Lakers' Talen Horton-Tucker Enters COVID-19 Logs, Training Canceled

Lakers abandons training Tuesday after the Shooting Guard entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols (Author: Gardener)

Talen Horton-Tucker EntersThe Lakers canceled training Tuesday after shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the team said. The Lakers canceled training Tuesday after shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the team said. Other members of the Lakers have been instructed to run two tests - a rapid test and a PCR - before boarding their flight to Dallas that afternoon if they get negative results, according to ESPN. At 4:30 p.m., the Lakers meet the Mavericks. Wednesday in the first of three games Roadtrip. Since returning from a thumb injury that delayed the start of the season, Horton-Tucker, a 21-year-old in his third season, has started 12 of his 15 games this season, averaging 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2, 9 assists and 1.3 steals in 28.8 minutes per game. Tuesday's canceled practice session marks the first known practice session for the Lakers this season, despite the team looking into the logs when LeBron James took a brief break from the team after a positive test result. When further tests gave negative results several times, he was allowed to become active again. On Monday, the Chicago Bulls announced that two games had been postponed, and their next game against the Lakers on Sunday appeared to be in jeopardy even before LA abandoned practice as the NBA postponed the start time to 5 p.m. from 12:30 p.m. Before the season, the general manager of the Lakers, Rob Pelinka, said that the team is expected to be 100% vaccinated on the opening night.


Lakers have reportedly discussed trading with Russell Westbrook internally, but that doesn't make a deal likely

Doing business with Russell Westbrook would not be easy, and perhaps not even wise (Author: Gardener)

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook fitted in questionably with the Los Angeles Lakers from the moment he was acquired prior to the 2021 NBA draft, and so far those concerns have been reasonably justified this season, given a disappointing 15-13 start. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Lakers had internal discussions about the Westbrook trade because it was a bad match for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook would have to participate in such a deal for financial reasons. Westbrook owes $ 91 million this season and next, and there are very few players in all of basketball that could be used to cover salaries on such a deal. Most players who could be in the air as superstars would never want to trade their teams for 33-year-old and seemingly in decline, Westbrook. It should also be noted that James and Davis both wanted the Westbrook trade and may not be thrilled to see it dealt with, even if it is in the team's best interests. Westbrook has had a season of ups and downs in Los Angeles, and he's far from guilty of his team's struggles. His defensive performance was disappointing all season, especially when he joined a team with as strong a defensive culture as the Lakers had in recent years. He hasn't grown as much as the Lakers probably hoped, and despite some early success as a ball screener for James, this isn't a job Westbrook took on either. Westbrook has fought both successfully and as he has generally done and fought throughout his career. That makes Westbrook a somewhat unfair scapegoat for the Lakers. His limitations as a player were evident from the moment they traded for him, yet they built a roster that made little sense around him. They refused to pay Alex Caruso despite knowing Westbrook's defensive weaknesses. Despite Westbrook's heavily used style, they loaded ball-handling guards with their back-of-roster spots. Even if Westbrook failed with the Lakers, the Lakers failed him as well. It should also be noted that Westbrook has improved significantly over the course of the season. He shoots a career high of 52.9 percent in corner 3s, and if anything stays near that number, Westbrook may at least have a way to split the floor for James and Davis. These are reasons not to trade with Westbrook, but the most important one is common sense. The Lakers functionally swapped five key players to get Westbrook: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell in the deal itself, as well as Caruso and Dennis Schroder as free agents, whom they did not want to keep at least partially due to the Westbrook deal. It's absolutely impossible to turn Westbrook into five valuable players in the middle of the season. The idea that they could somehow swap it and revert to their previous, defensive style of play is just fictitious. In reality, they would trade Westbrook for an inferior version of last year's team that probably wouldn't be good enough to win this year's championship. As flawed as Westbrook is, the Lakers have subscribed to that three-star style. Their only hope of saving the season, aside from a very surprising return in a possible Westbrook trade, is to put together the best possible team around Westbrook themselves. It offers something that the players who gave up the Lakers don't have and this is their only way forward as going back is not a realistic option. The Lakers made their bed when they were trading for Westbrook. That could mean making a meaningful trade elsewhere on the list, but in all likelihood Westbrook will stay. For better or worse, there is just no realistic way of trading it in for something that will make the Lakers a better basketball team.


