On Friday night in Lisbon, defeat was the more likely result for Barcelona against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final. That much was expected. The question many asked was whether Lionel Messi can inspire Barcelona to a surprise win. Sure, even a heavy defeat was predicted in some quarters.

But no one was prepared for what unfolded at Estadio da Luz.

Barcelona’s worst-ever defeat in Europe, an 8-2 mauling at the hands of the German side, is the kind of defeat that will be remembered for decades to come.

It will, in all likelihood, signal the end of Quique Setien as coach but it feels like the end of much more than that. Indeed, a second coach sacking in eight months would be the least of Barca’s worries says it all.

“The club needs changes,” said Gerard Pique. “Nobody is untouchable, least of all me. Fresh blood is needed to change this. We’ve hit rock bottom.”

‘Hard to comprehend’, ‘Rock bottom’: Who said what after Barcelona’s 8-2 UCL thrashing by Bayern

Bayern’s 8-2 massive win against Barcelona was the highest-scoring knockout game in the Uefa Champions League era but it fell just short of being the match with the most goals in the competition’s history.

According to Uefa, that honour goes to their domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund, who overcame Legia Warszawa 8-4 in a group game in November 2016. Monaco’s famous 8-3 triumph against Deportivo in 2003 takes second place with Bayern’s bonanza in Lisbon tonight sitting third.

The European governing body added that Feyenoord’s 12-2 success against KR Reykjavík in the 1969/70 first round is the highest-scoring game in the history of the European Cup while Sporting CP’s 16-1 humbling of APOEL in the European Cup Winners’ Cup second round first leg in January 1963 remains the game with most goals across all Uefa’s senior men’s club competitions.

UEFA Champions League's highest scoring matches

Total goals scored in a match Scoreline Season
12 Borussia Dortmund 8-4 Legia Warszawa 22/11/2016
11 Monaco FC 8-3 Deportivo La Coruña 05/11/2003
10 Barcelona 2-8 Bayern München 14/08/2020
9 Paris Saint-Germain 7-2 Rosenborg 24/10/2000
9 Lyon 7-2 Werder Bremen 08/03/2005
9 Villarreal 6-3 Aalborg 21/10/2008
9 Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern München 01/10/2019

In the process of completing their thumping win, Bayern Munich became the first team to score five or more goals against Barcelona in a single Champions League match in the competition’s history.

While it came as a bit of a surprise that Europe’s hottest striker at the moment managed just one goal in a game where his team scored eight, Robert Lewandowski did manage to create yet another milestone in a season filled with those. He became the first non-Real Madrid / Barcelona player to score 50 Champions League goals for a single club.

Most goals for a single club in UCL

Player Goals in UCL Team
Lionel Messi 114* Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo 105 Real Madrid
Raul 66 Real Madrid
Karim Benzema 52 Real Madrid
Robert Lewandowski 50* Bayern Munich
*As of 15 August 2020 (Via Squawka)

Messi had the third worst goals/assists per minute ratio in the UCL in his time at Barcelona (when playing more than six matches in a season). His total of three goals is the worst in his career in UCL since 2006-’07.

Lionel Messi in Champions League over the years

UCL season Barca's finish  Matches Goals   Assists Minutes  Mins per G/A
19/20 Quarter-Finals 8 3 4 661' 94
18/19 Semi-Finals 10 12 3 837' 56
17/18 Quarter-Finals 10 6 2 783' 98
16/17 Quarter-Finals 9 11 2 810' 62
15/16 Quarter-Finals 7 6 1 630' 90
14/15 Winner 13 10 5 1.146' 76
13/14 Quarter-Finals 7 8 - 630' 79
12/13 Semi-Finals 11 8 3 821' 75
11/12 Semi-Finals 11 14 7 990' 47
10/11 Winner 13 12 3 1.048' 70
09/10 Semi-Finals 11 8 - 986' 123
08/09 Winner 12 9 5 927' 66
07/08 Semi-Finals 9 6 2 726' 91
06/07 last 16 5 1 - 385' 385
05/06 Winner 6 1 2 322' 107
04/05 last 16 1 - - 90 N/A

Here are some more stats from the match that will be unforgettable, for good or bad reasons based on your loyalties, for years to come:

Once again, Lionel Messi was expected to win it alone, the Argentinian charged with somehow masking the failings of an entire club against the most formidable team in Europe.

It was a desperate hope, swiftly dashed by a ruthless Bayern side, whose demolition exposed Barcelona’s ageing team for what Messi had been saying all along: simply not good enough.

He said it in February and again in July, when a rant in the aftermath of handing Real Madrid the title turned into a brutal, but honest, assessment of their season.

Messi saw the fall coming but it was too late to do anything about it and the question now is whether he wants to be part of the process of recovery and renewal.

Most have assumed it would take something cataclysmic for Messi to leave but at an elite football club, what could be worse than this?

This was more painful than the capitulations against Roma and Liverpool, when carelessness and fragility deprived Barcelona of a genuine chance to lift the Champions League trophy.

But they were shocks because Barca were contenders. This time, nobody expected them to beat Bayern. Many expected a thrashing but few could have predicted the severity of it.

The humiliations started in the fourth minute and kept coming until the 89th.

They began even before kick-off when the starting line-ups were announced, with three Barca signings bought for more than 100 million euros each all sitting on the bench.

One of them, Philippe Coutinho, was on Bayern’s bench and he came on to score twice against his parent club, the first even seemingly with reluctance.

Brave decisions await

Messi, at 33, knows his end is near but he will choose when it comes. Others may not be so lucky, with Pique and Luis Suarez also 33 and Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba 31.

All of them have played a part in Barca’s golden era but that era feels a long time ago now and if this team is to regenerate, brave decisions will have to be made.

Frenkie de Jong, Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig are the future, smothered this season by the failures of those ahead of them and perhaps ready to be trusted to lead.

If it’s the end of an era for Barcelona, it is for Spain too. The national team may have long been overtaken but Messi kept Barca challenging while the Champions League became the kingdom of Real Madrid.

Not anymore, this the first year since 2007 that the semi-finals will be without a Spanish club, and the first since 2005 without either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Who will lead the Barca revolution remains to be seen, with Xavi Hernandez, Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman all sufficiently put off that they rejected the chance in January. Will they be any keener now?

Barcelona will not have the money to make big additions, meaning they may have to look within.

But that would be a long-term project, which the club cannot guarantee either given their presidential elections are due in 2021. A new regime could well bring a new coach too.

A year might even feel like a long time for the current president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who would not rule out the elections being brought forward on Friday.

“Today was a disaster,” he said. “Some decisions we had already thought to take and others we will think about in the next few days.”

Since 2014, Barcelona’s board have stumbled from blunder to blunder, all the while alienating the dressing room and driving this period of chaos and decline.

It began with Neymar leaving and never being replaced, the frantic attempts to bring him back then failing because the funds had been squandered elsewhere.

And it ended with a public humiliation that Messi saw coming. It had been coming for a long time.