Barcelona seemed to be on top of the world after their famous 0-4 Classico win in Bernabeu. Everyone would put their money on Barcelona being back by then. A team, unbeaten for 12 matches, was worth the gamble.
Fast Forward three weeks, the scenario is different. While Barcelona’s streak in La Liga continues, they are knocked out of the Europa League. That is also by Eintracht Frankfurt who currently sitting at the 9th position in the Bundesliga table, on their home turf.
The sudden setback raises doubts over Barcelona’s rebuilding process. It is also bringing up questions like - were Barcelona being too much hyped? or, were the good results just flukes?
Those questions might not necessarily be true because everyone saw the changing dynamics of Barcelona in those games. Then what’s going wrong?
Well, if we look closely, we will see that nothing has actually changed. Or nothing big has happened which has not been happening over the years.
Barcelona struggled against Sevilla, struggled against Levante away and then they drew at Frankfurt which was pretty normal as Barcelona usually has a poor record in Europe away from home, more so against German opponents.
Also, these matches were being played in a cluster, right after an international break. And Barcelona’s tale of losing rhythm after an international break goes a long way.
The most recent example comes from the last season when they were well competing to win the La Liga. But then an international break happened and Barcelona lost 4 of 7 games afterwards, being 3rd at the end.
Nevertheless, the loss at Camp Nou against Frankfurt was not something anyone expected. Going 3-0 down within an hour of the game is not a familiar scenario, at least not in Camp Nou.
The problem lies in the team’s mentality that cannot be fixed overnight. This Barcelona team consists of so many young players who are too young for certain circumstances. They show a lack of exposure to intense pressing, which is an issue supposed to fade away with age. In this case, experience comes in handy but that side of Barcelona is more flawed.
The senior players of Barcelona - Pique, Busquets, Alba and even Aubameyang in this regard, have suffered crumbling defeats on European stages in the recent past.
Pique, Busquests and Alba witnessed each of Barcelona's humiliations over the years. In fact, they were the main protagonists in those humiliations at times.
As a result, they are simply not used to standing still on these big nights. They lack mental resilience. These situations now seem to affect them like a trauma that haunts them every time they face someone from outside Spain.
These flaws resulted in Barcelona not being at their normal against intense pressing or quick transitions, some of their old enemies.
Xavi needs to find a formula to get mentally competent seniors and blend them with this talented pool of youngsters to revamp this team.