The normally pedestrian fixture between Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen suddenly became one of global appeal yesterday.
Tuning in were thousands of Barcelona supporters and of course, their ill-wishers. The Blaugrana were wishing upon a star and hoping for a miracle from the Czech outfit. Sadly, it was not to be.
Inter all but confirmed Barcelona’s demotion to the Europa League in the first half itself, and further cemented it in the second.
Minutes later, Xavi’s men walked out in front of a packed Camp Nou, facing off against their newfound nemesis in Bayern Munich. With nothing to play for but pride, Barca pressed hard from the first whistle.
Unfortunately, all the effort eventually went in vain.
Despite having occasional joys on the offensive, the Barcelona defense crumbled in front of Bayern’s rapid counters. Within the first 10 minutes, one such counter resulted in the opener, with Sadio Mane applying the finishing touches.
Near the half-hour mark, Eric Chupo-Moting added another. And Serge Gnabry almost made 3 before halftime, if not for an intervention by VAR.
Nevertheless, a third did indeed arrive for the Bavarians, albeit in the final minute of the game. The final score read 3-0, and once again, it displayed the massive gulf between Barcelona and Bayern, one which has persisted for the past 3 years.
Among the standouts for the German Heavyweights was Joshua Kimmich. The midfield general was imperious on the night and delivered a commanding performance, creating the most chances (4) for his side, and even providing the most recoveries (13).
Unfortunately, post-match discussions surrounding the player weren’t for his performance, as one of his gestures after full-time caught the attention of fans.
In an image that did the rounds online, the 27-year-old looked to be mimicking a pair of binoculars using his hands.
Fans online felt like the gesture was an attempt at mocking Barcelona midfielder Pedri, who usually celebrates in a similar fashion.
However, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests that those claims are unfounded, including this image from 2019 which displays Kimmich doing the celebration long before Pedri.
Aside from this, fans online suggested that the gesture was a nod to the traveling Bayern fans, who were seated far away from the pitch, and in the topmost stand at Camp Nou.
The celebration also happens to be a fairly popular one, so it’s likely that there was no wrong intent from Kimmich.