Barcelona’s chances of ending the 2021/22 with a trophy pretty much ended on Thursday night as they crashed out of the UEFA Europa League.
Playing Eintracht Frankfurt at Camp Nou in the quarter-final second leg at Camp Nou, Barça lost 2-3 on the night and 3-4 on aggregate to get eliminated from the Europa League, with a brace from Filip Kostic and a Rafael Borre strike condemning Xavi & co. to a defeat.
While Barcelona are still within a mathematical chance of winning the La Liga title, the Europa League presented as their likeliest avenue to win a trophy. In addition, progressing in the tournament would have guaranteed them financial benefits.
But, it was not to be for the Blaugrana, who will now completely focus on ending their La Liga campaign on a strong note and ensuring that they qualify for the Champions League next term.
Unbeaten run comes to an end
The defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt sees Barcelona’s 15-game unbeaten run across all competitions come to an end. Prior to Thursday’s game, the Catalans had not lost a single match since January 21 when they were beaten by Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey.
The 15-game streak (W11 D4) was the best run for a team in Europe’s top five leagues while it lasted. Now, it is AC Milan who have the best undefeated run across the top five league competitions in Europe (P12 W6 D6).
This past weekend against Levante, Barcelona conceded as many as three penalties in the space of 30 minutes in the second half. Less than five minutes into Thursday’s clash against Eintracht Frankfurt, the Catalans gave away another penalty.
It means that Barça conceded four penalties in a space of 40 minutes. While they were able to come out on top on Sunday despite conceding three spot-kicks, they came out short against the Bundesliga outfit on Thursday night.
Filip Kostic haunts Barça
Eintracht Frankfurt had an array of standout performers on the night. But the one that caused Barcelona the most grief was Filip Kostic. The 29-year-old was a livewire down the left flank and asked plenty of questions of the Barça defence.
Kostic ended the night with two goals, while he also assisted Rafael Borre’s strike in the first half. In the process, the Serbian became the first player to score and assist in a single European game against Barceloan at Camp Nou since Juninho for Lyon in 2009.
At the same time, Rafael Borre’s long-distance screamer on Thursday night meant that Barcelona have now conceded eight goals from outside the box this season in all competitions – more than any other campaign since way back in 2005/06.
Worrying home form in Europe
Camp Nou has been a fortress for Barcelona for the longest time. However, their recent form at home in European matches, is going to raise some concerns.
Thursday’s defeat to Frankfurt meant that Barça have failed to win each of their last four home matches in European competitions (D3 L1), having drawn their previous three against Benfica (Champions League), Napoli and Galatasaray.