Barcelona’s European journey in the 2021-22 season has ended at the quarterfinal stage of the Europa League thanks to a 3-2 loss to Eintracht Frankurt in the second leg at Camp Nou on Thursday. Barça played poorly from start to finish and were well beaten by an excellent Frankfurt side, and the Blaugrana’s best shot at a trophy in Xavi Hernández’s first season is gone in painful fashion.
The game started very badly for Barça as Eric García gave away a silly penalty by bringing down Lindstrom inside the box after just three minutes, and Filip Kostic stepped up the spot and scored Frankfurt’s opener.
The German side had a dream start and proved themselves almost impossible to break down, with well-organized defending and great pressing. Barça showed good intensity and movement up front but still never offered a real threat, and the visitors remained comfortable in their shape.
And to make matters worse, Rafael Borré scored an absolute screamer with a rocket from 30 yards into the top corner, and Frankfurt doubled their lead 10 minutes before halftime. That goal stunned Barça, who looked desperate and out of ideas as the half ended.
With 45 minutes left in their European season Barça needed a miracle in the second half, while Frankfurt were very close to the biggest win in club history.
The second half was a disaster: Barça continued to show no threat with the ball and were even more open at the back, and Frankfurt dealt the final blow: Kostic received the ball inside the box and scored his trademark goal with a powerful low shot with his left foot across the goal and into the bottom corner, and Eintracht had a three-goal lead to seal the deal.
The last 30 minutes were about Barça showing some fight and dignity, and they certainly tried to go forward and look for a goal or two. They got one thanks to a Sergio Busquets tap-in, but the captain was offside and the goal was ruled out by VAR to add insult to injury. Busquets was not going to be denied, however, and scored a beauty from outside the box to make the score less ugly. There was still time for a second when Memphis Depay scored a penalty in the 11th minute of injury time, but that was the last kick of the game.
The final whistle came to end Barça’s European adventure this season, and now it is all about the eight remaining games in La Liga to clinch a place in the Champions League next season. That was the main goal for this campaign anyway, but tonight takes away Barça’s best chance to win a title. And Pedri is injured. A night to forget indeed.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (Dest 61’), Araujo, Eric (L. De Jong 70’), Alba; Pedri (F. De Jong 46’), Busquets, Gavi; Dembélé, Aubameyang (Adama 61’), Ferran (Memphis 80’)
Goals: Busquets (90+1’), Memphis (pen 90+11’)
Frankfurt: Trapp; Touré (Hasebe 90+9’), Hinteregger, Ndicka; Knauff (Chandler 90+9’), Rode (Hrustic 80’), Jakic, Kostic; Lindstrom (Hauge 80’), Borré (Ache 90’), Kamada
Goals: Kostic (pen 4’, 67’), Borré (36’)
Red Card: Ndicka (90+10’)