Daniel Horner | Content Writer
Memories of Bayern Munich’s 7-0 aggregate demolition against Barca in the 2013 semi-final and Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final came flooding back.
The victory for the Bavarians was not surprising: only the manner in which they did it was shocking. For Lionel Messi and Co. the result was arguably the worst in the club’s history, finally putting an end to a dismal season that saw no silverware. For their manager, Quique Setien, he has been shown the door, with Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman expected to succeed him. However, to put the blame entirely on Setien is incompetent, as the entire foundations of the club needs drastic change, on and off the pitch. For Bayern Munich, a semi-final showdown against Lyon awaits on Wednesday night, an impressive treble nearly secured. Strong favourites to beat Lyon and win the tournament overall, they have been a class above everyone else this calendar year and it seems like they are on the right path to European glory, having last won the cup back in 2013.
It was expected that the quarter-final would be an open affair and it certainly was; two goals in the opening ten minutes reflected an end to end game with numerous chances. Thomas Muller opened the scoring after four minutes, playing a cushioned one-two with Robert Lewandowski on the volley before scuffing a left foot half-volley into the bottom corner from twelve yards. Three minutes later David Alaba miscued a clearance on his right foot from a Jordi Alba square ball which looped high into the right corner of the net for Barcelona’s equaliser. The frantic pace of the opening exchanges was relentless, with both sides attempting to expose shaky defences.
Barcelona in particular exposed Bayern’s high line on numerous occasions; Luis Suarez was denied from close range by Neuer after being slipped through by Nelson Semedo, while from the resulting short corner Messi’s in-swinging cross evaded Sergio Busquets and hit the far post. Yet, Barca were left to rue these missed opportunities, as within a ten-minute spell the game fell beyond their reach. This was a combination of Barca being architects of their own downfall and Bayern ruthlessly capitalising on the quick turnovers of possession in the final third.
In the twenty first minute Sergi Roberto of Barca lost the ball in a tight area and Bayern immediately fed the ball into the space he had left behind on the right. Serge Gnabry dispossessed him, drove into the penalty area and played a smart reverse ball back to the outside left where Ivan Perisic drove home a left footed strike across the goal, aided by a double deflection and the crossbar. From this moment Bayern turned the screw; Leon Goretzka’s beautifully lofted first-time ball over the top of the Barca defence was lashed home by Gnabry, and Thomas Muller swept in from the near post after a low drilled Joshua Kimmich cross from the right only four minutes later.
Suarez pulled a goal back after fifty-seven minutes with a typical fake-shot and low finish, but in reality, more goals for Bayern were inevitable. Kimmich made it 5-2 six minutes later after a mesmerising run from fellow full back, Canadian nineteen-year-old Alphonso Davies. Barcelona collapsed once again and to further rub salt into their wounds, Phillipe Coutinho, on loan at Bayern from Barca, came on and provided an assist for Lewandowski and two goals in the final ten minutes. This further highlighted Bayern’s incredible squad depth at their disposal.