Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League following a 3-0 defeat at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, failing to make it past the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2000/01 season.
First-half goals from Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane put the Germans, who won all six matches to top Group E, firmly in the driving seat before Jamal Musiala tapped in the third just past the hour.
Barcelona had advanced to at least the round of 16 every time they competed in the Champions League since 2001 but will continue in the second-tier Europa League after ending up third in the group. Benfica qualified as group runners-up with a win over bottom club Dynamo Kyiv.
Barca, who did not make a single chance in the second half and scored just twice in six group games, have lost their last two matches in all competitions following new coach Xavi’s first defeat in charge of the side by Real Betis on Saturday.
“Bayern were better, superior,” Xavi said. “This is the harsh reality we have to face. I have told players that this is a turning-point. Today a new era begins and we have to take Barca where it deserves which is not the Europa League.
“I am frustrated because this is our reality. We start from scratch and we have to get Barca back to fighting for the Champions League. I now feel responsible. Now we have to go out and win the Europa League.”
Despite having secured top spot in the group, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann fielded his strongest possible team, refusing to rest top players after they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
The German champions had been struggling defensively, keeping just one clean sheet in their last eight matches prior to Wednesday.
Jordi Alba tested Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer with a long-range effort in the seventh minute and Ousmane Dembele fired over the bar as the Spaniards initially pressed high. But that was all that was to come from the Barca attack for the rest of the game as the Germans gradually took control.
A scintillating Muller run down the left caught Barca napping but his cutback came just too late for Robert Lewandowski who failed to tap in from a metre.
The roles were reversed with Lewandowski chipping the ball into the box and Muller heading in his 50th Champions League goal in the 34th minute, becoming only the eighth player in Champions League history to reach that mark.
Bayern scored again before the break with a Sane missile from 25 metres out. Barcelona, who needed a win to advance, failed to carve out a chance in the second half before Musiala’s 62nd minute tap-in sealed their exit.
Group G: Lille seal top spot in style
Lille reached the knockout stage of the Champions League for the second time when they claimed an emphatic 3-1 win at Wolfsburg and top spot in Group G.
The French champions needed a draw to advance but they played with ambition to end up with 11 points from six games, one ahead of Red Bull Salzburg with goals by Burak Yilmaz, Jonathan David and Angel Gomes.
Wolfsburg, who scored a consolation goal through Renato Steffen, finished bottom of the group on five points and are eliminated from all European competitions.
The German side barely threatened while Lille, who have had a see-saw Ligue 1 season, made the most of their chances in front of barely 6,000 fans.
Noah Okafor scored the only goal of the game as Salzburg claimed a 1-0 victory over 10-man Sevilla at the Red Bull Arena to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history.
Salzburg finish as runners-up in Group G with 10 points from their six matches, one behind Lille. Sevilla end in third place and will play in the Europa League play-off round.
The first half had little goalmouth action but the game burst into life after the break as Salzburg were helped by a second yellow card for Sevilla’s key midfielder Joan Jordan on 65 minutes.
The match was played behind closed doors without fans due to heightened COVID-19 restrictions in Austria, so the hosts were unable to celebrate their historic achievement with their supporters.
Group H: Chelsea funk continues as Juve snatch top spot
Magomed Ozdoev’s stoppage-time thunderbolt consigned a patched-up Chelsea to a 3-3 draw at Zenit St Petersburg and second place in Champions League Group H.
Timo Werner thought he had settled the argument with a smart, late second goal in the closing stages, only for Ozdoev to lash home a half-volley from the edge of the area at the death.
Juventus‘ 1-0 win over Malmo secured top spot for the Italians, leaving defending champions Chelsea sweating on a potentially-tougher draw in the last-16 knockout stage.
Werner laid on a tap-in for fit-again Romelu Lukaku in an industrious night in Russia, but Thomas Tuchel’s men were unable to shake off a host of injury issues on their travels.
Claudinho and Sardar Azmoun plundered two quick goals to cancel out Werner’s second-minute opener.
While the draw hardly represents major damage, taskmaster boss Tuchel will doubtless be frustrated by another below-par showing from a Chelsea side in the middle of a minor funk.
A much-changed Juventus, already assured of their place in the knockout stages, raced into an 18th-minute lead when Moise Kean headed his first Champions League goal from an inch-perfect Federico Bernardeschi cross – and it proved enough.
Group F: Second string United held by Young Boys
A second-string Manchester United drew 1-1 with Switzerland’s Young Boys in Champions League Group F at Old Trafford.
United were already assured of top spot in the group and a place in the last 16 while Young Boys finish bottom and are eliminated.
Interim United manager Ralf Rangnick made 11 changes from the team which beat Crystal Palace on Sunday and his makeshift side made an ideal start when Mason Greenwood’s super volley in the ninth minute put them ahead.
Young Boys drew level three minutes before the interval when United’s Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek gave away the ball on the edge of his own box and Fabian Rieder curled it into the corner.
Atalanta‘s decisive final Champions League group match against Villarreal was postponed due to heavy snow.
The winner of the Group F clash in northern Italy would be assured of a spot in the Champions League knockout stages, but the two sides will have to wait to find out their fate after English referee Anthony Taylor called off the match.
Groundstaff had done everything they could to get the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia pitch ready, painting the touchlines red to increase their visibility, and play was initially delayed as snow was cleared.
Players were ready, pitchside, in their kits, but the snow kept falling, persuading the English officials to make their decision.
Atalanta said on social media that the game would now take place on Thursday, with UEFA yet to determine a kick-off time.
When is the draw for the last 16?
The Champions League last-16 draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday, December 13.
The last-16 ties will be split across different weeks, with the first legs taking place on February 15-16 and February 22-23.
The second legs are then on March 8-9 and March 15-16.