German champions Bayern Munich handed Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona their first defeat in the Catalan giant's post-Lionel Messi era when they defeated them 3-0 at Camp Nou in the Champions League opener on Tuesday, riding on Robert Lewandowski’s brace while Thomas Müller scored the other goal.
Müller's 34th-minute strike took his career tally to seven goals against Barcelona, including the two he netted in the 8-2 shellacking Bayern dealt Barcelona the last time they met in August 2020.
Barcelona started the game defensively in what seemed like a focus on protecting themselves from another embarrassing defeat without Messi to rely on as they had for years.
The final score hid the total dominance of the Bundesliga powerhouse. Julian Nagelsmann's team turned the once great attacking juggernaut of Barcelona into a jittery bunch hunkered down their own area.
Lewandowski turned Bayern's complete control into goals in the 56th and 85th, both times putting in rebounds from shots that came off the post to the striker.
Even its fans back at Camp Nou, which was at 40% capacity, for the first time in the Champions League since the start of the pandemic could not muster a better showing from the home squad.
Barcelona had two wins and a draw in its three previous matches, all in the Spanish league, that it had played this season after its wretched finances had kept it from resigning Messi.
In the other game, Serie A giants Juventus had the opposite fate as they won for the first time since their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo left them for Manchester United. The Old Lady defeated Malmo 3-0 in their Champions League opener.
Alex Sandro’s 23rd-minute opener was followed by goals in the space of 60 seconds by Paulo Dybala from the penalty spot and Alvaro Morata on the stroke of halftime in the south of Sweden.
(With AP inputs)