Bayern Munich turned up in the second half to beat Barcelona by two goals, with substitute Leon Goretzka proving to be the game changer.

Barcelona’s recent revival and good form were put to bed by an overpowering Bayern Munich side, who were fortunate enough not to concede in the first half to Xavi Hernandez’s men. Nevertheless, the Bavarian giants won this tie 2-0 after quickfire second-half goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane.

Barcelona were overwhelming favourites going by the form both teams were at the end of the first half. And the visitors dominated proceedings and deserved at least two goals as Bayern had Manuel Neuer to thank for making crucial saves. The veteran goalkeeper made one stop with his feet to deny Pedri and expertly prevented a close-range effort from Robert Lewandowski to keep his team in the contest.

Following Bayern’s underwhelming display in the first period, where they had no control of the ball in any parts of the field, Julian Nagelsmann made a game-changing substitution at half-time. The Bayern Munich boss brought on Leon Goretzka for Marcel Sabitzer, which instantly handed them control of the game.

The German midfielder’s presence allowed Bayern to gain more control of the midfield and push the ball ahead, meaning their attackers found more joy in the final third. The first goal came out of a corner as Lucas Hernandez headed the ball past marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Leroy Sane then doubled the lead after linking up well with Jamal Musiala and putting the ball past ter Stegen with a silky finish. Barcelona had their chances but could not force the issue against a more solidified Bayern side.

Xavi will rue the missed chances from the first half when his side dominated proceedings. However, Bayern are storming ahead with this group, while Barcelona may have to battle Inter Milan to finish in second place as things stand. Here are the player ratings as Bayern Munich beat Barcelona at home.

Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer: 8/10

Neuer was key to keeping the score level at the break after making two exceptional stops to deny Pedri and Robert Lewandowski in the first half. His control of the ball was brilliant and always allowed Bayern to have a last defensive wall to prevent any danger. He was largely relaxed in the second half, as his side contained any possible threat from Barcelona.

Benjamin Pavard: N/A

The right-back had a difficult first 20 minutes on the pitch and was removed with a thigh injury.

Dayot Upamecano: 7/10

Upmecano also played a crucial role in the first period after bailing out Neuer after a poor pass from the the Bayern Munich captain. Defensively, he was alert all game and sniffed several dangerous balls with timely interventions.

Lucas Hernandez: 7/10

Hernandez found it tough to contain the threat posed by the Barcelona attackers but made a telling contribution on the other end. The Frenchman rose highest to score the opener at the start of the second period and gave Bayern momentum in the game against the run of play.

Alphonso Davies: 7/10

Davies’s running ability with the ball caused all sorts of problems for Barcelona, but the opposition largely contained his threat. Yet, the Bayern left-back was a good outlet in a difficult first period for the Bavarians, who found it difficult to get out at the back.

Joshua Kimmich: 8/10

After a rather combative first period, where he was busy snapping into tackles and preventing danger, Kimmich came to control proceedings in the second half. He also provided the assist from a corner for Hernandez’s opener.

Marcel Sabitzer: 6/10

Sabitzer’s half-time substitution did not reflect poor performance; instead, it was a tactical change that worked in Bayern’s favour. The Austrian international was equally combative in the first half but could have done better with a few moments where he had control of the ball.

Jamal Musiala: 7/10

Musiala was active throughout the game and troubled Barcelona with his dribbling ability. He was instrumental in setting up Sane for the second strike and showed good presence in the latter half when Bayern were more in control.

Leroy Sane: 8/10

Sane was underwhelming in the first period when he failed to make more of the chances offered. However, his goal in the next period somewhat killed Barcelona’s chances and allowed Bayern to focus more on defending their lead.

Thomas Muller: 7/10

Muller initially struggled when deployed in a more advanced role but got his momentum back when he operated in his usual position in the second half. However, there were a few moments where he could have landed a killer blow, including a chance to make it three.

