In the end, Bayern Munich freewheeled to a conclusion that was formulated well before a ball had been kicked at Camp Nou.
It took around 15 minutes of their meeting to agree with that line of thought, which became more concrete as the clock ticked on. Every danger move on Tuesday night was designed by Bayern, every disappointing offensive phase belonged to Barca.
The Bundesliga club had scored through Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski twice, but the scoreline did not reflect the full story of their dominance in a match that was decorated by 18-year-old Jamal Musiala.
Despite possessing 11 European Cups between them, the fixture had the feel of a heavyweight hardly getting out of gear to get past a minnow.
Der Spiegel, the German publication, dubbed Barca “shrunken giants” ahead of the Group E game and there was no counter to that description. The Catalans were utterly anaemic in possession and did not manage a single shot on target.
Bayern had more efforts from inside the box than their opponents had mustered in total. This was one-sided and this was very much as predicted.
Despite Barca swatting away such talk in the build-up, there was obviously a large swathe of apprehension for the hosts heading into this encounter.
There was no Leo Messi, no Luis Suarez, and no Antoine Griezmann, but the tormenting memories of an 8-2 bludgeoning at the hands of Bayern last August still coloured the air.
Barca’s nightmare came in the quarter-final of this competition and it would be surprising if Ronald Koeman’s team in transition reach that far this time around.
They had played like a side consigned to defeat from kick off. That fate was never likely to be any different once Muller’s shot from just outside the box deflected in off Eric Garcia.
From that point on, it boiled down to how many Bayern would score and Barca are fortunate the answer was only three.
The impressive Musiala struck the post before the hour-mark with a delightful hit and the deadly Lewandowski thumped in an awkward bouncing ball.
Serge Gnabry was next to find the woodwork in the closing minutes and the world’s premier striker again closed in.
Lewandowski scored Champions League goal number 22 in his last 17 appearances, which wrapped up the game for Bayern and added weight to Barca’s “shrunken giants” status.