The 3-0 defeat at Camp Nou left Xavi’s team with just four points from five Group C games, six points behind second-placed Inter, sealing their relegation to the Europa League.
It is the second season in a row that five-time champion Barcelona has failed to qualify for the Champions League last-16, having previously done so for 17 consecutive seasons.
This time, however, it could be far more disastrous.
Barcelona spent more than £130 million on new players in the summer, including £40 million for Robert Lewandowski, and their budget for the season accounted for a run to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Barcelona’s humiliating exit from the competition elicited an outraged response from Spain’s sports media, with Catalan daily Sport calling it a “complete failure.”
The 3-0 loss against Bayern Munich, in which Barcelona failed to register a single shot on target, is described as “the saddest game” on their top page. Winning the Europa League “is absolutely no consolation to anyone,” writes journalist Sergi Capdevila.
The words ‘ciao’ and ‘kaput’ appear on the front page of Mundo Deportivo, above a photograph of Sergio Busquets kneeling on the pitch with his head down, and describe Barcelona as “victims of their own ineffectiveness.”
“For now,” writes Joan Poqui in his match report from Camp Nou, “Barcelona’s return to European greatness is a dream.” Columnist Santi Nolla, meanwhile, writes: “It is simply a failure.”
Joan Laporta, the club’s returning president, “needed to succeed quickly”, adds Nolla.
“He used the sale of assets to form a squad that could get through the group stage. He was not asked to win the Champions League, but certainly to reach the next phase.
“They can still win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League, but the great dream has vanished. Barcelona is not ready to compete with the big teams in Europe.”
On its front page, L’Esportiu uses the word “penance” to describe Barcelona as “impotent and incapable of competing with Europe’s top.”
Meanwhile, the Madrid-based AS characterises the evening’s events as a “night of fear,” referring to Barcelona’s loss as well as that of Atletico Madrid, who also went out with a 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen in which they missed a penalty deep in stoppage time.
“A nightmare with no end,” writes journalist Santi Gimenez, describing Barcelona’s exit as a “total failure” which ranks as the club’s worst “for a quarter of a century”.