They can’t cope with Europe’s best

Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller said Barcelona can’t cope with the intensity of Europe’s top sides after the five-time Champions League winners crashed out of the group stages following a 3-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena.

Muller opened the scoring, with Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala also on target, to condemn Barca to a place in the Europa League in the New Year.

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It’s the first time since 2003-04 that the Catalan club will not be in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

“We really tried to get the intensity into the game because I think we’re really massively different to Barcelona, at least in their current state, because of that intensity,” Muller told UEFA.com.

“I don’t think they can cope with that intensity. Technically they have it all and they have some really good players, there’s no question about that, but we can deliver this intensity both in possession and out of possession. I don’t think they can cope with the intensity in top-level football.”

Barca beat Bayern in the semifinal when they clinched their fourth Champions League trophy in nine years in 2015 but a steady decline, underpinned by a financial crisis, has set in since then.

Bayern, meanwhile, have become Barca’s bogey team, beating them 8-2 in the quarterfinal in 2020 and 3-0 in both group stage meetings this season.

“I think the difference was certainly very clear, especially in the second half,” Muller said. “We should have scored more goals, but we’re happy. Barcelona are still a big name in the football world, so to beat them 3-0 twice — in Barcelona and again at home — is still satisfying.”

Barca coach Xavi, who was taking charge of just his fifth game since replacing Ronald Koeman, said the loss exposed the “harsh reality” facing his side.

He said he was “angry” and “pissed off” to be dropping into the Europa League, but called on the defeat to represent the start of a new chapter at Camp Nou as Barca attempt to rebuild.

They travel to Osasuna on Sunday in LaLiga where they will look to get their season back on track. Last weekend’s loss to Real Betis left them seventh in the table, six points off a Champions League spot.