Heavyweights Barcelona and Bayern Munich edged towards the knockout stage of the Champions League on Wednesday with home thrashings of Manchester City and PSV Eindhoven respectively.

Barca trounced City - who had goalkeeper Claudio Bravo sent off - 4-0, with a hat-trick from the fit-again Lionel Messi, while Bayern downed PSV 4-1 thanks to strikes from Thomas Mueller, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben.

Bayern are three points behind Group D leaders Atletico Madrid, who won 1-0 in Rostov on a goal from Yannick Carrasco.

"We have won our first three matches, and this is an important achievement," a delighted Carrasco said.

"We had to work really hard for this win, against difficult opponents...We are in good form, playing well and keeping things tight in defence."

Arsenal turned in the performance of the night to thump Ludogorets 6-0, with a first career hat-trick for Mesut Oezil.

"Our confidence is stronger with every win but we have to keep the vigilance as well, and the urgency to bring that into the next game," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

"Let's not be too quick on the verdict. We have a strong squad and a strong spirit, but you have to take care of it and keep your feet on the ground. The only way to win something big is to focus on the next one and work on humility."

In the same Group A, Paris Saint-Germain crushed Basel 3-0.

Borussia Moenchengladbach won 2-0 at Celtic, Benfica prevailed 2-0 at Dynamo Kiev and Napoli surprisingly crashed 3-2 at home to lively Besiktas.

The main attraction of the night was Barca's clash with City, now coach by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola.

It was Guardiola's second return to the Camp Nou since his departure in 2012, the first being a 3-0 drubbing with Bayern Munich in 2015.

Things went even worse for Guardiola this time, with Messi shaking off his recent hamstring problems to bang in his 37th hat-trick for Barca, taking advantage of some sloppy defending from the visitors.

Guardiola said the key factor in the defeat was the red card for keeper Bravo, in the 53rd minute for handling the ball outside the penalty area, after passing the ball with his feet. 

"After the card it was over...We were there, we were in the game. We were pressing, we had the possession and we made the chances. We did it but we didn't take the chances and you have to do that to win the game  

"We knew from the beginning it would be a tough group, and it is certainly proving to be so."

Barca defender Mathieu was also sent off, for a second needless yellow card offence.

Barca's Neymar had a penalty saved by Bravo's replacement Willy Caballero, but made amends with a handsome late strike to complete the 4-0 rout.

The only bad news for Barca was that defenders Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique both limped off injured.

"These injuries are a setback for us, but nonetheless it was a good night," Barca coach Luis Enrique said.

"Whoever had any doubts about Messi's fitness and form has been proved wrong.

"It was a rather strange game, what with mistakes, sendings-off, injuries...This is a great result, one which will strengthen us."

Barca are top of Group C with maximum nine points. City have four, Moenchengladbach three and Celtic just one.

Atletico Madrid are also on nine points in Group D, with the Spanish teams in the competition having made an emphatic start.

Atletico are three points above second-placed Bayern. PSV and Rostov have one point apiece.

Meanwhile, in Group A, Arsenal and Paris share top spot with seven points each, while Ludogorets and Basel have just one apiece.

Napoli are still top of Group B despite their shock defeat against Besiktas. Napoli have six points, Besiktas five, Benfica four and Kiev just one.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.