So the secret to beating Barcelona is out: press them all over the pitch; knock them out of their measured and methodical style – and pray that they cannot call on Lionel Messi to weave his magic.
Bayern Munich were simply magnificent, over both legs, and it looks like the end of an era for a team until recently acknowledged as the best in the world. A club record 7-0 aggregate defeat will rock Barcelona to the core, and it’s hard to see a way back.
The intricate passing and seamless transition of play was non-existent against a Bayern side who carried out their game plan to the letter. I can’t remember seeing a Barcelona side in recent times resort to hopeful long balls as desperation and frustration set in.
Suddenly the looked ordinary, out of the depth almost, and as their belief waned, so the confidence of the German giants grew and their 3-0 win at the Nou Camp – following on from their 4-0 triumph in Munich – was no more than they deserved.
Just as Borussia Dortmund had dismantled Real Madrid with similar German efficiency – so reducing their match winner Cristiano Ronaldo to little more than a crestfallen spectator – Bayern sent out a further message to the world.Bundesliga is best.
For years we have posed the question – is the Premier League better than La Liga? Now the Bundesliga comes into the equation. And I was interested to hear the views of an informed Bayern fan last night when he suggested where England’s top flight is going wrong.
‘You need less foreign stars and more homegrown players from the lower leagues’ declared the ecstatic Bayern fan, who is looking forward to an all-Bundesliga final at Wembley. This time, a welcome German invasion of London!
In conclusion, it’s worth listening to the views of Arjen Robben who has sampled life in the Premier League (Chelsea); La Liga (Real Madrid) and now the Bundesliga (Bayern) on why the Germans have dominated the Champions League this season.
In assessing how Bayern took the beauty out of Barca, he said: “We play as a team, not just going forward but, more importantly, defensively. We are very well organised and everyone knows their job. Don’t give them space and, first and foremost, be organised.”
Shame our Premier League representatives didn’t pay heed to those words of wisdom. Lessons to be learned.