Tuesday played host to a big game that pitted fellow European giants, Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona against each other at the Allianz Arena in a Champions League Group C match. A game that was sure to bring entertainment to the fans as it has done so in the past and it certainly lived up to its hype. Another big game of the evening was to be found at Anfield where Liverpool faced Ajax in their Group A clash and got back to winning, beating the Dutch side by 2 goals to 1.
The Spanish giants were going into this looking to snap a string of 4 straight defeats against the Bavarians and in the first 20 minutes it was looking very likely that they would be getting only their 3rd victory against the German champions. In that time Bayern Munich had to depend on their number 1, Manuel Neuer in goal to thwart Barca’s efforts, and he did exactly that saving efforts that were on target from Pedri and a close range header from former colleague Lewandowski. Barcelona had as many as 3 attempts at goal (2 on target) in the first 20 minutes but however they could not convert those glorious chances which could prove to come back to bite them.
Bayern Munich’s first real threatening attempt at goal came in the 30th minute when forward Marcel Sabitzer fired his shot just wide of Ter Stegen’s goal. The first half ended with the teams with their horns still locked, neither team had opened their account. It was Bayern Munich who started the second half on the front foot, Goretzka blasting the ball towards Ter Stegen who had to tip behind for a Munich corner, first attempt on target of the 2nd half in the 49th. From the resulting corner, Lucas Hernandez was able to nod the ball home and found the back of the net to give the Bundesliga giants the lead in the 50th minute.
It didn’t take long before we saw a second goal in the game, and once again it was Bayern’s ball that ended up in the back of the Catalan club’s net, just 4 minutes after Hernandez’s opening header. This time it was German international, Leroy Sane, who got the second. Jamal Musiala had done very well prior to receive a pass and drive at the defenders before laying it off for Sane, who put himself in good space, running towards Barca’s goalkeeper before ultimately dinking over the German goalkeeper. In just under 10 minutes of the second half it was 2-0 to Bayern Munich and they were on course to record their 9th win over Barcelona in 12 games. Barcelona would’ve gotten a consolation goal in the 62nd minute, if Pedri’s attempted close-range chip over Germany’s number 1, Manuel Neuer, found the back of the net instead of hitting the outside of the upright and rolling out of play.
Barcelona’s unwanted loss record against Bayern Munich continued at the Allianz Arena, and Lewandowski’s reunion with former could’ve been better. Bayern’s chemistry just proved to be difficult to handle for Barcelona, but manager Xavi has said he is proud of his team’s effort regardless of the result, and he felt they “were the better team” throughout the match. Bayern are still unbeaten in all competitions this season, and this was Barca’s first loss of the season. Bayern top the standings of Group C with 6 points and Barcelona are 2nd with 3 points.
Across Europe in England, Liverpool welcomed Ajax to Anfield and were looking to bounce back from a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Napoli in their first game of Group A. Mohamed Salah opened the scoring for The Reds’ inside 17 minutes, Mohammed Kudus equalised 10 minutes in the 27th minute to make it 1-1. There was to be drama at the end when Liverpool got their winner in the 89th minute through unlikely scorer and defender Joel Matip, registering their first three points of this Champions League campaign. Liverpool are now 2nd in Group with 3 points from 2 games and Ajax have slipped to 3rd, also with 3 points but an inferior head-to-head record against Liverpool.
The rest of the teams still to play their second rounds go at it today.