5 reasons why the Blaugrana have failed for the second season in a row

First published October 27, 2022, 2:58 PM IST

Barcelona were knocked out of the 2022-23 Champions League on Wednesday night after Inter Milan secured a dominating 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen at the San Siro. The Catalan club also suffered a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich, adding even more insult to injury. We look at seven reasons behind the La Liga giants’ latest disaster in Europe’s top competition:

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It was a night that Barcelona fans would long remember. For the second year in a row, the Catalan club suffered a shock exit from the 2022-23 Champions League and will now have to play in the Europa League. On Wednesday night, Inter Milan picked up a dominating 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen at the San Siro, leading to the La Liga giants’ exit from Europe’s elite football competitions. What added insult to injury was a shocking 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou.

Also read: ‘It’s a shame, but you can’t blame the players or the coach’ – Laporta on Barcelona’s UCL exit

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Last season’s shock could have been expected after the departure of legendary striker Lionel Messi and the economic crisis. However, given the team’s current situation, a Champions League exit in the group stage was not in the script. The Blaugrana board have signed several elite footballers including Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Kessie and Bellern. The Catalan club have done this by investing over €150m and building a competitive squad ready to compete for all the trophies which fans thought was possible after the team’s start to the season.

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A merciless draw in the 2022-23 Champions League

What led to this latest setback? There are many variables. Barcelona’s failure to participate in the Champions League and their subsequent elimination cannot be attributed to any factor. First, the draw was not favorable to them. They were assigned to the most difficult group. Regardless of opinions, he was the only one with three European champions. Inter Milan were the toughest opponents in pot three, and Bayern Munich were one of the favorites to win the competition.

Also read: UCL: ‘Pre-game elimination affected Barcelona psychologically’ – Xavi on Bayern hammering

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Barcelona of the new era still in the making

Despite the good progress of the first weeks, it is clear that the men of Xavi Hernandez are not yet at the level of the best Europeans. Given the signings noted above, it’s still in its infancy. When they played against Bayern in Munich, they didn’t have the killer instinct to score. They had the chance to score in the first half, but horrific mistakes allowed the Bavarians to take the lead in the second. The first three points are lost.

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Decisive arbitration

With this result and Bayern Munich’s win over Inter Milan, second place was virtually a straight draw in both games against the Italians. Here there were two elements. First, there was the poor refereeing in Milan, which undoubtedly hurt Barcelona. Although this is not an explanation, it contributes to it.

Watch: Laporta thanks fans for cheering the team on such a difficult day

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Defensive weakness

The game in which Barcelona had everything at stake was more worrying. They ruined their chances of qualifying in the clash against Inter Milan. The team’s defensive errors were befitting a club hoping to reach the Champions League semi-finals. The goals included individual errors and Barcelona lost their lead after Ousmane Dembele’s opener. As a result, the clash ended in a 3-3 draw.

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A campaign plagued by injuries

We cannot neglect the problem of injuries. For the games against Inter, Xavi Hernandez was missing Kounde, Araujo, Christensen and Bellerin. Too many people were absent for two crucial matches. Because of what we saw at Camp Nou against the Italians, they played a pivotal role. They wouldn’t have made so many mistakes if there weren’t so many absentees.

WATCH: Fans back Barcelona despite UCL exit

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All of these elements led to Barcelona’s elimination from the Champions League. A tough setback for a team that had hoped to rebuild this year, but things only seem to get worse with each passing year. Since the elimination of the Catalan club in the semi-finals against Liverpool in 2018/2019, the record is: Lost in the quarter-finals against Bayern (2019/2020), lost in the round of 16 against PSG (2020/2021) and the final two were eliminated from the group stage. There are two games left this season.

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In his post-match interview, Xavi was asked if the Blaugrana deserved to be knocked out of the competition: “I understand everything and our inability to be effective. It was cruel until the third goal We were on the level to deserve something more, but life goes on and I think we’re going to have to move on and only time will tell if Barcelona can regain their lost glory.