Rampant Bayern complete Barca humiliation, storm into Champions League final
Munich: Bayern Munich ensured it will be an all-German Champions League final after they defeated Barcelona 3-0 and completed a 7-0 aggregate victory on Wednesday night.
Arjen Robben fired a perfect left-footed effort past Victor Valdes to make it 1-0, before an own goal from Gerard Pique and Thomas Muller`s strike added insult to injury for the hosts.
Lionel Messi was named on the bench prior to kick-off, but despite that blow Barcelona began on the front foot and enjoyed a positive opening 20 minutes, even if it was bereft of the clear opportunities their early endeavours perhaps deserved.
The Catalans began to suffer against a Bayern defence that was organised and committed around the box, and were forced to try their luck from deep. This almost paid off midway through the first half; Pedro let loose with a fierce effort 35 metres out, but Manuel Neuer was equal to it, in what was the best opening of the first 45 minutes.
Dani Alves then whipped a cross into the box that found Cesc Fabregas. The ex-Arsenal man did well to chest down to Xavi, who found himself free, but the midfielder uncharacteristically lost his cool and fired his volley well over the crossbar.
Despite these moments of pressure, die Roten coped well with the hosts` advances and always looked dangerous breaking from their own half. Robben and Franck Ribery in particular stood out with all-action performances, stretching the Barca backline, albeit without creating too many clear openings before heading in for the interval.
Just three minutes after half-time, the game was over as a contest. David Alaba showed terrific vision deep on the left flank to find Robben on the opposite side of the pitch and though he still had work to do, the Dutchman cut inside of Adriano and fired left-footed past Victor Valdes.
The Blaugrana did not give up after that fatal blow and kept forwards, but there was no joy for the likes of David Villa as they were suffocated in the final third. Indeed, Bayern were the team that continued to enjoy the best opportunities; Robben side footed wide of the post with the goal in full view, after a storming run down the left from Ribery had spilt open the Liga leaders.
Messi remained on the sidelines throughout the 90 minutes, unused as Tito Vilanova recognised that the game was beyond the reach of his charges. Further confirmation was provided by the hapless Gerard Pique, who sliced a cross into his own net with 18 minutes to go. A convincing defeat soon turned into a humiliation when Thomas Muller rose to head in the third, as Bayern marched into their third Champions League final in four years.
The Bavarians` victory tees up a first-ever all-German final in Europe`s premier club competition, as they prepare to face Borussia Dortmund in the showpiece at Wembley on May 25.
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