German champions Bayern Munich utterly humiliated Barcelona with an extraordinary 8-2 demolition job on Friday that sent them through into the semifinals of the Champions League.
Thomas Mueller scored twice for a rampant Bayern, who led 4-1 after 31 minutes, as Lionel Messi's team were condemned to a thrashing that felt like the end of an era for the Catalan club.
"We feel devastated, although shame is the real word I'm looking for," said Barca defender Gerard Pique, adding that the historic defeat called for urgent changes across the club. "We need to take stock and changes are needed at the club. I'm not talking about the players or the coaching staff, but something more structural. We have to change the direction we've been headed in for a number of years now. We've hit rock bottom."
Piqué was not alone in his take on Barça's predicament. The Blaugrana's major dressing-room figures are fully on board with his comments, including a suggestion that some of the team's old guard may need to be sacrificed and fresh blood brought in.
"Nobody is untouchable. If new blood has to come and change this dynamic, I will be the first to pack up and leave," Pique added.
The players were swift to assume their own culpability for their mauling by Bayern, acknowledging that they were outplayed and outfought, but they also believe that years of erratic off-the-field decision-making led to the humiliation. They feel they weren't well prepared enough tactically, and were undermined by what is an unbalanced squad.
Pique and others also expect club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, to be brave enough to do what is best for Barcelona and call elections -- which are due to take place in summer 2021 -- ahead of schedule. Spanish radio station Cadena COPE has reported that Lionel Messi has demanded that elections be called; otherwise, he will not renew his contract in 2021, his camp says.
Barca coach Quique Setien, who is unlikely to survive the inquest, called it "a tremendously painful defeat".
Bayern coach Hansi Flick hailed an "outstanding" display from his side but stressed that they were firmly focused on the semifinal, which will be against Manchester City or Olympique Lyonnais.
Mueller added: "We had so much fun today. Of course, Barcelona are special, so we had to be even more aggressive and come back again and again. You can imagine we feel good after this match but we have to be quiet and regenerate."
The scoreline recalled Germany's 7-1 semifinal win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, a game where Flick was on the bench as the national team's assistant coach. Now, Flick warned that his players would let their stunning win sink in for a day but if they are to win the title they still need to work hard.
"You know that I do not look back because only the here and now matters," Flick said when asked about comparisons to Germany's 2014 win. "Yes, we played an outstanding game and we can be happy but we all know we still have hard work to do if we are to stand in the end where we want to stand," he added.
"We know how quickly it can happen in football. We must recharge from tomorrow for the semifinals," Flick said.
"It is a win and we wanted to reach semifinals. OK, it is impressive, we set a small marker but the experienced players know that the next game awaits and we will need the same performance. Let it sink in, analyse and then prepare for the semifinal," Flick said.