Bayern Munich put forth a true world-class effort on Tuesday to take a commanding 4-0 lead over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
Much of this first leg will be marred by the faulty officiating on both sides of the pitch, but that shouldn't take away from the comprehensive display by Jupp Heynckes' squad, which took full advantage of its size advantage in front of the goal.
Although Barcelona—as it tends to do—controlled a majority of the possession, the free-flowing tempo gave the home team several chances to move ahead in the early going.
In the 14th minute, Philipp Lahm got into space down the wing before cutting inside and ripping a shot on goal from right on the edge of the box. His missile was knocked down by Gerard Pique, but on a second look, it became clear the ball deflected off the Spaniard's arm.
Screams for a penalty fell on deaf ears and the teams played on, but it wouldn't take long for The Bavarians to get redemption.
Ten minutes later, Arjen Robben sent in a cross to the far post, where Dante rose up easily above Barca's defense to head the ball back across goal. From there, Thomas Muller powered it past Victor Valdes:
The Catalans increased the pressure, but weren't able to create many chances as they headed into the locker room down 1-0.
It took Bayern just four minutes to double its lead with a near replay of its first goal.
In the 49th minute, Robben swung in a corner, where Muller nodded the ball to an unmarked Mario Gomez, who slotted it home from a yard in front of the goal.
There were screams for offsides, but much like with the earlier plead for handball, they went unanswered.
Later in the second half, the lack of a whistle would once again haunt the Catalans, as Robben was able to free himself near the goal thanks to an NBA-quality screen by Muller on Jordi Alba. From there, the Dutchman sent in a clinical finish to make it 3-0.
In the 82nd minute, Muller put the cherry on top with his second goal when he received a wonderful cross from David Alaba and smashed it home.
To add to the nightmare, Alba received a silly yellow card in the 89th minute, meaning the defender will miss the second leg.
After Tuesday's forgettable performance, Barca will certainly be ecstatic to go home, but they now have a gargantuan task in front of them. At Camp Nou next Wednesday, the Catalans will have to win by four—or five if they allow Bayern to score again—to have a chance at advancing to the final.
Andres Iniesta, Barcelona: B+
While Barca wasn't able to do much against Bayern's world-class defense, that was not Iniesta's fault.
The veteran Spaniard was at the center of every attack, stringing together passes, drawing fouls and completing dribbles.
Marc Bartra, Barcelona: C-
Bartra clearly has a very bright future, but Tuesday is a night that he will probably soon want to forget.
Not only was he a part of Barcelona's horrendous marking in front of the goal (it's worth noting that all of the Catalans' defenders, expect maybe Dani Alves, deserve criticism, not just Bartra), but the center-back also found himself with a glorious chance for an away goal but sent a wide-open shot from inside the six-yard box skying over the goal.
Dante, Bayern Munich: A
In addition to his impressive assist to get the scoring started, Dante was the anchor in the back for Bayern's blanket defense. He made several timing clearances in front of goal along with some interceptions and a blocked shot.
Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich: A
The sometimes polarizing midfielder was nearly perfect on Tuesday night.
Not only did he pick up two "hockey assists" with his crosses into the box, but he also had a wonderful finish and several impressive plays on the defense.
It's worth noting that Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger also would have earned an "A" here, highlighting a completely dominant performance for the German squad.
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