Barcelona started their Champions League campaign on Wednesday on a bright note. Los Blaugrana came up against perhaps the weakest opposition in the competition and got an expected result. Barcelona hammered the hapless Viktoria Plzen.
The Catalans have spent a lot on building their squad this season. No matter how much they decorate it, the pressure of Real Madrid’s successes forced Barcelona to make several financial decisions that are still under scrutiny. Los Blaugrana sold portions of several of its assets to allow them to compete today.
Viktoria Plzen stood no chance against the Spanish giants. Their hosts showed no mercy and were ruthless in dealing with them. Barcelona climbed the top of their group table with an easy 5-1 win over the Danish side. While the Catalan giants were expectedly in cruise control, the real test will begin in the next round of matches.
Lewandowski scores a hattrick in Viktoria demolition
It was a case of David and Goliath, except that this time around, David was a philistine. Against Barcelona, Viktoria Plzen stood no chance with the odds heavily stacked against them. The Denmark side knew it was a massive challenge before them as they walked into the Nou Camp. They knew it would take a miracle to get anything out of the game. Perhaps a goal against Barcelona should count as an achievement.
Barcelona won the game 5-1, with Robert Lewandowski bagging a hattrick on his Champions League debut for Barcelona. A game against a more worthy opponent would show the credentials of the Catalan side, as even at their worst, Barcelona would still have beaten Viktoria Plzen.
With a game against Bayern Munich next week on the cards, Lewandowski helped himself to a hattrick. The Polish striker got his goal in the 34th minute after receiving a pass from Sergi Roberto inside the box. The former Bayern striker put it beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
He made it a brace inside the first half of added time when he nodded an Ousmane Dembele cross beyond goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek. Lewandowski completed his hat trick in the 67th minute.
An easy night for Barcelona and stiffer tests ahead
Viktoria Plzen was all over the place as Barcelona tore them apart. The side from Denmark knew it was going to be a long night when Pernica received a yellow card in the fourth minute, and Franck Kessie got the opener in the 13th minute. Lewandowski followed the first goal with a hat trick. Ferran Torres put the icing on the cake in the 71st minute.
Barcelona are trying to avoid the embarrassment of last season when they crashed out of the Champions League and were also humiliated in the Europa League. There is more pressure on Barcelona following the successes of Real Madrid. The Catalan giants take on Bayern Munich next week with memories of the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of the Germans still fresh.
Xavi Hernandez will now march his victorious side to Cadiz as they prepare for the trip to Bayern on Tuesday. The game against Bayern Munich would give a proper inkling into the shape and character of this new Barcelona side.
Barcelona currently sit second on the La Liga table, two points behind league leaders Real Madrid.