Champions League semi-final: Barca suffer humiliation in Munich
Barcelona’s chances of making the final of the Champions League took a severe blow, after being thrashed 4-0 at the Allianz Arena by German giants Bayern Munich.
The world was watching, as two of the best teams in Europe locked horns in the first of the Germany vs Spain semi-final encounters. Both Bayern and Barcelona have excelled domestically and this game had the makings of a classic.
Tito Valinova took a big risk in fielding an unfit Lionel Messi – and the game plan backfired – with the Argentinian barely making an impact on a heavily one sided affair. Thomas Mueller gave Bayern Munich an early lead, with the recently crowned Bundesliga champions taking control of the game early on.
Things got worse for the Catalan team, as Mario Gomez doubled Munich’s advantage just after half-time. With former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola looking on at his soon-to-be squad, winger Arjen Robben tormented the Barcelona defence, making it 3-0 in the process.
At 3-0, critics were still giving the Spanish champions a glimmer of hope of turning things around in the Nou Camp, which was until Thomas Mueller added a fourth and all but compounded Barcelona to an exit from the competition, in somewhat uninspiring fashion.
Barcelona looked at sea from the first whistle to the last. Stars like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi all struggled to have any sort of noteworthy impact on such a big stage.
The Catalonians barely tested Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal, with the Germany number 1 having a quiet evening against arguably the best team in the world.
Fans of Barcelona will now have to be of the belief that “anything can happen” in the second leg. But all signs point to at least one team from Germany making the final.
With Bayern Munich now looking odds on favourites to make it to Wembley, it was the perfect time to celebrate the signing of Mario Gotze from Dortmund.
The German wonder kid has agreed to join Munich in a deal that is worth £31.5 million – signalling the intent of the German club to become the super force in European football. This win could propel the team once dubbed “FC Hollywood’” back into the big time.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent