The semifinal game played today at the Allianz Arena will mark the end of the Golden Age of FC Barcelona. They were threshed 4-0 by a Bayern team that played with hunger, intensity, intelligence, and that deserved every single one of the four goals they scored. And there could have been a couple more.
The six-year cycle of excellence for this group of Barcelona players, at club and at national teams, finally showed its physical and emotional toll. Barca looked tired, sloppy, devoid of ideas, and did not really manage to threaten Neuer. Barca showed loyalty to their tiki-taka and to each other to a fault in playing an injured Messi. He had no business being on the field beyond the 60th minute. Clearly out of sorts, he tried but could not weigh in on proceedings. Only 25, it is a miracle this is his first major injury, given his work load. Still it was sad to see him without touch or pace because of his injury. Don’t know why Villa only came in the 82nd minute, or why Alexis started at all.
Bayern were on top from the handshake. They towered over the Catalans, with the exception of Busquets, Piqué, and Valdez. The physicality and athleticism played a role in deciding this match. Two of Bayern’s goals came from corners that Barca could not defend. In both instances Dante climbed over Alves with ease to head balls back into the box for Gomez and Muller to score. That height difference is not about to change by the return game.
It looks unlikely that Barca will come back from a 4 goal deficit. And just as well. Those boys deserve a rest. Well done Bayern.