FC Bayern Matthijs de Ligt celebrations

Rock-solid defence - De Ligt and Co shine in Barcelona

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Matthijs de Ligt had carefully sharpened his senses before the Champions League clash at FC Barcelona. "It's a game where you need maximum concentration," said the FC Bayern centre-back at the press conference prior to the clash with the Catalans. De Ligt and his supporting cast duly delivered! In their characteristically determined fashion, the Munich back line stood firm against Barça's renowned attack spearheaded by former Bayern man Robert Lewandowski.

In the end, the 3-0 away win at Camp Nou not only secured top spot in the group with a game to spare, but also yielded a fourth clean sheet in five Champions League matches this season. It sent a clear signal to the Reds' rivals. "It was important, also as a marker internally and externally," declared coach Julian Nagelsmann.

De Ligt, who was voted Man of the Match thanks to a courageous performance in the centre of defence, offered his analysis after the final whistle: "The team did very well today. Against Barça you have to play very aggressively, with great intensity."

Bayern brought this aggression and focus to the contest in outstanding fashion. The men from Munich won 61 percent of the challenges - this, combined with outstanding shot efficiency, was the key to victory against Barcelona.

Bayern's strong tackling coupled with an irrepressible desire to block and deflect every attempted shot from the Catalans ensured Barcelona failed to direct a single effort on Sven Ulreich's goal. "The intensity was brilliant, we were very aggressive in every challenge," said Nagelsmann. "We've made very good progress. The focus and aggression in our defensive tackles was perfect. Preventing even one shot on target in Barcelona really is great." The 35-year-old also handed out special praise: "In Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano, we currently have two very strong centre-backs. They defend very aggressively. The other guys were also brilliant today."

Benjamin Pavard celebrations
Benjamin Pavard rounded off the scoring with the 3rd goal

The icing on the cake of an outstanding performance by the Munich defence was Benjamin Pavard's added-time strike to bring up the final 3-0 scoreline. It was the Frenchman's first-ever Champions League goal.

In the last four competitive matches, Bayern have now kept a clean sheet three times, and want to build on that in the five remaining fixtures before the winter break. The aim next Saturday is to take the next step towards the top of the table with a home Bundesliga win against FSV Mainz 05 - ideally with another rock-solid defensive performance like the one in Barcelona.

All you need to know about a memorable evening in Barcelona:


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