The Allianz Arena was electric. There was a sense of excitement in the air as Bayern Munich hosted Barcelona in the UEFA Champions’ League semi-finals. It was supposed to be, in all fairness, a true footballing master class. What followed in the next 90 minutes was out of anyone’s wildest dreams. Barcelona was thrashed 4-0 in what can be truly stated as their worst loss in recent times. The Catalans were outclassed, out-muscled and tactically battered on the night by the far superior Bavarian giants.
There was doubt, that Lionel Messi might not even play with an injury. But the Catalans were given a big boost when the medical team deemed Messi fit to play for the night. Half fit Messi wasn’t ready nor was Barca for what followed.
It took Bayern 25 minutes to score a goal. Thomas Muller drew first blood as he scored the opening goal of the match with an assist from the tall centre Dante and the skillful Robben. The Bavarians were ecstatic as they earned the lead and there was no one who could say that they didn’t see it coming. Barcelona was hurt and did its best to cope up. But the German’s had other plans. They hurried the ever brilliant Iniesta, stopped Xavi from dictating play as he does and blunted the Catalans best weapon by not allowing Messi space and time on the ball. The net result of such ruthless pressing was that though Barca saw a lot of the ball, they could do nothing with it in the attacking third. It was relief for the Catalans to hear the half
time whistle with the score still 1-0.
Many expected a different second half as Barca came out to salvage pride. But it wasn’t their day by any stretch of imagination. Just four minutes later Bayern scored again. This time it was Mario Gomez who scored with Muller assisting. Barcelona was pegged back again. Bayern were all over Barca by then. Ribery and Muller came close in quick succession. It looked Bayern would score again rather than Barcelona getting one back. Bayern obliged in the 73rd minute mark. A brilliant Schweinsteiger pass found Robben and he went past Alba. Robben curled it past Victor Valdes into the bottom corner. The goal couldn’t be avoided as Alba was deliberately blocked off by Thomas Muller. Barca then trailed 3-0. The Germans got the icing on the cake in the 82nd minute when Muller scored his second of the night and Bayern’s fourth. Barcelona was truly and completely humiliated.
True that there is still a return leg to play in a week’s time and any team with Messi in it can’t be taken out of equation, yet this seems too much for even the mighty Barcelona to overturn. For Bayern it will be another chance to show the world that the power has shifted, and judging by last night’s exploits, they are more than capable of doing so.