For the first time in the history of the European Cup, the Champions League final features two teams from Germany.For a team that set the record with six straight Champions League semifinal appearances, Barcelona looked out of its depth against Bayern Munich.
FC Hollywood hung a 7-0 aggregate win on Barca so steep that not even a Hollywood producer could have mistaken it for a comeback movie.
Down four goals from a devastatingly immaculate Bayern performance in the first leg, Barcelona barely bothered feigning at a home resurgence, instead skipping straight to cowering and whimpering. Unlike Tuesday, when Real Madrid cranked into fifth gear immediately, roaring straight for the Borussia Dortmund goal for the first 20 minutes, Barca began meekly, allowing Bayern the first attack.
In all, Barca only put four shots on target in the second leg and didn't attempt one from inside the six-yard box over the course of the tie. Bayern opened the scoring three minutes into the second half.
"We've tried in first half but after the first goal we just collapsed," Gerard Pique told Canal+. "The last 45 minutes were so hard."
Arjen Robben, deployed down the right as an inverted winger, will do one of two things. Either he will cut inside on his left foot and shoot, or he will cut inside to his left foot and get stuffed by a defender. So when he cut across Adriano and curled around Victor Valdes with his left, precisely zero spectators lifted an eyebrow.
Usually at that juncture of the tie, when one team's administrator is booking hotels for the next round (Barcelona would have needed to score six unopposed goals to advance), the beaten side scores a consolation goal or two. Not so here.
Former U.S. national team defender Alexi Lalas likened Bayern Munich's defenders to a Battleship grid – perfectly and equidistantly spaced. Even Robben and Ribery industriously closed down runners on the flank.
Instead, Bayern racked up the score, efficiently and ruthlessly finishing off counters. With 20 minutes remaining, Ribery surged down the left and laid a cross in front of goal that Pique kneed into the net. A handful of minutes later, Ribery set up another, this time ditching Alex Song to stand a ball up at the far post. Thomas Müller hung in the air to head it down for a third on the night.
With that Bayern locked down the largest semifinal aggregate win (7-0) in the history of the Champions League.
"We have shown that we have a great team," Robben told Sky.
No one is bothering to contest that. Bayern has already won the Bundesliga and leads Dortmund by 20 points. It eased past reigning Serie A champion Juventus 4-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinals and now embarrassed the greatest team of the past several decades.
Every team that has knocked Barca out of Europe over the past five years went on to win the Champions League. Barcelona last conceded seven in a European tie in 1962.
Bayern lost two of the last three finals, including to Chelsea on penalties in Munich last season.
"I've already lost two finals," Ribery told Canal+. "I do not want to lose a third."
Waiting for the May 25 fixture is Dortmund for a first-ever all-German Champions League final.
The two teams meet on Saturday for a meaningless league match, with Bayern having already won back the Bundesliga title after two years of BVB triumphs. Domestic competition provided by Dortmund's recent success spurred on Bayern. From 2001, when it won the Champions League, to 2010, Bayern hadn't progressed to the semifinals.
Now, given its record in Europe, squad depth, finances and the impending arrival of Pep Guardiola, Bayern Munich is the elite team in Europe.
European dominance goes in cycles. Spain, Italy and England have all put two teams in a Champions League final. Now it's Germany's turn.
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