Bayern Munich eliminated Barcelona

Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala each led to FC Bayern Munich's 3-0 victory over Barcelona and beat Spanish La Liga out of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League football tournament. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaDecember 9 (UPI) - Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala each led to Bayern Munich's 3-0 win against Barcelona and beat Spanish La Liga out of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League football tournament. The group stage shutout took place in Munich on Wednesday. Barcelona failed to make it to the last 16 of the tournament for the first time since 2004, Lionel Messi's first season with the team. "It just clicks against Barca," Müller told reporters. "When you play against Barca, who always push you up and try to put you under pressure, there is room for our broad players. Sometimes the timing of the passes and the runs were not ideal. Müller scored the first in the 34th minute of the group Blood." E-match in the Allianz Arena. Striker Robert Lewandowski stormed down the left flank to score the goal. He received a long through pass and dribbled around a defender as he reached the box. He finished the game with a short chip towards the long post. Müller ran into the penalty area and headed the feed over the goal line. Midfielder Kingsley Coman dribbled about 40 yards from goal and sent a short pass to Sane on his left to set up the result. Sane took a touch inside and fired a 30-yard shot. The powerful attempt curved from right to left and beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 43rd minute. Musiala scored the last goal in the 62nd minute. Defender Alphonso Davies got a long pass on the left flank and dribbled into the box to start this sequence. Davies insisted on to his right just as he reached the end line. The short feed found Musiala, who ended the game with a one-touch shot into the net at the far post. Bayern won Group E with a perfect 6-0 record and a 22-3 goal differential. Barcelona finished third in the group with two wins, three losses and one draw. "We have to start a new stage in the history of Barcelona," Barcelona coach Xavi told reporters. Bayern will host Mainz in a German Bundesliga game on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EST in the Allianz Arena. The German squad will determine the next Champions League opponent in the round of 16 draw on Monday in Nyon, Switzerland.


Barcelona can't deal with Europe's best

Thomas Müller said Barcelona couldn't cope with the intensity of Europe's top teams after they were eliminated from the Champions League group stage. (Author: Gardener)

EuropeAlejandro Moreno sounds like Barcelona left the UCL group stage for the first time since the 2000 season. Alejandro Moreno sounds like Barcelona left the UCL group stage for the first time since the 2000 season. Thomas Müller of FC Bayern Munich said Barcelona could not deal with the intensity of the top European teams after the five-time Champions League winner fell from the group stage after a 3-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena. Muller opened the gate, with Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala also on target to try and sentenced Barca to a Europa League spot in the new year. It is the first time since 2003/04 that the Catalan club did not make the knockout stage of the Champions League. "We really tried to bring the intensity into the game because I think that this intensity makes us really different from Barcelona, ​​at least in our current form," Muller told "I don't think they can handle this intensity. I don't think they can handle the intensity in top football." Barca beat Bayern in the semifinals when they won their fourth Champions League trophy in nine years in 2015, but a steady decline has set in since then, underpinned by a financial crisis. Bayern are now Barca's bogey team and defeated them 8-2 in the quarter-finals in 2020 and 3-0 in both group phases this season. "I think the difference was certainly very clear, especially in the second half," said Müller. Barca coach Xavi, who has only directed his fifth game since he was replaced by Ronald Koeman, said the defeat showed his side's "harsh reality". He said he was "angry" and "pissed" about relegation to the Europa League but called for defeat as the start of a new chapter at Camp Nou as Barca try to rebuild. They travel to Osasuna for LaLiga on Sunday, where they will try to get their season going again. Last weekend's loss to Real Betis put them seventh in the table, six points behind a place in the Champions League.


Barcelona have got used to humiliating departures but this could be the worst

Leaving the Champions League with two goals scored shows the extent of an unstoppable decline and a long way ahead of us (Author: Gardener)

