the attacking front. The Bayern midfield toyed with him through their lionhearted pressing. Sergi was just one of the many players that fell prey to their utterly unmatched intensity.
Arturo Vidal: 1/10
Arturo Vidal failed to walk the talk, just adding fuel to the fire with his needless words post match. Arturo’s attacking outlet was invisible, his defensive participation undetectable and technical quality, out of sight. Bayern bullied the Chilean throughout the course of the 90 minutes, making him eat his words in the worst possible fashion.
Lionel Messi: 4/10
Messi was melancholic and struck with horror as his biggest desire seemed to be to hear the full-time whistle blow. After a fairly energetic start to the game with him sending in some clever crosses and even hitting the post once, Leo lost all will to play once the German side started ensuing chaos in the final third. Messi cannot be blamed for such dismaying results, but should surely be questioned for his lack of authority and communication, especially when all eyes were on him.
A horrible display from the back to the top | Photo by Manu Fernández / Pool / AFP via Getty Images
Luis Suárez: 6/10
Who would have thought? Luis Suárez with Barcelona’s only goal –– excluding David Alaba’s own goal –– on the night. Football’s unpredictability is almost scary at times. Nevertheless, the Uruguayan owed this to Barcelona after his constant spells of disappointments and inconsistencies. With a sleek feint which left Alaba for dead, he buried the ball behind Neuer. Even so, a goal wouldn’t be enough to justify his clumsy touches and non existent pace.
Antoine Griezmann: 2.5/10
His arrival couldn’t impact Barcelona in any way whatsoever. He pressed valiantly and came back to even give his defence a helping hand, but his influence in the final third was nowhere to be seen. Barça’s mega star failed to assert his authority on the field, something he was originally signed to do.
Ansu Fati: N/A
With the game already done and dusted and the azulgranas‘ fate already sealed, Ansu Fati had no time to make an impact or turn the tides. Though, his bursts forward and energetic legs in the little time he had were what Barça needed right from the beginning.
Deportivo Alavés vs Barcelona: Match Preview
Within three days of returning from a successful trip to Turin, Barça travel again, this time to Álava, Basque Country. Here’s the preview of the match between Deportivo Alavés and Barcelona.
Date and kick-off time: Saturday, 31 October 2020, 21:00 CET
Stadium: Mendizorrotza Stadium
Competition: La Liga, matchday 8
Referee: Alejandro Hernández Hernández
Seven matchdays have passed, and still, La Liga has yet to see a team dominate or be consistent. Every team till now has blown hot and cold this season with a few underdogs punching above their weight. But, several sides have played lesser matches than the others, and their position in the table is understandably low. Barça’s opponent this week, also are on the same points as the Catalan club but have played two more games.
Barcelona go on the road again as the congested fixtures list has them playing a game every three days. Barça face Deportivo Alavés who have been underperforming at home this season with only four points from a possible 12. The visitors have three from a possible six while travelling in La Liga this season.
The Blaugranas come into this game from a dominating performance against Juventus despite their winless run in the league. Drawing once and losing twice in the last three games shouts for a change of fortunes this time around in La Liga. Their opponents, however, have two wins from three recently and look to finally hit their strides under Pablo Machín.
Barcelona’s injury list increased further over the week as Ronald Araújo got off at half-time in Turin and will be out for almost a month. While Marc-André ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti have returned to training, they are yet to regain their full fitness and will remain on the sidelines. For Alavés, Rodrigo Ely has joined Pere Pons on the injury list, but Machín has enough options for backup.
What to expect from Deportivo Alavés?
Pablo Machin has used two kinds of backline this season with three or four players at the back depending on the situation. While the formation on paper seems to be different, the personnel remained the same with minor tweaks to their roles. With the players being significantly tall, they are quite strong in winning aerial duels. They have already scored twice from set-pieces this season.
