Goals from Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski settled a battle of the large two in Champions League Group E as Bayern Munich claimed a dominant opening-game victory at Barcelona.
The German champions controlled the sport , with Muller scoring his seventh career goal against Barca courtesy of a first-half effort that found internet off Eric Garcia’s back.
Lewandowski made sure of the win with a typical predatory finish, poking his 74th Champions League goal into an empty net after Jamal Musiala’s drive had cannoned backtrack the post.
His 75th came late within the game, as he once more showed his talent ahead of goal with a lashed finish after Serge Gnabry’s shot had come off the post and fell to him within the box.
Barca, playing their first Champions League since the departure of talisman Lionel Messi, were flat and offered little, failing to muster one shot on track .
They ended the sport with four teenagers on the pitch, which did a minimum of inject some urgency and lift a subdued crowd of just in need of 40,000 due to Covid-19 restrictions.
They were still thoroughly outclassed, though, and by a Bayern team that weren’t even at their best.
The German side lead the group, with the opposite game, between Benfica and Dinamo Kiev, finishing 0-0.
Best action and reaction from Tuesday’s Champions League games, including Barcelona v Bayern Munich
Bayern ease to win against broken Barca
It is now 13 months since Bayern ruthlessly exposed the growing frailty at the guts of Barcelona, putting eight past them in one among the foremost eye-opening Champions League knockout games in recent memory.
Little did Barca know that things would only worsen for them within the months to follow, with a dangerous financial situation bringing about the departure of Messi to Paris St-Germain this summer.
They now look a shell of a once great side – sleepwalking through the motions and susceptible to being easily ignored by any side with an idea and talent, or a world-class one playing in third as Bayern were here.
Messi started up front with Luis Suarez therein 8-2 loss in 2020. On Wednesday, Barca paired two former Premier League failures in Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong, which was largely because ex-Middlesbrough forward Martin Braithwaite is injured.
Not that it mattered as Bayern cut the availability , left the house forwards adrift, set about pressing high, and patiently picked apart a defence designed to be a 3 but more often pushed into being a five.
Bayern are in something of a transition phase of their own, with their immediate solution to a departing manager and aging parts of their squad being to recruit the simplest bits from nearest domestic challenger RB Leipzig.
In new boss Julian Nagelsmann they need a person whose ideals bring a simple handover from successor Hansi Flick.
The 34-year-old has the talent and therefore the tools to form this Bayern side a true challenger for the Champions League this season. If this is often them in third , imagine once they hit fifth?
They are now undefeated in 19 European away matches – a record run altogether European competitions – and can surely only recover .
As for Barca, they’re stalling and it’s hard to ascertain how they get themselves back on target . Second place in Group E is way from a certainty .