Sadio Mane: 6.5/10

Mane proved to be a good outlet for Bayern to hold possession in the final third, although he lacked the killer instinct in the box, which he is revered for. He did have one or two opportunities to score but failed to take his chances.

SUBSTITUTES

Noussair Mazraoui: 6.5/10

Mazraoui did well to deputise for Pavard early in the first half and did a solid job of preventing multiple attacks on his side of the wing.

Leon Goretzka: 8/10

Goretzka was not involved in either goal for Bayern, but it was a tactical masterclass from Nagelsmann to bring him on. The midfielder’s presence allowed Bayern more control of the game, giving them an impetus to attack more and eventually score the two goals.

Serge Gnabry: 5/10

An underwhelming cameo from Gnabry, although Bayern were more concerned with controlling the game than scoring at that stage.

Mathys Tel: N/A

Tel came on for Sane when Bayern were looking to see off the game rather than make more attacking plays.

Ryan Gravenberch: N/A

His presence allowed Bayern more impetus in defending the ball and controlling the outcome.

Barcelona

Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10

Ter Stegen should have done better for both Bayern goals. Getting beaten at the near post always puts the goalkeeper under scrutiny, while allowing Sane to roll the ball past him showed his awareness was questionable.

Jules Kounde: 5/10

Kounde was a solid presence at the back in the first period but did not offer anything in the final third. He felt underwhelmed by the presence of Mane and Davies in moments but overall had a poor game.

Ronald Araujo: 6/10

Araujo defended well but should have supported his side well for the second goal. Moreover, he failed to assert himself and push his team forward from the back.

Andreas Christensen: 4/10

Christensen was at fault for the second goal as Musiala and Sane ran through him to score. Like Araujo, he failed to hold a high line, which usually provides Barcelona with more control, while struggling to deal with Bayern when the opposition were in transition.

Marcos Alonso: 4.5/10

Alonso was at the near post, and it was his task to defend that area when Hernandez put Bayern ahead with a glancing header in the first half. But, overall, this is not a game to remember his fists start for Barcelona.

Gavi: 7/10

Gavi had a brilliant first period but faded away in the second half as Barcelona lost control of the game. However, when he was good, he proved a menace for Bayern and had one or two chances which he should have done better with.

Pedri: 7/10

Pedri is a joy to watch and proved his hype with a brilliant first-half performance. He saw a good chance hit the post and, for another, saw his powerful shot saved by Neuer’s legs.

Sergio Busquets: 5/10

As we mentioned after the Cadiz-Barcelona game, Busquets needs to assert himself more and show different energy to contain a team like Bayern. He was overpowered at times by the opposition and should have done better defensively in midfield as Sane and Musiala ran through to score the second.

Raphinha: 5.5/10

There were a few chances to produce good moments in the first half, but he could not make much of it. He dragged a few shots wide, but overall he was an energetic presence that Bayern found difficult to deal with at times.

Robert Lewandowski: 5/10

Barring the close-range effort Neuer saved, Lewandowski’s threat was contained by Bayern’s backline for most parts. This was not the homecoming he expected, but the home fans will be delighted with the outcome.

Ousmane Dembele: 5/10

A poor overall performance from Dembele, as whatever he tried did not work in Barcelona’s favour. However, surprisingly remained on the pitch as Xavi decided to take Raphinha out in the second period.

SUBSTITUTES

Frenkie de Jong: 5/10

De Jong gave Barcelona a new dimension since coming on by setting up a few chances and momentarily gaining control of the game in midfield. However, after that, he faded away as Bayern contained the game and saw off the result.

Ferran Torres: 5/10

Torres had one good chance to get a goal back but failed to take it and continued with his underwhelming displays for the team.

Eric Garcia: 5/10

Garcia replaced Christensen as Xavi looked to gain a foothold at the back, but nothing changed after he came on.

Ansu Fati: N/A

Fati was not impacted as he was sent on to get a sniff at goal late in the game.

Franck Kessie: N/A

He did not do much to get a rating.

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