Selasa, 23 April 2013

Bayern Munich Subdues a Stunned Barcelona

They gave us a thrashing Barcelona defender Gerard Piqu said.

The eagerly anticipated showdown between European heavyweights both four time winners of the competition was a mismatch. Bayern dominated the midfield even as it surrendered much of the possession frustrating Barcelona s passing game before it could get close enough to create chances and then punishing the Catalans at the other end. Bayern used its size advantage to dominate in the air on set pieces at times simply bullying Barcelona into submission.

Barcelona had hoped to get a boost from the return of its star Lionel Messi who started after missing three Spanish league games with a hamstring injury sustained in the quarterfinals. But Messi unable to find an inch of space in Bayern s blanketing defense and clearly not fit was virtually invisible. He took only one shot and saw little of the ball.

Barcelona never seemed to have a chance. Losing his marker in the scramble after a corner kick in the 25th minute M ller drove in an open header for the opening goal. Four minutes after halftime he headed another corner back into the goal mouth where Mario Gomez swept it past goalkeeper Victor Vald s. Barcelona was stunned and it only got worse.

M ller set a crushing pick on defender Jordi Alba to free Arjen Robben to score from a tight angle in the 73rd minute and then he slid in to produce his second goal in the 82nd.

By then Barcelona seemed to be praying for the end just wanting to get out of Bavaria and hopefully turn things around at its Camp Nou stadium next week. Bar a will have to be better it certainly cannot be much worse. On Tuesday its three forwards Messi Alexis S nchez and Pedro Rodr guez combined for a single off target shot. The playmakers Xavi and Andr s Iniesta took none.

Barcelona s players acknowledged that they were playing for pride now no team in the history of the competition has progressed to the next round after losing the first leg by four or more goals. Barring a turnaround Bayern which clinched the German league title weeks ago will face the Real Madrid Borussia Dortmund winner for the European crown at Wembley Stadium in London on May 25.

This team has dominated Europe over the last five years Robben said of Barcelona and if you beat them like this I think you can be proud.

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