MOTD- Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich

Marc Barta goes to ground after being tripped by Mario Mandzukic, an image that sums up Barca's night

Marc Barta goes to ground after being tripped by Mario Mandzukic, an image that sums up Barca’s night

Bayern Munich have reached the Champions League final for the third time in four years, where they will meet Borussia Dortmund in the first ever all-German final.  Barca, who were surprisingly without Lionel Messi, struggled to use the wings throughout the game, partly resulting in Bayern’s 3-0 win.  Although Messi played over the weekend against Athletic Bilbao in a non-important La Liga match, the Argentine was rested for the semifinal, which will surely cause headlines.  Barcelona were also suffering from multiple injury and suspension set-backs, with Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets among those who could not play.  Bayern thrashed the Spanish side 7-0 on aggregate after their 4-0 win in the first leg, and 3-0 on the night.

Both sides started the match rather poorly, with bad touches and passes marring the match.  Bayern were the first to come out of the early daze, and the German side almost went up in the thirteenth minute when Tomas Muller laid the ball off to Bastian Schweinsteiger at the halfway line.  Schweinsteiger curled a ball above the Barca defense to the run of Arjen Robben down the right, but right as the winger was about to pull the trigger in the box, Gerard Pigue marvelously recovered after being caught out, and dispossessed Robben.  Bayern again almost took the lead in the nineteenth minute, but they again failed to get the shot off.  Schweinsteiger was bearing down on goal down the right, but instead of shooting from a tight angle, flicked the ball back to Philip Lahm, who was tackled by Pique before he could pull off a shot.

Barca began to keep possession and settle into the match, but Bayern still looked dangerous on the break.  Pedro came close to scoring, and his strong effort from twenty-five yards out in the twenty-fourth minute forced Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to tip it over the bar to stop it from flying into the top-right corner.  In the twenty-seventh minute Xavi almost put La Blaugrana in front after Dani Alves’ cross from the right found Cesc Fabregas on the far post.  Fabregas managed to chest the ball down before being pushed over, and it fell to Xavi six yards out from goal, but the Spaniard somehow managed to send his volley over the bar.  Just as Barca were starting to get a foothold in the match, referee Damir Skomina blew for halftime.

Amazingly, Bayern put the tie to bed only two minutes into the second half, in gorgeous style.  A magnificent long David Alaba long-ball from the left found Robben on the right, and the winger took the ball up to Adriano, who allowed him to cut onto his left foot.  With almost no room to curl the shot through the Barca defenders, Robben curled a peach around Adriano and Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes into the top left corner of the net from ten yards out.  The German side completely took over, and they gave Barca a taste of their own medicine, playing wonderful tiki-taka football around the Tito Villanova’s tired side.  Jupp Heynckes side grabbed a second goal in the seventieth minute when Luiz Gustavo slipped a inch-perfect through ball into Franck Ribery’s run down the left, and the Frenchman chipped a knee-high cross across goal.  Valdes was caught in no-mans land, but it was Pique who hit it in, with the center-back mis-hitting his volley, sending the ball spiraling into the top right corner.

Bayern put the icing on the cake three minutes later, with Muller giving Heynckes side a third goal.  Ribery beat Alex Song down the left, before chipping a cross to the far post, which Muller tapped back across goal, sending Valdes in the general direction of Italy, into the back of the net.  With Barca needing eight goals to make it to the finals, Bayern slowed the pace of the game, allowing Barca to pressure.  Marc Barta headed just wide of the near post off a corner, but Barca could not score a constellation, with Bayern earning a 3-0 win (7-0 on aggregate) to send them to the Wembley final.
Man of the Match: Bastian Schweinsteiger

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