Baptism of fire! Bayern thrash Barcelona to reach Champions League semi-finals

Bayern Munich saw off Barcelona to progress to the Champions League semi-finals after a one-sided drubbing in Lisbon.

Just 31 minutes in there had been five goals as Barcelona were put to the sword by their opponents.

Thomas Muller gave Bayern the lead after only four minutes as he guided Ivan Perisic’s cross into Robert Lewandowski for a neat one-two before curling a shot into the bottom corner.

Their lead was short lived though as defender David Alaba comically lobbed his own keeper moments later to level the scoring in a frenzied start.

But that was as close as Barcelona got.

Ivan Perisic restored Bayern’s advantage midway through the first half, before Serge Gnabry gave them a two-goal cushion, with Muller’s second putting them practically out of sight.

Luis Suarez gave Barca brief hope with a well-taken goal in the second half, but Bayern hit back soon after through Joshua Kimmich.

Philippe Coutinho then hammered the final nail in his parent club as he assisted for Lewandowski before scoring twice himself to complete the rout.

Here are the talking points.

  1. Bayern breeze through

It was the pick of the quarter-final ties. A Clash of the Titans, as two giants of European football collided.

But while the sides looked evenly matched on paper, Barca’s decline was laid bare for all to see.

They pressed Bayern at every turn but were so disorganised defensively the German side just cut them to ribbons.

Bayern played a brave game of their own, insisting on playing a high line which caused them to come a cropper for the equaliser.

As it happened though Bayern didn’t need to feel too concerned about the threat in behind them, as their quality in the final third put them well in command.

It wasn’t quite the close-run contest we expected, but it was still a great spectacle.

And sadly for Barcelona it confirmed, as suspected, they are currently not the side they once were.

  1. Barca’s defence exposed

For all their talent up front, Barcelona were simply atrocious at the back.

Every time Bayern attacked they looked like scoring – and for much of the first half they did.

The German’s are a real force going forward but Barca made it so easy for them.

They were stood like statues when Muller scored the first, and were completely exposed for the goals from Perisic and Gnabry.

Muller’s second capped off a frantic few minutes where Barca’s back four were all at sea and the game was as good as finished after half an hour.

Gerard Pique then worryingly showed the first signs of father time catching up with him as Alphonso Davies glided past him to set up the fifth, before Barcelona were left truly embarrassed.


  1. Muller’s milestone

The Bayern striker made his 113th Champions League appearance – the most by any German player in the competition’s history.

Which is quite the achievement when you consider he’s still only 30.

Muller led his team superbly from the front, kicking off the scoring by guiding a left-foot shot into the corner.

It was his work in the build-up which was more impressive though as he rolled back the years to volley Perisic’s cross first time into Lewandowski and skip round his marker with a quick give-and-go.

His second was true striker’s instinct to help home Joshua Kimmich’s cross to score from six yards out. The kind of finish we’ve come to expect from the perennial poacher.

Muller may be entering the twilight of his career but he shows no signs of slowing down, and on a night where all eyes were on Lewandowksi it was his strike partner who stole the plaudits.

  1. Messi vs Lewandowski

Pre-match talk centred around the battle for supremacy between each side’s leading striker.

And while neither player truly shone, one man certainly ended the evening the happier.

Messi showed flashes of his brilliance but didn’t see enough of the ball to make a real impact.

Bayern played a high line to keep him as far from goal as possible and they managed to keep him fairly contained.

Lewandowski didn’t really sparkle either but quietly went about his business and helped set up Bayern’s first before scoring late on.

The Pole had put the ball in the net once alread only to be correctly denied by the offside flag, but eventually got his reward.

Make no mistake – Messi is still the master. But it wasn’t his night this time round.

  1. Man City await

As one top side falls by the wayside another awaits for Bayern as they set up a mouth-watering semi-final with Man City.

On this evidence Pep Guardiola will no doubt be losing at least a few hours sleep between now and then as Bayern were absolutely rampant.

Barca pressed in similar fashion to how City tend to play but walked right into the hands of Bayern who picked them off at will.

City’s defence is hardly bulletproof either, and they will have to run a tight ship if they want any chance of reaching the final.

But whatever happens, it promises to be a huge spectacle.

  1. Coutinho crosses the line

If Philippe Coutinho had any hope of reviving his Barcelona career it ended with his cameo performance against them.

The Brazilian was a surprise substitution off the bench against his parent club with 10 minutes remaining.

And he had no qualms about contributing to their exit, as he scored twice and set up another.

Coutinho opted not to celebrate all three but it matters little. His time at the Nou Camp is over.

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