With the marauding Joselu up top, and Lucas Perez running off him, they do have a potent attack. Tomas Pina and Lucas Battaglia will continue in the midfield citing the absence of the talented Pere Pons. Jota will join them in the middle with Machin likely to go with a back three to counter Barça’s four-men attacking foray.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
Ruben Duarte and Edgar Méndez are likely to be the wingbacks and will drop back out of possession to form a back-five. Pablo Machín has been consistent with his eleven trying to get the best out of the team. So, considering that the team is not in any other competition, Barcelona should not expect any surprises in the starting eleven from Alavés. With an underwhelming previous season, Deportivo are looking towards a better one this time around, with a new and proven manager in Pablo Machín.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona arguably played their best 45 minutes of football in the second half of the Juventus match. Whilst continuously creating chances, they had the game under control, leaving very little space for Juventus. Barça were territorially dominant, pressing high up the pitch, reducing a potent Juve attack to a measly xG of 0.41.
With consecutive challenging fixtures in the last two weeks, this game might be the space to rest some players who played the most. Pedri could get a well-deserved rest after impressing in a couple of games with Ansu Fati replacing him. The Spaniard only came off the bench in the mid-week fixture. Antonie Griezmann would keep his place considering the injury of Phillipe Coutinho and his improved showing vs the Old Lady.
Photo Andrea Staccioli via Imago
Gerard Piqué is back after a rest in disguise serving a suspension, partnering up with Clément Lenglet, as the only fit centre-halves. Sergiño Dest could be back in place of Sergi Roberto, giving rest for the Spaniard. Even with the defence stretched thin, Barça were quite comfortable against Juventus. One of the principal reasons for this was the improved and efficient pressing. Koeman would hope the same intensity continues.
“There is healthy competition at right-back between Dest and Roberto. Both of them have shown their quality.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-match Press Conference
While the previous game was almost perfect, the only blatantly visible flaw was the lack of finishing touch. Creating an abundance of chances, the Catalans could not put the ball in the back of the net. While it is only a matter of time before the forwards convert it into goals, the Dutch manager would be hoping it happens sooner than later.
Previous games: WLWLD
Real Valladolid 0–2 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga
Deportivo Alavés 0–2 Elche| La Liga
Deportivo Alavés 1–0 Athletic Bilbao | La Liga
Villarreal 3–1 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga
Deportivo Alavés 0–0 Getafe | La Liga
Position in La Liga
7 points in 7 games
2 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses
5 Goals Scored, 8 Goal Conceded
-3 Goal Difference
Previous games: LWLDW
Juventus 0–2 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Barcelona 1–3 Real Madrid | La Liga
Barcelona 5–1 Ferencváros | UEFA Champions League
Getafe 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–1 Sevilla | La Liga
Position in La Liga
7 points in 5 games
2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses
9 Goals Scored, 5 Goals Conceded
+4 Goal Difference
Last 5 meetings
Deportivo Alavés 0–5 Barcelona | La Liga 19/20
Barcelona 4–1 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga 19/20
Deportivo Alavés 0–2 Barcelona | La Liga 18/19
Barcelona 3–0 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga 18/19
Barcelona 2–1 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga 17/18
• Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in their last 8 away matches against Deportivo Alavés in all competitions.
• Deportivo Alavés have lost their last eight games against Barcelona in all competitions.
• Alavés have failed to score in 7 of their last 8 home matches (LaLiga).
Injured: Rodrigo Ely, Pere Pons
Lejeune · Navarro · Laguardia
Méndez · Jota · Battaglia · Pina · Duarte
Joselu · Pérez
Coach: Pablo Machín
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon), Philippe Coutinho (Hamstring), Ronald Araújo (Hamstring)
Technical Reasons: Riqui Puig, Matheus Fernandez
Dest · Piqué · Lenglet · Alba
Pjanic · de Jong
Trincao · Griezmann · Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman
Both the teams are coming off two-nil victories in the previous games and would love to extend their form. However, considering the under-par home form of Deportivo Alavés, and the significant difference in the quality of the sides, Barcelona should walk away with an away win here.
Barça Universal’s Prediction: 0-2 win for the Catalans.