Julian Nagelsmann vowed to enjoy Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win at Barcelona with “a couple of drinks” while pointing out how obviously the hosts miss Lionel Messi.
Argentinian great Messi played 149 Champions League games for Barcelona, scoring 120 goals and getting 35 assists, but his move to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in August left a void.
Without him, Barcelona offered little to move forward and failed to shoot on goal, the first time they have posed such a mild threat in a Champions League game since at least 2003-04, Opta said.
When they were defeated 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals 13 months ago, Barcelona scored at least five shots on goal, with Messi hitting two.
“At different times, Lionel Messi would have helped in special things,” said Bayern coach Nagelsmann. “It is obvious that a great player has left the club, but they are still a very strong team.
“We played a strong defense. We also changed towards the second half and in the second half we certainly had better control and built better chances. We certainly had the space to have more opportunities ”.
Thomas Muller gave Bayern a half-time lead and Robert Lewandowski took a brace after the break to cruise to victory for the German champions.
3 – Barcelona have lost three consecutive home games in European competition for the first time in their history (0-3 against Juventus, 1-4 against Paris Saint-Germain and 0-3 against Bayern Munich). Shock. pic.twitter.com/L93fCNE0dZ
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 14, 2021
Nagelsmann arrived from Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig in the tight season as Hansi Flick’s successor and relished the moment of victory, which he had planned to enjoy for the rest of the evening.
He described it as “a great start” and said Bayern would push to be “one of the best contenders” to be champions.
“I didn’t ask the hotel if they have the proper glasses, but we will enjoy this victory with a couple of drinks,” he said.
Winning the first match in the Champions League is always important, especially in a new club.
Asked about the evergreen prowess of veterans Muller and Lewandowski, Nagelsmann said: “I’m super happy to have these world stars on my team. It’s great to work with them.
“Thomas is like a co-coach who knows a lot about football and tries to pass those experiences on to other players.”
Lewandowski has scored in his last 18 appearances for Bayern, scoring 29 goals in a series that dates back to February in all competitions.
In the past three seasons since the start of the 2019–20 season, Lewandowski has scored 113 goals in 93 appearances for Bayern – 36 more than any other player in the big five European leagues during that period (Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo with 76 goals each. ).
He said Lewandowski “just doesn’t stop”.
“And there is a precise reason why he scores so many goals,” said Nagelsmann. “His whole life is geared towards being a professional athlete and you can see that on the pitch.”