The numbers sound scary. Worst start to the season since 1994, most goals conceded in the league, only eight shots in the last four away games, since seasonally eight away games without a win. And no less significant: after five games, FC Barcelona have lost twice as many times as they have in the last two seasons after 38 games.
Barça has had to survive some of the Champions League crises, most recently following the 0-0 draw in the last semi-final at Liverpool. But you can hardly remember a league crisis. Eight of the past eleven championships have won the Catalans, the other three times they were second. Now they let themselves be shown by followers of the championship. Defeat in Bilbao, draw with newcomer Osasuna, last defeat at promoted Granada: Such a series indicates that there is more to it than just partial dropouts with which the European Cup disappointments always explained. In Barcelona, fundamental questions arise.
They start, no surprise, with the coach. "Completely overrun by the events and unable to correct a team that yields to sluggishness," Ernesto Valverde is convicted in the club-near newspaper "Sport". Irritated, the observers register that after the "unforgivable" ("El País") appearance in Granada, the normal rut returned.
90 minutes of disclosure
In the newly promoted with 35.46 million euros salary (Barça: 671.43 million) Barça had recorded after residue with the first attack, no real chance to score. 90 minutes of disclosure. Valverde took the blame, but otherwise? Same training as always, same explanations as always. His steady hand, celebrated in great times as great strength, is now directed against him. The problem: The numbers sound bad, but the game is even worse.
Albert Gea REUTERS
Ernesto Valverde is massively in the Krktik
Before it returns today against Villarreal in the native Camp Nou, which proved so far as crisis-immune (10: 4 goals in two games), summed up an Internet meme the Endzeit mood. You can see Johan Cruyff and next to him the basic sketch of a house. Frank Rijkaard and the shell. Pep Guardiola and the finished skyscraper. Valverde and the demolition excavator.
Barça has been getting more and more common for years. Designed by Cruyff and developed by Guardiola to perfection, the passport and style is still an artifact at best. Until the traumatic 0: 4 of Liverpool that could mask an intact competitive spirit and the exploits of Lionel Messi. But Klopp's blueprint - speed, rhythm, intensity - has since reached even less talented teams for surprisingly dominant games against a team without a game idea.
if senor Valverde has a conscience, he must leave. pic.twitter.com/cZWxH39IYa- Ooops! (@OoopsHead) September 21, 2019
Neither the old nor a new one: Valverde has demoted Ivan Rakitic, who is not even in the squad against Villarreal, and also counts Sergio Busquets, but that only makes it worse. "We have become a team without a soul," "As" quotes an unnamed leader.
Praetorian Guard around Lionel Messi
Despite Liverpool and the subsequently lost Cup final against Valencia Valverde was allowed to keep the job in the summer. A sovereign won championship, the Placet of the cabin and probably the quasi non-existent preparation for the season with trips to Japan and the USA were the decisive factor for continuity. The necessary impulses for reform should instead be provided by the additions Antoine Griezmann (120 million euros from Atlético Madrid) and Frenkie de Jong (75 million, Ajax Amsterdam). This was much in the face of a well-established praetorian guard around Messi, who showed in her pining for ex-colleague Neymar that she lives more in the past than in the future. The summer theater for the Brazilian has taken Griezmann and de Jong much of their possible radiance. At the moment, they are more in danger of being swept away in the whirlpool of apathy.
John McDougall AFP
Does Antoine Griezmann prevail?
Where de Jong is still counted alongside the 16-year-old Fati and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to the positive appearances of the season start, exists the supposed dream assault trio of Messi, Luis Suárez and Griezmann so far only as much cited acronym (MSG). Until last week Messi was missing injured, sure, and Griezmann has not yet found his place in the new team.
But because almost everything seems bleak at the moment, so too are the MSG forecasts. Messi should not be able to forgive so quickly that Griezmann overshadowed in the summer of 2018 flattering calls of the captain, when he decided for the time being to stay with Atlético. Spitz was noted in the game reports from Granada, that he looked after his substitution significantly more Fati on the left wing than Griezmann on the right.
On Monday evening Messi was awarded the Fifa Prize "The Best". "We have to react immediately," he said about the Barça crisis. Since 2015, the first World Player Award has motivated him once again to pull the cart out of the mud and give the savior from Getafe to San Sebastián - even though he is particularly interested in the Champions League?
On Messi, again, must also Valverde hope, which protects otherwise almost only the story. Barça likes to boast of special loyalty to his coaches. Since Louis van Gaal in the season 2002/2003 no one has been thrown out in running time.