Bayern Munich face Barcelona on Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League group stage - the first time the sides have met since the German champions crushed the Catalans 8-2 just over a year ago.
Bayern had enjoyed themselves against Barcelona before, thumping them 7-0 on aggregate on the way to completing a Bundesliga, DFB Cup, and Champions League treble in 2012/13. A statement win in the 2019/20 quarter-finals seemed even more special, though, so bundesliga.com has taken a trip down memory lane…
Looking back on an incredible night at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon in August 2020, you could be forgiven for thinking that we should have seen this - or something like this - coming.
Watch: Bayern's sextuple-winning 2019/20 season
Bayern had, after all, advanced from the group stage with six wins from six and 24 goals, which included a 7-2 win at Tottenham and a 6-0 success on the road at Red Star Belgrade.
Albeit with six months between the two legs, Hansi Flick’s side had also swept past Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate in the last 16.
Bayern had scored 31 goals in eight Champions League games, with the 4-1 second-leg win over Chelsea coming less than a week before they took on Barcelona in the one-off quarter-final.
“They give us a headache in many ways - they’re the complete package,” Barcelona head coach Quique Setien warned before the game.
“This is an exceptional team,” he added. “They have a lot of quality and speed. They are a special team in attack.”
Barcelona had come through 4-2 on aggregate against Napoli in the round of 16 but clearly they knew that Bayern represented a step up in quality.
Bayern had returned after the coronavirus lockdown and picked up where they left off, extending their winning run to 18 consecutive matches across all competitions. Having had a month between games after wrapping up a league and cup double in July, Bayern were both rested and confident.
“The atmosphere in the team is excellent - in keeping with our winning streak,” Thomas Müller said at a press conference on the eve of the Barcelona game.
“We have confidence in our game but on the other hand it won’t be a walk in the park. Everyone knows what’s at stake. That’s why we’re looking forward to it so much.”
Müller and Bayern were three games away from being crowned European champions for the first time in eight years, and it took just three minutes for him to get their first goal of the night. The rejuvenated attacker worked a clever one-two with Robert Lewandowski to get into the penalty area, then placed a left-footed shot beyond Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
At least early on, though, it didn’t look like the German champions would have it all their own way. There were only seven minutes on the clock when David Alaba - in trying to cut out a cross intended for Luis Suarez - sliced an attempted clearance over Manuel Neuer and into the net.
Two minutes later Suarez was played in on goal but Neuer made himself big to deny the Uruguayan.
Both sides had further attacks but it’s easy to forget - given what was to follow - that Barcelona had another clear chance at 1-1. Lionel Messi glided past a couple of Bayern defenders and into the box but the Argentine’s shot was easily held by Neuer.
That was the cue for Bayern to be at their most ruthless. A minute after Messi’s chance Serge Gnabry set up Ivan Perisic on the left of the area, and the Croatian’s angled cross-shot was too hot to handle. Ter Stegen did brilliantly to deny Lewandowski soon afterwards but on 27 minutes it was 3-1 - Gnabry volleying home a delightful scooped pass from Leon Goretzka.
Ter Stegen then made another save from Lewandowski, but Müller showed his poacher’s instincts to get across his man and stab home a Joshua Kimmich cross from close range.
After 31 minutes, Bayern had already matched the scoreline from the Chelsea game in Munich a few days previously. The damage could have been a lot worse for the Catalans too, with Lewandowski having a goal chalked off for offside early in the second half.
Suarez replied on 57 minutes with a brilliant individual effort to make it a two-goal game, but that simply stirred Flick’s men back into action. A sensational bit of wing play from Alphonso Davies set up Bayern’s fifth goal - scored by Kimmich - after 63 minutes.
In the final 10 minutes Bayern rattled in three more. Philippe Coutinho - on loan at the German champions from Barcelona - had been sprung from the bench with 15 minutes to go. He set up one goal for Lewandowski before scoring the final two himself.
Long before the end Barcelona seemed shellshocked, simply blown away by the pace and power of Bayern’s attack.
Naturally a demolition of this type brought to mind another game that Müller had scored in: Germany’s 7-1 victory over host nation Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final.
But the Bayern attacker - who brought his career tally against Barcelona to six goals in five games - felt the performance in Portugal was even better.
"In the win in Brazil we didn't have the same amount of control,” he said afterwards. ”Yes, we were good [in the World Cup semi-final] but tonight the way we dominated the game was brutal."
Flick, too, was delighted with what he had witnessed. “I have to pay a huge compliment to the whole team,” he said. “The way the guys kept up the intensity over the whole 90 minutes was just top-notch. That’s our mentality - that’s what we stand for.”
“It’s just incredible,” added Kimmich. “You have to remember we won 8-2 against Barcelona - that’s difficult to understand.” The Bayern full-back also stressed, however, that Bayern were not finished their work.
Five days later Gnabry scored twice and Lewandowski once in a 3-0 semi-final victory over Lyon. And on 23 August 2020 Flick’s team finished what they had started. Kimmich set up Kingsley Coman for the only goal in the final against Paris Saint-Germain.
That win completed a treble that would later become a sextuple of trophies. It was rich reward for a stylish Bayern team who had shown against Barcelona how devastating they could be.