Barcelona 0 Bayern Munich 3 match report: Brilliant Bayern leave Lionel Messi-less Barcelona a sad shadow of former glories
Bayern Munich win 7-0 on aggregate
Thursday 02 May 2013
Bayern Munich had the celebratory T-shirts ready and put them on before they left the pitch at the final whistle. They could probably have played with them under their famous red shirts during the 90 minutes such was the ease with which they brushed aside Barcelona to reach the Champions League final.
Jupp Heynckes' team humbled the Barça side built by the man who has the unenviable task next season of taking over from him.
Pep Guardiola is on a public speaking tour of South America at the moment. Between conferences he had said in the build up to the game: “anything could happen”. In truth for large parts of the mismatch nothing happened. And when it did, it happened to Barça who were a sad shadow of the team who had won two of the last four finals.
Guardiola built his team around Lionel Messi. Without Messi it seems to have fallen in on itself. Back in 2009 Barcelona beat Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Nou Camp in a Champions League quarter-final first leg. Messi scored twice that night but the support card included Samuel Eto'o, Theirry Henry and Yaya Touré. Those players have gone and there was no-one to pick up the baton as Messi sat in the dugout nursing a sore hamstring.
“We have not reached the end of the season in the best condition” said Dani Alves. “We need to have options beyond Messi. We need to reflect, improve and congratulate Bayern.”
Heynckes said: “Messi is fundamental for Barcelona but Bayern right now is a very strong adversary, tactically, physically and in terms of commitment. Last season [after being beaten in the final by Chelsea in their own stadium] we were devastated. But the very next day we set about preparing for the following season.”
Bayern are now on course for the treble and will meet Dortmund in an all-German final at Wembley on 25 May. Tito Vilanova, the Barcelona coach, deprived of Messi, but still with seven Spain internationals in his starting line-up saw his side struggle to get any foothold in the game. They needed to score at least four and found the net only once when Gerard Pique put through his own goal in a second-half collapse.
Vilanova said: “Messi played in Bilbao in the last league game but then had problems in training. He is not injured but there was the risk that he could break down if he pushed himself during the game.”
The Nou Camp mosaic spelled out the word “pride” before kick off and as soon as the team was announced it was evident that was what was at stake for Barça without their No 10. It was already a David and Goliath task, and with David not even in the starting XI the chances were further reduced.
Pedro took the initiative on 23 minutes with a shot that was tipped over by Manuel Neuer but with every Barcelona attack came a Bayern counter wtih Mario Mandzukic charging through and Victor Valdes having to clear Pique's driven back pass. Alves then crossed again from the right but David Villa and Pedro jumped into each other failing to penalise Philipp Lahm who seemed to have got the wrong side of both of them.
Just before the break Bastian Schweinsteiger - one of only two Bayern survivors from that 4-0 reverse in 2009 - was chopped down by Alves who was booked. With the pair still on the floor - the German receiving treatment and Alves trying to avoid the caution - time was called on the first half, it seemed, almost without a flat Nou Camp noticing.
Four minutes into the second half things got worse for every self-respecting Barça supporter when a former Real Madrid player scored the first goal of the night. When Arjen Robben was at Madrid some of the club's more one-eyed supporters, desperate for the team to have its own Messi, suggested the Dutchman might be as good as Barcelona's forward.
The debate lasted about a day but, with the Argentine on the bench, Robben did as Messi has done so many times before - cut in from the right and found the far corner with a left-foot shot.
The away goal was not necessary but it at least meant no-one had to bother Messi to get stripped to come on. The game was gone. Why risk the right hamstring further? The Bayern fans were now greeting every one of their passes with an “Ole!”
The exit could surely be no more humbling. Or at least they thought so until the 73rd minute when Franck Ribéry crossed and Pique hammered the ball past his own keeper for the second. Thomas Müller headed in Ribéry's cross to make it 7-0 on aggregate. “Football's coming home,” sang the German fans. It has, temporarily at least, deserted Barcelona.
Man of the match Robben.
Match rating 5/10.
Referee D Skomina (Slvn).
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