New club, same Lewandowski: Barcelona winners, losers and ratings as ex-Bayern star hits hat-trick vs Viktoria Plzen

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If anyone had any doubts about Lewandowski's move to the Blaugrana - which they shouldn't have given his entire career - those are quickly fading now.

The Polish star was spectacular in his first Champions League game since making the move from Bayern Munich, scoring a hat-trick to lead Barcelona past Viktoria Plzen.

He was joined on the scoresheet by another new signing, Franck Kessie, as well as Ferran Torres, who came off the bench to provide a goal and an assist.

Yes, it was Viktoria Plzen, certainly no match for Barcelona, but what a performance it was from the Catalan side, led by their star striker.

Xavi's team will be so difficult to stop when he's in this mood.

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    The Winners

    Robert Lewandowski:

    No matter what shirt he's wearing, Lewandowski gets his goals.

    He delivered three of them in this one, his first Champions League finishes since making the move to Barcelona. The first was a lovely one, a perfectly-place finish into the bottom corner. The second? A header on the back post thanks to the work of Ousmane Dembele (more on him later). And then a third in the second half, another absolute missile of a finish.

    This is what Lewandowski does. He scores and scores, then scores some more. It's why Barcelona brought him into the club, and why there is reason for optimism about their chances in this competition.

    Ousmane Dembele:

    Now that's a £100 million player right there!

    Dembele is finally looking like the player Barcelona thought they bought from Borussia Dortmund, with the second half of last season showing the level he can reach when healthy.

    On Wednesday, it wasn't the £100 million talent, but the £100 million effort that shined through. Barcelona's third goal was all Dembele, as he made a tackle, recovered the ball, dribbled to the line and played an absolute peach of a cross straight onto the head of Lewandowski.

    What a sequence from Dembele, and what a player Barcelona have on their hands.

    Ferran Torres:

    Talk about taking your chance...

    Inserted into the game in the second half, Torres made his presence felt immediately, assisting Lewandowski's hat-trick goal. Moments later, he had a goal of his own, a lovely volleyed finish to make it five for Barca.

    In a crowded Barcelona attack that includes the likes of Dembele, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Raphinha, every moment matters and every showing could be the difference between starting or sitting the next game.

    Torres made the most of his moment, perhaps earning more time going forward.

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    The Losers

    Ansu Fati:

    Fati is a young player who still has plenty of growing to do. That was on full display as he made his first start in quite some time.

    The young winger was the weakest of the front three, although that's to be expected considering the level that Lewandowski and Dembele are playing at. He was active, sure, but Fati was also wasteful, squandering several chances with poor shots.

    He wasn't bad, but in a performance this complete from most of those around him, he stood out.

    With Fati, things will take time, given his layoff and age. Are Barcelona patient enough to give it to him given the embarrassment of riches in the attack? Time will tell.

    There's a hell of a player somewhere in there; he just wasn't quite there today.

    Inter:

    Bayern are Bayern, so you know they won't slip up. And, knowing that, the race in this group always looked like it would be for second.

    Barcelona's new-look squad vs. Inter's Serie A champions. That was the expected battle.

    If Wednesday was any indication, Barcelona will feel good about their chances.

    As Inter were thoroughly beaten by Bayern in a 2-0 defeat, Barcelona ran rampant. They now have three points and six goals on Inter in the goal difference column, giving them a massive advantage.

    There are plenty of twists and turns to come, but Inter will have work to do after checking the Barcelona score.

    The doubters:

    "I want you to put the word out there that we back up."

    It may be a BIT too soon to coronate Barcelona, especially since they just beat a team from the Czech Republic. But given what Barcelona fans have had to watch the last few years, this was a refreshing scene.

    The transfers have shined, with Kessie, Lewandowski and Kounde all playing well. Dembele, a player who nearly left this summer, was fantastic as well.

    Lots to feel good about at Camp Nou.

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    Barcelona Ratings: Defence

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6/10):

    Not too much to do as Barcelona held the ball.

    Jordi Alba (6/10):

    Helped set up one goal and was solid enough on the left. Was caught out on Plzen's finish, though.

    Jules Kounde (7/10):

    Fantastic header on the opener set up Kessie. Looked solid enough.

    Andreas Christensen (6/10):

    Took an elbow to the face and was also nearly sent off, only for VAR to intervene to correctly overturn the call.

    Sergi Roberto (6/10):

    Had a good first half before being taken out at half-time due to an apparent injury.

  • Franck Kessie Barcelona Viktoria 2022-23Getty Images

    Midfield

    Franck Kessie(8/10):

    Great finish and lots of energy. Was everywhere.

    Frenkie de Jong (6/10):

    A few very nice passes, playing the Busquets role well enough as he continues to adjust to it.

    Pedri (8/10):

    Does so many little things well. Deservedly saluted by the crowd on his way out.

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    Attack

    Ousmane Dembele (8/10):

    The sequence on Barca's third goal? Chef's kiss.

    Ansu Fati (5/10):

    Dangerous, but wasteful. Took a lot of shots, but few smart ones.

    Robert Lewandowski (9/10):

    Can't get much better than this from the hat-trick hero.

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    Subs & Manager

    Gerard Pique (6/10):

    Replaced Roberto, but didn't have too much to do as Barcelona remained in control.

    Ferran Torres (8/10):

    Came on for Fati and immediately set up Lewandowski's hat-trick before scoring a goal of his own.

    Gavi (6/10):

    Added a bit more juice to the midfield as Pedi was taken off for a rest.

    Memphis Depay (6/10):

    Looked motivated. Was very active after coming on for Dembele, even if the final product wasn't there.

    Pablo Torre (N/A):

    Given 10 minutes in place of Kessie.

    Xavi (8/10):

    A five-goal day is all he could have asked for.