Barcelona defeat offers Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid a chance to lord it over their bitter rivals
Mourinho will take great satisfaction in progressing further than Barcelona in the Champions League
Over to you Jose. Barcelona’s epic collapse in Munich has dangled before the great Mourinho an unexpected opportunity to lord it over Real Madrid’s bitter rivals and reclaim the high ground of football management.
Madrid, utterly eclipsed in La Liga by the Catalan artistes, visit Borussia Dortmund tonight in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. Despite the obvious strengths of Bayern Munich, none expected a 4-0 rout delivered so thrillingly at the Allianz Arena. Outwardly Mourinho will distance himself from the frenzy proclaiming the death of tiki-taka, maintaining that his focus is only on the next match. What Barcelona do is no concern of mine, etc.
Inwardly the idea of Madrid progressing while Barca do not will give him immense satisfaction, not to mention simplify the challenge should his team progress. Bayern’s downing of Barca was remarkable given the domination of the ball by the visiting team and emulated the tactical template adopted by Mourinho when Inter Milan beat them at the same stage three years ago.
The strangling of Leo Messi was central to both outcomes, based on disciplined defensive organisation and rapid-breaking deployment. Bayern, like Inter, were content to surrender possession until Barca advanced towards goal, at which point they closed like a Venus fly trap around Messi.
Nothing is won, or lost yet. Barca are allowed an off-night, if 65 per cent possession on foreign turf and double the number of passes can be termed such. With Messi shackled Barcelona failed to trouble Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal and were shredded at the back when Bayern broke. Scoring four at home is not beyond Barcelona but keeping a clean sheet might be.
Madrid still have to subjugate a Dortmund team that has already beaten them at home and led with a minute to go at the Bernabeu in this season’s group stage. Mourinho’s future at Madrid is uncertain. He was employed to deliver this trophy at the Bernabeu. Barca’s temporary demise enhances his chances. Maybe fate is deciding for him. The Nani red card and now this. Or maybe the rise of German club football will engulf him, too. If not tonight then at Wembley.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal players boo chief-executive Ivan Gazidis after being told they would not get bonus for FA Cup triumph
Brendan Rodgers future: Odds shorten on Liverpool manager being sacked, despite Jurgen Klopp announcement
Liverpool transfer news: James Milner nearing Anfield switch, but club baulk at £32.5m Christian Benteke release clause
Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
Betting company 'refuse to pay' after student wins £1,000 from 50p bet on Roger Federer
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy dead: Former Lib Dem leader dies at home aged 55 - latest news
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history