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Guardiola Under Fire After Magisterial Messi Sinks Bayern

Two pieces of magic by Lionel Messi in a four minute period ensured it was a miserable return to the Camp Nou for Pep Guardiola. The former Barcelona coach, who won 14 titles in four years with the Catalan giants, saw the architect of so many of his greatest triumphs put him on the brink of a UEFA Champions League exit at the penultimate stage for the second successive year.

Going into the game Guardiola admitted Messi was “just too good” to be stopped and so it proved as the Argentinian ace, who was quiet for long periods, burst into life to give Luis Enrique’s side the advantage before Neymar twisted the knife to make it 3-0 in the final minutes.

But it was not the result that had Bayern fans upset with the team’s performance. It was Guardiola’s tactics. His bold tactics included starting with a high line and man-marking across the partook, leaving Bayern exposed to the Barca attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez.

The German press did not hold back in their criticism of Guardiola this morning.

“The hardest of defeats”, “Humiliation”, “Debacle” are just some of the newspapers’ headlines.

“Guardiola, beaten by Barcelona, had no time for emotional reunions” reads the headline of Bild newspaper, which then goes on to describe the “sad return” of Barça’s “prodigal son” to what was his home, in a match that “showed him the limitations” that his new team, Bayern, had. The German daily finished its critique of the match by asking the question,

“Will he recover from this failure?”

German daily Die Zeit commented that Bayern and Guardiola

“have been given by Barcelona some classes on how to play ball”.

Meanwhile, Kicker feels that the match was more than just a bad result and assured that Barcelona’s 3-0 victory has left the German side in a state of “shock”.

“For Pep Guardiola, this is more than a defeat”, the article concludes.

Many football legends of Germany also lamented Bayern’s game. Speaking to ZDF, Oliver Kahn, ex-goalkeeper for Bayern, criticised Guardiola’s tactics, calling the way the team defended as

“extremely adventurous”. “Guardiola didn’t expect Barça to play such long passes”, the ex-shotstopper said.

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