No, this isn’t a dream. It’s true, Barcelona are out! The Catalan club finished off one of their worst Champions League campaigns ever by failing to make it out of the group stage. They will compete in the Europa League for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
The Collapse of the Once Mighty FC Barcelona
Wednesday night proved the last-ditch effort for Barca as they hoped to extend their 17 year run in the Champions League Round of 16. Instead of coming out victorious, they concluded their time in the competition with yet another embarrassing exit. In a nightmare scenario for Blaugrauna fans, the team managed only two CL wins this year, drawing one and losing the remaining three. Consequently, we will see them drawn into the lower-tier Europa League competition. Barca haven’t been seen there since 2003.
This feels like the nail in the coffin, the rock bottom point of what has been a continued collapse for FC Barcelona. The world has watched the club stoop lower and lower in recent years. However, being eliminated in the group stage is an all-new low. So how did this happen?
To avoid elimination, a couple of things needed to happen. First, Barcelona needed Benfica to lose/draw against Dynamo Kyiv. Benfica won 2-0. Okay, this now meant Barcelona HAD to beat Bayern Munich, who’ve humiliated them multiple times in recent memory. Wednesday night was no different. Bayern dismantled Barca 3-0. Benfica finished a point above Barca and claimed their spot into the next round.
Bayern Come Back to Haunt Barcelona
Of course, it had to be Bayern Munich who delivered the final blow to send their European rivals out once again. It’s also safe to say that the footballing world hasn’t forgotten Memphis Depay’s pregame words, claiming that “We want revenge [against Bayern].”
Barca trying to revenge against Bayern pic.twitter.com/aqZ71l2KRw— Four-eyed Edo Boy™ (@Alex_Houseof308) December 8, 2021
Bayern players looking at the Depay revenge quotes: pic.twitter.com/MEmZ1GUWoA— Hamza C (@ThatsMessiClass) December 8, 2021
Yeah, Depay’s claim aged like spoiled milk. In their last four meetings, Bayern have now defeated Barcelona:
Barcelona haven’t beaten Bayern Munich since 2015.
Xavi to Coach Against Europa League Level Opponents
Well, Xavi’s time coaching Barca in the Champions League has come to an abrupt end. The changes and new rules he’s implemented at the club clearly haven’t had enough time to sink in.
However, maybe this will prove to be better for Xavi in the long run. Facing Europa League opponents as opposed to the most in-form teams in Europe could help him adjust into the job better. The competition will still be good, but more on the level that this current Barcelona team are at. Xavi can use this experience to experiment and try to bring back the iconic Barca way of playing from years past.
For the time being though, this is going to sting for a while. Additionally, in La Liga, Xavi’s Barcelona are currently closer to relegation than they are to league leaders Real Madrid.
I’d advise Barca fans to stay off social media for a few days as it isn’t going to be pretty. This historic defeat to Bayern will leave a dirty mark in their club’s history, and it will be insane to see Barcelona competing in the Europa League in due time.