Barcelonathere were barely eight hours until kick-off and Joan Laporta had come from Munich Cathedral. “You have to have trust,” he said as he walked into the Käfer Restaurant and out of the snow, but belief alone is not enough. And although they had always suspected it, it still hurt when the inevitable happened. As it turned out, they are a team that can no longer compete with the best. "This is our reality and it really annoys me," said Xavi Hernández. Your obituary feels like a football obituary that has been written many times, a chronicle that is predicted if it is not always heeded and not always ended. Every episode emerges from the last, The End not actually the end, falling further and further: Former coach Ernesto Valverde refers to how "the disaster of the previous year 2019 returned" at Anfield Road and presents a list of five years of the Champions League Elimination in the crescendo: Barcelona were beaten 3-0 in Turin, 3-0 in Rome, 4-0 in Liverpool, 8-2 against Bayern Munich and 4-1 against Paris Saint Germain. This differs in that it is not a moment of breakdown - neither was it, not completely - and possibly not as immediately traumatic as it is hope that kills you and that beneath the superficial optimism there wasn't too much of it. But it "hurt", said Sergio Busquets, and it doesn't go away. Ronald Araújo called it a shame and it could be the worst possible elimination, the final point in a relentless regression. For the first time in 20 years, Barcelona failed to qualify for the Champions League group stage. They were beaten twice by Bayern, each time 3-0 and without the German club turning the screw. "If we had put pressure on, we could have scored more goals," said Julian Nagelsmann, a little apologetically. "It was fun," said Leroy Sané, which seemed to say a lot. "It was a big lead and could have been bigger," admitted Araújo. Laporta said the players gave "everything they had and more". When they were beaten in the first game against Bayern and lined up in a formation that only aimed to limit the damage, then coach Ronald Koeman had spoken of realism. He insisted that the line had been taken out of context, he was referring to those absent - Ansu Fati, Sergio Agüero, Ousmane Dembélé - but it stuck, a verdict on the whole matter. His successor, Xavi, had deliberately tried to break away from this discourse and instead offered optimism; also offers another approach that has been projected as a search for lost identity but has not had time to take shape and may not have the materials to do it fully. "This is our reality and we must face it with dignity," he said. It's not just, or not even, that Barcelona have been beaten twice by Bayern. It can happen. The fact is that they have been beaten so comfortably that, according to Xavi, they failed to run, that they conceded six goals and scored no goal, and that they failed to get out of a group that included Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv that it's 20 years since they left so early. This is a result of another time, another reality. Over the past decade, Barcelona have scored 11, 16, 15, 15, 20, nine, 14, nine and 16 goals in the group stage. This time they have scored two goals. 27 more players scored and three times as many goals came from players who didn't even try to score. Own goals were more common than their own. The 27 include Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, both of whom lost for free, a crisis with very real, tangible consequences. Messi has five this season, Griezmann has four. Messi scored 38 goals last season, including 219 in five years. What remains, to put it in Piqué's words, is what is out there and who they are, a gradual downsizing of a team that was once great. From their reality. So also the team list, which contains expensive and unproductive players who they cannot afford, but also significant talent and an up-and-coming generation that inspires: If their strongest team is not so good, it shouldn't be so bad either. Analysis was offered by their opponents - Thomas Muller said Barcelona have the technique but not the intensity to play at the highest level; Nagelsmann noted "a mountain of debt that is pulling you [down]" - and there are several elements in the equation, even though finances are at the center. "We got ourselves into this mess," said Busquets. We all know the situation in the club. ”This is a club that is slowly breaking from the top, the previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu is building a portfolio of failures that could fill many pages, the new government is inheriting a profound crisis on almost all levels that just got deeper. A crisis that, with all the doubts about how the new regime will deal with it, or with all the optimism on the other side, is no easy solution. With everything that Xavi brings with clear ideas, credibility and a deepened determination and competence to act on Wednesday night, there is a long way to go. Barcelona had budgeted for promotion to the Champions League: missing the last 16 costs 9.6 million euros, missing the quarters another 10.6 million euros, money they can't afford to lose. Even if they won the Europa League, it would only be worth € 14.9 million. Aside from the fact that Xavi said they need to bring the club back to its rightful place, "and this is not the Europa League," aside from debates about whether the jump to the continent's second competition might be good for them and theirs best chance of returning to the Champions League, who said this team would win it? There are already three better teams in the competition - and only from Spain. "A new era begins here," said Xavi. What it holds, who knows, but here, too, an old one finally ended, if it wasn't already like that.


Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League after losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich

