FC Barcelona have been officially eliminated from the UEFA Champions League group stage. The Spanish side were bounced as a result of Inter Milan's 4-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen earlier on Wednesday, making it mathematically impossible for them to finish in the top two in Group C. Joined by Inter, Plzen and Bayern Munich, it's fair to say that Xavi's team were in the most challenging group, but at the same time it is a very disappointing day for the entire club. They've now been eliminated in the group stage in back-to-back seasons.
Barca won the first match of the competition at home against Viktoria Plzen, 5-1, and then lost two matches against Bayern Munich away and against Inter Milan at San Siro. Then, two weeks ago, the Spanish side drew 3-3 at home against Inter and gave the Nerazzurri the opportunity to qualify directly on Wednesday but then also lost 3-0 the match at the Camp Nou against Bayern Munich The club invested quite a lot in the summer and brought in players such as former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, but that was not enough with the team hampered by defensive injuries.
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FC Barcelona coach Xavi spoke after the match, saying that knowing they were eliminated already probably played a factor but wasn't using it as an excuse.
"It was a difficult game because we knew beforehand we were already out. But that's no excuse. Bayern were better than us [Wednesday]. Now we have to recharge because we're back at it on Saturday. It's tough, but we have to move on. I feel that we had the quality to progress, but we made too many mistakes.
"For the first time this season, I felt like we didn't compete at all. I think we were mentally affected by our elimination before the match. They overtook us completely. We're out because of our mistakes, nothing else."
"I am the main one responsible for the elimination. The truth is that this year, unlike the last, I felt like we had the squad to win this tournament. What happened is unacceptable."
The club will enter the Europa League in the knockout stage for finishing in third place in their UCL group.