The second most exciting stage of the UEFA Champions League is finally here! 28 teams from all parts of Europe have been eliminated and the strongest 4 remain. Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Real Madrid have gotten past tough opponents to get to this stage, and in doing so, have proven to the world that they are worthy of being crowned Champions of Europe. After an exciting draw that saw defending and soon-to-be-crowned champions drawn against each other, it was time to finally see which two teams would make it to the final.
Barcelona headed to Munich on the back of a hard-earned 1-0 win against Levante in the Spanish Liga BBVA. Bayern Munich would head into this game with, perhaps, more confidence from a 6-1 win in Hanover, along with a strong home support behind them. 68,000 spectators went to the Allianz for what would be, at least to the home side, a great match.
This game started well for the Bavarians; their first chance coming in just 2 minutes after Viktor Kassai blew the first whistle. This was deeply encouraging for them, as they wanted nothing more than to score early goals. Fortunately for the Spanish visitors, Victor Valdes was wide awake to save an Arjen Robben shot. The visitors had their first real chance 7 minutes later, when they were awarded the first corner of the game. Gerard Pique headed wide.
From then on, the home side continued to threaten near the Barcelona goal. Finally, 25 minutes into the game, Thomas Muller met a Dante pass, provided by a Robben cross, and put the ball past Valdes to score the first goal of the game. This goal was enough to wake up the Spanish side, who wasted no time trying to get things level. Unfortunately for them, the ball forward was a little over-hit, and the Germans were able to escape all the way until the half-time whistle was blown.
The Catalans knew what they had to do in the second half, and seemed determined to do so after the half-time break. Things got harder for them, however, when the hosts added to their tally just 4 minutes in. Bayern were doing so well on set-pieces, as their second goal came, yet again, from a corner. Arjen Robben’s corner got to Mario Gomez, through Thomas Muller, and the 17-year-old German made sure to put this one into the net.
And Heynckes side just wasn’t done yet; 3 minutes after their second goal, Muller got a good chance to make it a brace, but was just unlucky. The visitors knew they had to score fast, but their hosts didn’t think so. The only thing they had over their hosts was possession at this point, and it wasn’t taking them anywhere. Attempts kept coming in for Bayern, and the Spanish giants were lagging.
A good chance to get an important goal at the Allianz for Barcelona came in the 70th minute, but an off-balance Marc Bartra was unfortunate. Manuel Neuer had managed to escape so far and seemed to be enjoying it, naturally! 3 minutes afterwards, Luis Gustavo came in for a happy, but tired, Mario Gomez, and the home side added a 3rd goal. Arjen Robben finally got one for himself, very well assisted by Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The visitors knew they had to score and score soon! 15 minutes from time, another good chance came for Marc Bartra, but the youngster put too much on it to the disappointment of Tito & co. The question on everyone’s mind at this point was: “Where, oh where is Lionel Messi?” The Argentinian had been overpowered for a huge part of the game, and it was evident that Bayern had studied him very well.
As if they hadn’t had enough problems throughout the night, Barcelona conceded a fourth goal, and it was surely over for the Spanish side. Thomas Muller, who shortly after this made way for Pizarro, finally got his brace; all of it was made possible by some great work by David Alaba and Franck Ribery. Even if Barcelona would score, they wouldn’t be able to score 4 with only 10 minutes remaining on the clock, at least not against this team!
Jupp Heynckes and his Spanish counterpart both made some last-minutes substitutions and introduced Shaqiri and David Villa respectively. These two wouldn’t see too much except a very good chance for Bayern to make it 5-0 in added time. Fortunately for Barca, Arjen Robben missed the target and it remained 4-0 to the German hosts.The Spanish side will now have to work, not just double or triple, but quadruple hard in the second leg of this tie if they are to reach the final instead of Bayern; something which now seems very, very unlikely. We all know how strong they can be, however, so anything is still possible. Who knows, we might see some surprises at the Camp Nou next Wednesday evening.
- 36% Possession 64%
- 9/4 Attempts on Target/Off Target 2/2
- 13 Total Attempts 4
- 4 Goals 0
- 1 Saves 3
- 11 Free Kicks 19
- 16/10 Fouls Committed/Suffered 10/16
- 3/0 Yellow/Red Cards 4/0
Jupp Heynckes and Tito Vilanova lined up the following squads:
Bayern Starting XI
Neuer | Dante, Boateng, Lahm (c) | Martinez, Robben, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Ribery, Muller | Gomez
Subs: Starke, Van Buyten, Rafinha, Shaqiri, Tymoshcuk, Pizarro, and Gustavo
Barcelona Starting XI
Valdes | Dani Alves, Pique, Bartra, Alba | Xavi (c), Iniesta, Busquets | Sanchez, Messi, Pedro
Subs: Pinto, Montoya, Abidal, Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Villa, and Song
Final Score: Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona
Muller 25′, 82′, Gomez 49′, Robben 73′
Written by Ange Marline