With a 3-0 home win over Barcelona on Wednesday in the Allianz Arena, FC Bayern Munich concluded its group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Thomas Müller,... (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaWith a 3-0 home win over Barcelona on Wednesday in the Allianz Arena, FC Bayern Munich concluded its group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Thomas Müller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala all met to give the German club three points. In Group E, Bayern had already taken first place with their first five wins. Barcelona, ​​on the other hand, had a narrow two-point lead over Benfica, so anything but a win opened the door for the Portuguese club to catapult themselves into second place. With Benfica's 2-0 win over Dynamo Kiev, Barca failed to qualify for the knockout round for the first time since 2003/04. Neither Bayern nor Barcelona were on the scorers list when Roman Yaremchuk and Gilberto gave Benfica a 2-0 lead. It didn't get much better for Barca in the 31st minute as Jordi Alba was eliminated due to injury. Shortly afterwards, Müller brought Bayern into the lead. It wasn't a goal against the course of the game as Barcelona chased a large part of Bayern in the first 30 minutes. Bavaria's advancement felt inevitable. Sane doubled Bayern Munich's lead in the 43rd minute in a moment that made it clear Wednesday just wasn't Barcelona night. Sane's shot had a combination of power and movement that made it a little difficult to chase, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen's attempt to make the save was surprisingly weak. A comeback looked unlikely with Barcelona just two goals behind them. Musiala put the final nail in the coffin in the 62nd minute when it hit at close range. Sixteen points separate LaLiga leaders Real Madrid from Barca in seventh place. At this level, however, the 41-year-old remains unproven and there is only so much he can do to address the longstanding problems at Camp Nou. On the other hand, FC Bayern has shown why it is one of the strongest contenders in the Champions League field. That was a comprehensive achievement by the nine-time reigning Bundesliga champions. It was impressive that Bayern did not show their full capacity, but kept control almost every 90 minutes. The German giant will be a seeded team thanks to the group win. With third place, Barcelona falls into the Europa League.


Barcelona exit, Tom Savages Man United debut, Salzburg reach the round of 16

You may have missed that from Wednesday's promotion (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaIt was an eventful night of Champions League action when the last matchday was extended due to snow and RB Salzburg reached the round of 16 for the first time. Heavy snowfall meant that the crucial Group F game between Atalanta and Villarreal in Bergamo was postponed to 1pm on Thursday. ET, on Paramount +. The game was originally only postponed by 20 minutes, but the storm-like conditions at the Stadio di Bergamo made a start impossible. Villarreal only need a draw to advance while Atalanta win the game or settle for a knockout playoff in the Europa League. However, after a 1-1 draw for the Youngs Boys at Manchester United, they are guaranteed third place. Manchester United had won Group F before their last game, but it was still a special night for Charlie Savage and Tom Heaton. The 18-year-old Savage made his United debut when he was substituted on. Heaton also made his United debut, making history in the process. At 35 years and 237 days, he was the oldest Englishman to make his UCL debut since Arsenal's John Lukic in October 2000 (39 years 311 days). Heaton actually waited 16 years to play for the first team after not getting a game in his first term for the club between 2005 and 2010. Xavi failed to lead Barcelona to the Champions League round of 16 as they missed qualifying for the first time since 2000. Thomas Müller kicked off with FC Bayern Munich's outstanding 3-0 win at Allianz. Müller is only the eighth player to have scored more than 50 Champions League goals, making him the first German. Barcelona have now conceded an alarming 17 goals in their last four meetings with Bayern. Xavi told CBS Sports that the club is going through "a period of reflection," but emphasized that he hopes for a new and brighter era soon to come. Salzburg are the first Austrian team to move into the knockout round of the Champions League after a 1-0 win over Sevilla and trigger emotional full-time scenes. Matthias Jaissle's team secured second place in Group G thanks to Noah Okafor's goal just before half-time in a game started by American Brenden Aaronson. Benfica also qualified, overtaking Barcelona after a routine 2-0 win over Dynamo Kiev. Timo Werner became Chelsea's fastest Champions League goalscorer of all time. The German took just 83 seconds to put his team in the lead at Zenit, beating the 86 seconds it took John Terry in November 2014 to score a 3-2 lead against Schalke after Christian Pulisic took Werner had assisted his second. But Magomed Ozdoyev's spectacular stoppage-time goal ensured that a pulsating duel ended all in all and prevented Chelsea from taking the top spot in Group H. The defending champions finish second behind Juventus, who beat Malmö 1-0. Moise Kean scored his first UCL goal, then hit the Griddy to celebrate.


Barca's new MVP in the group stage

What is the Dream Round of 16 Duel? Does the Champions League have to change? (Author: Gardener)

