Bayern Munich scored eight goals as a humiliated Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League following an 8-2 mauling in Lisbon.
Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho both bagged a brace, while Serge Gnabry, Ivan Perisic, Joshua Kimmich and a David Alaba own goal annihilated a poor Barcelona side.
Hansi Flick had guided Bayern to an incredible run of 22 wins in 23 games, with 18 victories in a row and headed into this tie feeling confident after dismantling Chelsea 4-1 in the last-16 knockout round second leg.
It was no surprise to see the German stick to his guns and keep an unchanged starting line-up, while Barcelona head coach Quique Setien made a surprise call to start Arturo Vidal and keep Antoine Griezmann on the bench with a diamond midfield.
Much had been said in the build-up to this game about whether Robert Lewandowski could match up to Lionel Messi. With 53 goals in 44 appearances, it was certainly an argument that held some credibility.
But a big part of Lewandowski’s success was the unheralded Thomas Muller, who had racked up an astonishing 21 assists in the Bundesliga. This time, it was time for the Pole to return the favour – and that he did.
With just four minutes on the clock, Bayern moved it forward down the left with Ivan Perisic lofting a cross to Muller on the edge of the box. He performed an intelligent fake shot, instead exchanging a one-two with Lewandowski and shooting low into the corner past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
It was a brilliant goal which did more to highlight Bayern’s ruthless finishing more than anything. But at the back, the German champions were badly exposed by their extremely high line and paid the price.
Clement Lenglet clipped a ball into Jordi Alba’s path and he squared it to Luis Suarez. But in attempting to clear it, the Austrian managed to loop the ball over his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and into the top corner. A fine finish, just at the wrong end.
Barcelona had their foot firmly on the gas and were finding space in behind that high line. Two chances arrived in as many minutes, with Suarez denied by Neuer and Messi’s free-kick beating everyone but the post.
As both sides enjoyed spells in possession, it was Bayern’s relentless pressing that helped them retake the lead. Sergi Roberto was swamped by three white shirts and Alphonso Davies passed it wide to Ivan Perisic, whose low strike – with the aid of a dlefection from Lenglet – squeezed past Ter Stegen.
The heavens opened after that strike and Barcelona were quite simply crumbling under the pressure. Thiago’s sublime no-look pass found Lewandowski, who crafted a perfect ball over the top to Serge Gnabry and he finished with composure and precison to extend the advantage to 3-1.
Four minutes later, it was four. Muller was at the right place at the right time to meet Leon Goretzka’s near-post delivery and prodded past the helpless Ter Stegen.
Bayern began to hunt down a Barcelona side lacking composure on the ball and only Lewandowski will know how he didn’t add his name to the growing scoresheet.
Luis Suarez got one back for Barcelona and with half an hour still to go, a comeback was not out of the question.
But Bayern, having brought on Coutinho to face his parent club, were hoping to create something special. And when Alphonso Davies sold Nelson Semedo with a fine piece of skill, Kimmich tapped home to make it five.
The warning signs were there when Lewandowski was denied his goal by the offside there. Still, Barcelona didn’t take notice and began to crumble.
Coutinho dribbled down the left, found Lewandowski in the box and the Pole made it 14 goals in the Champions League – and six for Bayern. VAR took a long time to review the goal for offside, but it stood.
And Setien’s side simply threw in the towel. Coutinho, perhaps acting with a sense of vengence, reacted first after some awful defending from the Blaugrana to tap home. He got a second three minutes later, sliding home into the bottom corner.
The humiliation was truly completed. Setien turned away with a lost look in his eyes and Barca trudged off the pitch in shame. Their worst-ever defeat in Europe – and a capitulation of this kind was a perfect exhibition of just how far they have fallen.