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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Football

The Germans are coming
Reuters
Barcelona, May 03, 2013
First Published: 02:02 IST(3/5/2013)
Last Updated: 03:23 IST(3/5/2013)

Bayern Munich stormed fortress Nou Camp to claim a berth in the first all-German Champions League final when they routed Barcelona 3-0 on Wednesday for a crushing 7-0 aggregate success that saw them hailed as the new kings of Europe.

The Bundesliga champions, chasing a fifth continental crown, will play Borussia Dortmund in the May 25 final at London’s Wembley Stadium after an imperious performance that inflicted the heaviest two-legged European defeat in Barca’s history.

Bayern had effectively killed off the tie with last week’s 4-0 victory in Munich and there was no way back for a toothless Barca when Arjen Robben cut inside and blasted the http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/5/03-05-13-pg-21b.jpgball past Victor Valdes in the 49th minute.

A miserable night for the pre-tournament favourites and their fans thronging the giant arena was completed when Gerard Pique skewed the ball into his own net in the 72nd minute and Thomas Mueller, who scored twice in the first leg, nodded a third for a rampant Bayern four minutes later.

The Spaniards, last defeated in both legs of a European knockout tie in 1987, were deprived of the talents of Lionel Messi, who has yet to recover fully from a hamstring injury and was left on the bench.

Without the talismanic World Player of the Year they barely threatened as forwards Cesc Fabregas, David Villa and Pedro, and later substitute Alexis Sanchez, were helpless against a resolute Bayern defence.

“We would have liked to play at the same level as Bayern but we can only congratulate them now and get back to work,” Barca coach Tito Vilanova said.

Cesc Fabregas was initially deployed in Messi’s roving forward role in a three-pronged attack with Spain teammates Pedro and Villa.

Bayern were first to threaten when Robben burst clear on the left in the 13th minute but the Dutch winger was denied by a fine covering tackle from Pique. As the first half wore on and Bayern looked increasingly comfortable against Barca’s aimless attacks.

The home crowd were silenced four minutes into the second half when David Alaba sprayed the ball across to Robben on the right wing and he cut inside Adriano in trademark fashion before crashing a left-foot drive past Valdes.

The Germans began to stroke the ball around in the style Barca have made their own in recent years.

Barca huffed and puffed for a goal to salvage some pride but Pique’s own goal and Mueller’s back-post header completed a truly awful and unprecedented night for a team often lauded as the greatest ever.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/5/03-05-13-pg-21d.jpg


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