Barcelona dreams in tatters after Bayern Munich rampage
Barca look dead and buried after four goal rout in Champions League semi-final
Bayern Munich 4 Barcelona 0. Bayern Munich destroyed Barcelona's Champions League dreams in a dazzling display of clinical football at the Allianz Arena Stadium. The first-leg semi-final defeat left Barca stunned with defender Gerard Pique conceding a miracle is required for the Spanish club to turn things around when the two sides meet again in the Camp Nou on May 1. "They've been faster, stronger and played the better football," admitted Pique. "It's almost impossible for us."
Only three teams have clawed back a four-goal setback in the 60-year history of all European competition, the last being Real Madrid who, in the third round of the now defunct Uefa Cup in 1984-85, came back from 5-1 against Borussia Monchengladbach to win 4-0 in the second leg.
Will that happen next week? Not unless there is an extraordinary transformation in Barcelona. The Catalans were comprehensively outplayed by their German opponents and succumbed to their heaviest defeat in Europe since losing by the same scoreline to Dynamo Kiev in 1997.
The fact that no team has lost the first leg of a European Cup or Champions League tie by four or more goals and progressed to the next round also suggests Barcelona are dead and buried, although assistant coach Jordi Roura tried to strike a bullish note as he surveyed the ruins of the disastrous night in Munich. "We know that the situation is difficult but, as Barcelona, we have to compete in the second leg and try to win," he said. "We will give it our all."
For Bayern the night went beyond their wildest dreams. From the start their pace and power troubled Barcelona and the only surprise was that it took them 25 minutes to open the scoring through Thomas Mueller. Mario Gomez added a second four minutes after the break and Arjen Robben, a constant menace to Barcelona throughout, made it 3-0 on 73 minutes. There was still time for further Barcelona humiliation with Mueller grabbing his second of the night when he fired home David Alaba's cross.
"It was not a really big surprise to me that we scored four goals," declared Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes afterwards. "We have played to a high level all season."
Bayern have won 19 of their last 20 games in all competitions with the solitary defeat the surprise 2-0 reverse to Arsenal at the Allianz Arena in last month's Champions League last-16 encounter. That can in part be explained by the fact Bayern went into the return leg with a commanding 3-1 lead from the first tie. Other than that, Bayern have crushed all before them this season, scoring 134 goals along the way and conceding just 25.
The Bavarians are now on the brink of their third Champions League final appearance in four years and few would bet against them going on to lift the trophy that has been so elusive for them in recent times. In 2009 they lost 2-0 to Inter in the final, while last year Chelsea trumped the German club in a penalty shootout. "Falling short of success in the past two seasons has only made them more hungry for success this year," Heynckes said of his players.
But he nonetheless cautioned Bayern about getting carried away. "I know we still face 90 very difficult minutes in Spain. We will enjoy what happened tonight, but nothing more."