FC Barcelona are a club now well and truly up against it, having fallen far behind their early season ambitions. It’s now up to their team — and the leaders who step up within it — to salvage something from this Champions League group stage exit.
Barça keeper and Germany international Marc-André ter Stegen had some pointed comments for any of his teammates who might have wanted to let themselves off the hook for this one — after all, Inter Milan’s earlier win on Wednesday sealed Barça’s Champions League fate, and it was understandably deflating.
However, that wasn’t reason enough to explain the lackluster showing.
“Our elimination had nothing to do with it, it pains me to say,” said ter Stegen after the game (via FCBayern). “We wanted to put in a good performance, but Bayern scored pretty early. Of course, that affects how you play.
“We played well in the middle of the park, but Bayern have so much quality in the team and kept their composure. When all’s said and done, you have to say we never really got into the game. The defeat was a fair result.”
No kidding — in a stark contrast to their showing in Munich, Barça didn’t look as if they had come to play, even before Sadio Mané’s opening goal. And after that, they scarcely looked in the mood for a challenge. There was still at least pride to play for, and a demonstration to themselves and to each other of what they were capable of.
In all dimensions, Barça fell flat — and ter Stegen is right to express pain. Hard questions will need to be asked, and tough mentalities will need to do the answering.
Want more analysis of the game? How did Nagelsmann nullify Xavi and which players stood out? Then why not check out our postgame podcast? Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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