Bayern Munich fans can start to plan their trip to Wembley next month for the Champions League final next month after they hammered Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the semi-final at the Allianz Arena tonight.
Barca injury ravaged defense was ripped apart time and time again by the Germans who got goals from Thomas Muller (2) and one each from Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben.
This game felt like a passing of the torch from a side that has dominated Europe for the last five years, to the side that is poised to dominate the next five years.
After stepping out to a magnificently-choreographed red-and-white display which spanned the entire arena, Bayern harnessed the home support and began powerfully, driving forward and creating the game’s first opportunity just two minutes in. Javi Martínez’s back-heel gave Robben time to set himself in the box only for the Dutchman to poke straight at Víctor Valdés.
It was obvious in the pre-match handshake that the Bayern players were several inches taller than their opponents and Bayern used that height advantage to take the lead in the 25th minute. Arjen Robben’s cross from the right picked out Dante at the far post, and he returned the ball to the opposite post where Muller was encroaching to head in the opener with Victor Valdes unable to stop the ball before it crept in.
With Lionel Messi obviously unfit, Barcelona posed little attacking threat and the only surprise was that the score was still 1-0 at half-time.
But four minutes into the second half and Bayern made it 2-0 and once again it was from a Robben corner which was headed down at the far post by Muller with an unmarked Gomez sweeping the ball in from underneath the crossbar. From the replays Gomez looked marginally offside, but considering that Pique had clearly blocked a shot with his arm in the first half, no call, the two decisions cancelled each other out.
Barca had no answer to Robben and he capped off a brilliant performance by sliding the ball inside the far post after getting in around the back of Jordi Alba. But, he only got behind Alba because the Barcelona defender was blocked off. A horrible decision by the officials.
Marc Bartra wasted a rare opportunity for Barca in the 76th minute that would have given them some hope heading back to the Camp Nou, but Muller ended any hopes of a Barcelona comeback when he scored from close close range after David Alaba got round the back of Barça’s crumbling defence.
That was the first time since May 2007 Barcelona had condeded four in a game and reversed Bayern’s 4-0 quarter-final defeat at the Camp Nou in 2009 – and, most crucially, took the German champions to the brink of a second successive final.