Barcelona‘s 2021/22 season hit a new low on Tuesday as they were beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich at Camp Nou on the opening night of the Champions League group stages.
Robert Lewandowski scored twice, whilst Thomas Muller also struck in a dominant victory for the German champions.
Ronald Koeman‘s side, meanwhile, failed to notch even a shot on target for the first time in their history in European competition.
And the Dutchman pointed to a “difference in quality” between his players and Bayern’s stars after the game.
He said: “It is what it is for the time being. I cannot complain about the attitude, but there is a difference in quality.”
Koeman went on to say: “It is what it is, we have to spend a few weeks like this because later we are going to get players like [Sergio] Aguero, [Ousmane] Dembele and Ansu Fati back.
“There are players who are 19 and 20 years old. If you compare them with the players [Bayern] have, there is a difference. In a while, the difference will be smaller.”
But sections of the Spanish press were less forgiving in their assessment of Barcelona’s display.
Newspaper Marca’s headline read “Poor Barcelona”, with a photo of Muller and Lewandowski performing a high-five.
One of their online writers called Barca “a small team” in this season’s Champions League.
Another article began with the title “If it wasn’t for Ter Stegen…” signalling that without the presence of their German international, the result could have been even worse for Ronald Koeman’s side.
AS, meanwhile, opted for the simple headline: “Another bath”.
Many other outlets reminded Barca fans of the club’s historic 8-2 defeat to the same opponents in 2020, which almost signalled the end of an era.
Over 12 months on, Barca are without Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, and – you sense – are still a long way from standing at the very top of world football once again.
Barca captain Gerard Pique, though, spoke optimistically about the future after the game.
“We are not among the favourites but still nothing happens, look at Chelsea last season,” he said (via Football Espana).
“This game teaches us that Bayern are superior, but very young players have come out who must be the future of this club.
“We are Barcelona and I am sure that we will end up competing.”
Featured Image Credit: Getty