BarcaAlejandro Moreno sounds like Barcelona's elimination from the UCL group stage for the first time since the 2000 season. With the sixth day of the Champions League, the group stage came to an end. Three teams - Ajax, Bayern Munich and Liverpool - qualified for the knockout stage on a 100 percent record, while Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United ensured that the Premier League was fully represented in the round of 16. Big clubs had it on theirs Way: Barcelona will join Borussia Dortmund in the final stages of the Europa League, while AC Milan occupy the bottom of the group. We asked Gab Marcotti, James Olley, and Alex Kirkland to answer some of the big questions emerging from this week's games. Marcotti: Porto vs. Atletico Madrid was obviously an old-school exchange, right down to the brawls and late goals. I also found it strange that without playing RB Leipzig beat Manchester City (who also had nothing on the line but Pep Guardiola brought out a good team). Liverpool have shown that energy and fresh legs (as Jürgen Klopp said) can count more than quality when the attitude and motivation are right. Olley: Thomas Tuchel gets angry. The eleven months he was in charge of Chelsea were almost undiluted success, but after a sticky spot in the league, he had to watch his side take the top spot in Group H when Zenit St. Petersburg died in the 94th minute gave up on Wednesday. First place is never a guarantee of an easy round of 16 tie, but Tuchel lamented the blues' negligence in "the details" lately and this is another example. Kirkland: Barcelona eliminated the group stage for the first time in 21 years. Yes, it felt inevitable - they would never go to Munich and win even if Bayern were through and the game was played behind closed doors - but the nature of the 3-0 loss was another reminder of how far it went Barca fell. Winning the Europa League would be a start, but let's not rush ahead: this Barca team may not even be favorites for this competition. - When does the UCL round of 16 draw take place? - Karlsen: Champions League outbreak XI Marcotti: Sebastien Haller. Ah. Not only did he score one goal in every round - a total of 10 goals, including four in a game at Sporting CP - he also helped Ajax win six in six games to top the group. Kirkland: It's hard to look beyond Haller, who scored in all six Ajax group games when he made his debut in the competition - an achievement only Cristiano Ronaldo had before. Otherwise there are the usual suspects like Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and Mohamed Salah from Liverpool FC. Real Madrid's success in the group stage was more collective than individual. Olley: Haller is the obvious candidate. The Manchester United star - who is number 2 of the world's best strikers in ESPN's FC 100 for 2021 - went single-handedly into the knockout phase and scored three times against Atalanta when United gave the Italians four points when they didn't deserve any. He even helped caretaker boss Michael Carrick get off to a successful start in Villarreal. He will turn 37 before the round of 16 and there is almost constant danger that United will overwhelm him, but Ronaldo remains the man for the big occasion. Kirkland: The climax of this group stage was really exciting as big names like Barcelona, ​​Dortmund, Milan and Seville were eliminated and it felt like there were only a few games where nothing was going to happen. Games that Super League supporters would love to never experience caused real shocks: Young Boys beat Manchester United or Sheriff Tiraspol won at the Bernabeu in September. But it's also true that the nature of the group stage format means these surprises tend not to matter - United and Madrid were both at the top of their groups. What is absolutely not considered an improvement is the catastrophic reform that UEFA intends to implement in 2024, which will abolish the group stage in favor of a "Swiss model league", which means even less drama. Marcotti: Well, the format will change anyway since we are switching to the "Swiss model". Personally, I found things fine with the group-to-knockout format. Yes, in the end there are some games with no consequences. But just think how many of these we have each week in national leagues across Europe. In any case, the Super League was never so much about format as it was about cost control, financial redistribution and access. Olley: The current format is probably the most bloated version of the Champions League that there can be, while still maintaining a sufficiently competitive element. It's not ideal, but it looks better than the upcoming "Swiss model". And at least the surprising results from Sheriff, Young Boys and others only underscore the flawed arrogance of the biggest clubs trying to close the European Super League. Marcotti: Real Madrid vs. And I would be happy if Salzburg's offspring play against old master Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United. Olley: Real against PSG would be brilliant, of course, but what about Chelsea against Julien Nagelsmann, Chelsea back at Bayern in the stadium where they beat them 10 years earlier to win the whole thing. Kirkland: Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain please: it could be called the 'Kylian Mbappe derby' and it would be a chance to see what Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid is made of. If not, I'll take Madrid vs.


Barca's Xavi "angry" after UCL departure to Bayern

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez wants the club's premature exit in the Champions League to serve as a turning point and the beginning of a new era for the club. (Author: Gardener)

