FC Barcelona saw its Champions League hopes die when Inter Milan defeated FC Viktoria Plzeň. Later, Bayern Munich grabbed his soul with a 3-0 drubbing.
It was not a banner day for the Catalans.
Barca fans must be confused about what is happening, but it was no easy task to be linked to Bayern Munich, who were clearly looking for a statement. Here are some fast hitters on the match:
The starting line-up offered few surprises. Thomas Müller and Benjamin Pavard didn’t start, but it was probably a wise move to alternate. Müller is recovering from both illness and injury, while Pavard can always use an off day to provide his own injury history. Both players also think they will play an important role for their respective countries during the World Cup, so I thought a little rest was okay. Noussair Mazraoui started for Pavard and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting started as a striker in a more traditional line-up for the Bavarians. Jamal Musiala came in at number 10 for Müller: FC Barcelona was in a difficult place. Once the players knew they had no chance of progressing, it must have been a huge mental disappointment. That said, I thought Barca came out focused at first and wanted to take out Bayern Munich, but the energy and focus waned pretty quickly. Like, very soon. How good was Matthijs de Ligt? Not only did he put up a hard fight with Robert Lewandowski, but he also managed to be (almost) unprovoked to make sloppy mistakes, lose discipline or fall into a trap. This has probably been De Ligt’s milestone for Bayern Munich so far. De Ligt’s partner-in-crime, Dayot Upamecano, was also very solid. Serge Gnabry also had a day with three assists. When Gnabry is on, he’s great to watch. Sadio Mane, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Pavard were the goalscorers and they were all very good, although Pavard’s performance was cut short. Alphonso Davies did a better job holding the ball and not losing possession, which is the growth step I like to see. Joshua Kimmich seems to really enjoy playing against FC Barcelona. I didn’t like Jamal Musiala. He wasn’t terrible or anything, just seemed a little crazy. It was great to see Sven Ulreich get a clean slate again. His second appearance at Bayern Munich was damn good. I wonder if Robert Lewandowski regrets his move? Sure he will (at some point) gain acclaim, but the transfer probably hasn’t made him much richer, hasn’t helped his Ballon d’Or status and probably won’t see him win much more than – maybe – a La Liga- crown (which is far from certain). I think the weather is nice. I don’t even hold a grudge or anything against Lewandowski. It was his right to move on, but from a competitive point of view it must be frustrating to have to match every day with a bunch of players who are supposed to be good instead of a group of teammates who are actually good. In general, it was a “take care of business” game for Bayern Munich and that’s exactly what they did. The squad’s mentality is on-point and while things haven’t always looked great this season, we’re starting to see this team have the ability to step up to live up to the expectations of playing in a selective match-up if this. Can they avoid being abandoned against lesser opponents? That is a question that we must consistently see answered in the future.
If you missed our first analysis, contest prizes, observations or postgame podcast, watch or listen:
Manchester City midfielder and Germany international İlkay Gundoğan could leave power in the Premier League after the season, even if Pep Guardiola wants to keep him close.
Bayern Munich, Juventus and FC Barcelona are all said to be interested in the 32-year-old star:
Ilkay Gundogan faces an uncertain future at Manchester City as his contract expires in 2023 and no new deal is on the way. The 32-year-old says he is willing to stay after the summer if he is given guarantees on playing time, but 90min’s Graeme Bailey says Bayern Munich are “considering a switch” if he doesn’t commit his future to City.
90min say City are keen to extend Gundogan’s deal, but Bayern will be an attractive proposition. The 32-year-old has not played in Germany for seven years but would like to become the Bundesliga champion once he is no longer a fixture in England. Bayern can also strike a pre-contract deal in January, so City are running out of time to tie him up.
Juventus and Barcelona have been linked with Gundogan and could also sign a deal in January to sign him for free next summer, so could this be the German midfielder’s last year at City?
Gündoğan is in an interesting position. He clearly has enough to offer to be a starter somewhere if he so chooses, but perhaps at this stage in his career he likes the comfort – and money – of an extended stay at City rather than a move.
Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo may be open to another round of Serie A adventures.
Cristiano Ronaldo is open to a return to Italy with Napoli after being rejected by a string of Premier League clubs. Cristiano Ronaldo’s exile from Manchester United continues on Thursday for the clash with Sheriff Tiraspol unless he shows some remorse and agrees to abide by Erik ten Hag’s rules.
I’m not a big fan of Ronaldo, but if Napoli want him, Manchester United have to find a way to make it happen.
In this episode of BPW’s flagship show, Tom and Schnitzel discuss:
Choupo-Moting’s good form Choupo’s presence makes Bayern more tactically flexible (playing WITH a striker) Should the board grant Choupo a one-year extension at some point A lack of finishing from our attackers (Sadio Mane, Serge Gnabry) Potential at Juventus’ Dušan Vlahović this winter Are there any players hesitant to avoid pre-World Cup injury? Which players will Nagelsmann turn to with rotations he must make for this final hinrunde trajectory? Will Nagelsmann pick more non-World Cup players (Choupo, Sabitzer, Tel, etc)? How we feel about our upcoming Champions League clash against Barcelona (round 2!)
Real Madrid could seriously be considered a move for Tottenham Hotspur star Heung-Min Son:
Real Madrid are interested in Heung-Min Son, who is preparing for the next step in his career after shooting world class at Tottenham Hotspur in recent seasons.
Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan N’Dicka gets interest from Tottenham, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Arsenal FC:
Frenchman Evan N’Dicka’s good performances since the start of the season have not gone unnoticed in the Premier League. According to The Sun, at least four major teams in the tournament have already expressed interest in hiring the Eintracht Frankfurt defender today.
That quartet would be made up of Tottenham, Manchester United, Newcastle and an Arsenal that the newspaper already reports are the main favorites to take over their services. The Gunners have failed in their attempt to recruit other players like Lisandro Martínez or Calvin Bassey and have already decided to focus their efforts on the former Auxerre player.
N’Dicka has been better this season, but his play as a defender is too erratic for my taste. If Eintracht Frankfurt can get him a good deal, they should take it.