Bayern Munich 4 Barcelona 0 match report: Thomas Muller provides final twist to Barca's Champions League nightmare in Bavaria

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The Germans put on a hugely impressive show

the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich may well have taken Barcelona's mantle of Europe's finest football team. They have almost certainly taken their place in the Champions League final, with a first-leg mauling in a roaring Allianz Arena. They will also, as if to complete the annex, be taking Barcelona's old coach, Pep Guardiola, and dream target Mario Götze this summer.

But this gradual transfer was made real in one brilliant 90 minutes of football. The performance of the season, certainly, the best in the European Cup since the Barcelona glories of 2009 and 2011 and even one of the finest nights in the history of one of Europe's greatest clubs. Bayern played with the skill, bravery and ruthlessness of a team who have lost two recent finals but are desperate to win the next one. Thomas Müller, who scored twice, and Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben, who got the others, should not be disappointed again.

This was meaningful, violent and emphatic from Bayern, who exposed all of Barcelona's flaws relentlessly, making the team who won two of the last four titles look dated and unimaginative. Barça were soft and predictable on the ball, enjoying one brief spell of possession early in the first-half and another halfway through the second. But even then it was only ever possession on Bayern's terms.

The closest Barcelona came to scoring, and this is remarkable given the players they had on the pitch, were two moments when the ball fell to novice centre-back Marc Bartra in the Bayern box and he barely knew what to do with it. Lionel Messi hardly caught sight of goal once.

The real action, of course, was at the opposite end. Bayern attacked with so much more purpose and confidence than Barcelona could ever find. In the first hour, they exposed the visitors' vulnerability to crosses, playing with brisk width and muscularity and twice scoring from second balls from close range. For the final 30 minutes, as Barcelona chased the game, Bayern exploited their problem with pace, picking them off with goals on the break that more or less confirmed their place in the final.

Jupp Heynckes, the Bayern coach, said that it was a perfect team performance and it certainly was, every player perfectly following their defensive and attacking instructions, limiting Barcelona's space, creating attacks and taking their chances. But there are players who obey instructions naturally, like Bastian Schweinsteiger, and players like Robben, and it was the uncharacteristically selfless display from the Dutch winger that encapsulated Bayern's ferocious commitment.

Robben set up Bayern's first two goals, with a cross with his right and then a cross with his left, worked terrifically up and down the flank all evening and scored the third, charging forward and finishing low like he used to for Chelsea. He nearly opened the scoring with Bayern's first chance after just two minutes, passing to Javi Martinez, taking a backheel in return but shooting straight at Victor Valdes.

Barcelona had one of their soothing spells of possession but Bayern, far more purposeful and driven by the unmatchable engine room of Martinez and Schweinsteiger, soon started to push them back. They won the ball and spread it wide, and with quick full-backs and wingers Bayern were able to force corner and corner, playing with a physicality and simplicity which Barcelona did not enjoy. It was an approach which put them ahead after 25 minutes.

Robben, who might not have started had Toni Kroos been fit, received Müller's lay-off and crossed with his weaker right foot. Dante, towering at the far post, headed back across goal and Müller, with a sharper nose for goal than anyone in this team, headed past Valdes.

The second goal, three minutes after the break, was just the same. Another Robben cross, this time a left-footed inswinging corner. Another header across goal from the back post, this time from Müller. And another close-range finish, this time from Gomez, who was on the line and probably offside.

Bayern knew they could assure their place at Wembley with one more charge. So they went for it, running at Barça with glee and disrespect. Müller, Franck Ribéry and Robben all went just wide before the break which sealed the game. Schweinsteiger, driving through the middle, fed Robben on the right. He broke into the box, Müller blocked off Jordi Alba and Robben finished into the far bottom corner.

When giants tumble they do so with a crash. Barça had lost all control and Bayern finished them off with a fourth which should send them to the final. Another swift move ended with David Alaba bounding forward and whipping a cross to the near post. Müller, far more dangerous than Messi, ran in between Valdes and Alba and slid the ball in for the implausible fourth.

No one had ever doubted whether Bayern had the quality, given their performances in Bundesliga and earlier in the season. The question was whether they had the nerve. Just 11 months ago, on this ground, they had blown effectively a home Champions League final against Chelsea.

But the 68,000 crowd knew they were witnessing something special and transformative, a marker that the team who were runners up in 2010 and 2012 have something different about them this year. They erupted through the last eight minutes, cheering passes and singing about the final.

Man of the match Robben.

Match rating 9/10.

Referee V Kassai (Hun).

Attendance 68,000.

Second leg Wednesday 1 May, Nou Camp

Suggested Topics
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?