BarcaAlejandro Moreno sounds like Barcelona left the UCL group stage for the first time since the 2000 season. Alejandro Moreno sounds like Barcelona left the UCL group stage for the first time since the 2000 season. Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez wants the early exit of the club from the Champions League serves as a turning point and the beginning of a new era at Camp Nou. Goals from Thomas Müller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala earned Bayern Munich a 3-0 win at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday and sentenced Barca to a place in the Europa League in the new year. - Marsden: Barca's defeat shows how far Xavi has to go - Champions League round of 16 draw: setting, date, details It is the first time since Barca played in the UEFA League since 2003/04 that the Catalan club have not been in the Knockout round of the Champions League, a competition they have won five times. Xavi, who took over from Ronald Koeman as coach in November, admitted that the defeat in Munich was a wake-up call to the extent of the task ahead. "Bayern dominated us," he said. We are Barca. This has to be a turning point to change the dynamics and more. “This is the Champions League, but that is also our reality. That's the reality and it pisses me off. ”Today begins a new era. We're starting from scratch. Our goal is the Champions League, not the Europa League, but that's our reality now and we have to try to win it. "Xavi's return as coach to Barcelona started with two wins and one draw, but the defeat against Bayern followed a 1-0 home win against Real Betis in LaLiga at the weekend, leaving Barca seventh in the table. "I saw how tough the reality is," added Xavi. Bayern are better Reality. We're going to work hard and do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen again. "We have to start bringing Barca back to where they belong, which is not in the Europa League. It's a blow to me as a coach too. Us will work hard to bring Barca back but of course we have a lot to change. " Barca have fallen sharply since they last won the Champions League in 2015. Bayern have now beaten them 8-2, 3-0 and 3-0 in their three encounters in the last 16 months. "I don't think Barca can handle the intensity," said Bayern midfielder Müller, who scored the goal on Wednesday. Muller opened in the 34th minute with Sane adding second place in a one-sided distance fight just before the break. Musiala scored the third goal in the second half after a good job by Alphonso Davies. Bayern had already booked their place in the round of 16 as group winners, but the win ensures that they go through for the second time with a 100 percent record. They will be supported by Benfica in the knockout round, which will take place on Wednesday Dynamo Kiev defeated 2-0, moving up to second place in Group E ahead of Barca.


Barcelona crash out of the Champions League after losing to Bayern and play in the Europa League for the first time in 17 years

Barcelona failed to make it into the top two of a Champions League group stage for the first time since 2000 (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaFor the first time in 20 years, FC Barcelona failed to make it through the group stage of the Champions League Kiev, Barcelona had to go to Munich to claim a win against a team that has thoroughly destroyed them in recent years and they failed to come once close to a competition. Bayern led 2-0 at the break and the 3-0 overall was generous as Bayern dominated both the ball and the chances. Thomas Muller scored the winning goal in the 34th minute after a goal confirmed by goal-line technology, before Leroy Sane scored a wonder just before half-time from 30 meters away. Jamal Musiala made it 3-0 on the hour and slammed the door on an unlikely comeback the Spanish team had in mind. The win meant nothing to Bayern, they had already secured first place in Group E, while Benfica qualified second for the knockout phase. Barca will continue their European journey in the Europa League, a competition they have not participated in since 2004 when it was called the UEFA Cup. Do you want more of the Champions League? This was Xavi's second UCL game to be in charge as Barca coach and it's not his fault. Barca may have the name but obviously not the game. This is a club in full rebuilding mode that has been aiming to achieve a certain level of proficiency since Lionel Messi left. Of course, for that they would have to win the Europa League, and at this rate they won't get out of the round of 32. The team got stuck in first gear and recorded an xG of only 0.38 after seven shots. But the fans have to be patient, because Xavi did not have the opportunity to shape the club he wanted. This team is light years behind the old Barcelona teams, but patience is required. I started the day thinking that Barca might stand a chance if Julian Nagelsmann decides to rest his big guns and play some backups. Bayern wanted to punish Barca, and Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane and Thomas Müller were in the starting XI. It wasn't a full-fledged team, but it was one with a few backups that was still many times ahead of their opponent. And from the first whistle, Barca had absolutely no chance of a draw, let alone a win. Barca are fragile, soft and need proper guidance and guidance to rebuild what they hope Joan Laporta can. Now they are ruthless, out for annihilation and don't care who is on the square at the end of the mighty punishment. Before Manchester City, Liverpool and PSG, Bayern Munich have established themselves as the clear favorites to win this competition, which would be the second European championship in the last three seasons if they can do it. There is incredible depth everywhere, they have the best pure striker in the game in Lewandowski and they embody consistency with a goal difference of +19, far better than any other team in the competition. But first of all we have to see on Monday how they go with the draw. While first place is exactly what they wanted, they have the potential to draw against the following teams in the round of 16: they will be in each of the favorites but want to avoid PSG, Atletico and Chelsea with RB Salzburg and Spring Lisbon is likely their preferred opponents.