A night where it looks like it might all really start for Serge Gnabry, and a game where it looks like it might be coming to an end for Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur.
This 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich was certainly his worst, but it was not just about the size of the score. It was the way of it, the ‘end of days’ feel, the way everything just collapsed in on itself as Gnabry ran prince-like through the ruins.
That the four-goal star is a former Arsenal player is only part of the pain, and really pales next to the bigger problems from this game.
To think that there was a spell when Spurs were pressing and performing so well that it looked like a return of the real Pochettino team. That, like everything else with Spurs, just gave way.
The Argentine’s side were making errors so basic that it gave Bayern the confidence to try moments of the highest difficulty – and pull them off.
That, on a relatively basic level, was the main difference: precision; sharpness; intensity. Everything Spurs used to be known for under Pochettino. None of it they displayed here, at least by them.
And such end product has to come from somewhere, from something deeper. Niko Kovac could point to a much more cohesive side, but there was more to it than that.
Spurs had so many chances, and especially before the Bayern equaliser, only to fudge all but one. Even their goal from open play was a touch untidy, as Son beat Neuer with power rather than accuracy.
That roughness was initially reaping benefits, as it fostered the aggression that Bayern initially struggled with – symbolised in how Corentun Tolisso was felled by Dele Alli for the opening goal – but its effect was gradually eroded by the German side’s sheer level of execution.
That remains one of the crucial differences in Champions League football, that composure. Bayern had looked like they were being pressed out of the game, rushed into errors, and yet you’d never have thought any time they got the ball forward.
There was such conviction. All of the goals were of the highest quality, exacting and emphatic.
What really stood out was how – in that classic European tie way – they just made the most of the minimum of space. There was a divine devastation to it.
For the equaliser, space opened for Joshua Kimmich at the edge of the box and he put it straight into the corner of the goal.
For the second, the brilliant Robert Lewandowski put it low in the other corner, while using his marker Jan Vertonghen to disguise it and just make it that bit more difficult for Hugo Lloris.
For the third, Serge Aurier just gave Gnabry that bit too much space, but could still have scarcely imagined what happened next. The young forward rode the despairing tackle, drove right through on goal with full purpose and then powered it into the bottom corner. There was never any doubt or hesitation about a single moment of his run.
For the fourth – with Spurs by then in disarray – Gnabry took full advantage of the space to so calmly take on Tolisso’s through ball first-time and guide it in off the post.
Spurs had just been blown out of the game, Harry Kane’s fortuitous penalty barely giving them much extra force.
Gnabry meanwhile continued blowing everyone away, exploiting another one of Aurier’s surges forward to run onto a ball over the top, supremely take it on and then so confidently taking the finish.
It was looking so easy for Bayern by then, and never more than when Lewandowski prodded the sixth.
The game had really reached that point where Spurs were so beaten they were coughing up every ball, with Bayern so on their game they were almost scoring with every ball.
There was just such a disturbing casualness to Gnabry’s eventual fourth. He was yards from goal and yet the way the game was going he just thought “why not?”
Spurs will be thinking what next?
It had that kind of feel.
It was that bad a day.
It was that great a performance from Bayern, and Gnabry.
Spurs will now be struggling to get out of this group, but even that feels like one of the evening’s lesser concerns.
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