Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich: Martinez Nullifies Iniesta, Bayern Play on Counter

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 1, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 01:  (L- R) Rafinha, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller of Munich celebrate reaching the final following their team's 3-0 victory during the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg match between Barcelona and FC Bayern Muenchen at Nou Camp on May 1, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Bayern Munich picked up where they left off the week before, destroying Barcelona 3-0 at the Camp Nou and 7-0 on aggregate.

Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller scored for the visitors either side of a Gerard Pique own goal, while all of Bayern's players managed to avoid a suspension for the final.

Let's break down what happened from a tactical point of view.


Barcelona used their classic 4-3-3, with Cesc Fabregas in the False 9 role in place of Lionel Messi. Bayern set out in a 4-2-3-1 on paper, but in reality it was a 4-4-2.


In many ways, this game was a carbon copy of the first but for one distinct factor: Bayern were profligate in the final third for the first 45 minutes.

Bastian Schweinsteiger sat in the midfield and regimented the space between the players superbly, while Daniel van Buyten led quite a high defensive line in order to squeeze the play.

The main problem for Barca, yet again, was that they struggled immensely to get the ball into the final third and find a playmaker in space.

Last week Messi rarely received the ball with space to run into and was forced deeper and deeper, and the same thing happened to Cesc on Tuesday, although he was forced wide to the right.

Die Bayern boast quick full-backs who can go yard-for-yard with Barca's, and David Alaba had a standout game both in possession and while tracking runs.

With Dani Alves and Adriano surging forward, the wingers were forced inside. It was a movement that, due to the dominant games both Philipp Lahm and Alaba enjoyed, nullified any possible effect La Blaugrana could have in the wide areas.

When given the chance, Alves' crossing was typically awful.

Javi Martinez...Again

And so, with no space in the final third due to compact lines and a high defensive stance, the onus once more fell upon Andres Iniesta to drive his side up the field.

And, once more, Jupp Heynckes knew this to be the case. Sticking Javi Martinez to him like glue, like in the first leg, forced Iniesta back into his own half in an effort to evade the dogged, physical pressure.

At Camp Nou, Martinez marked and pressured Iniesta once more and stopped him from creating anything. There was one moment in the first half where Iniesta slipped from his grasp, but over the course of the two legs he essentially did nothing.

Regimented and Prolific

Barca pressed forward a little more in the second half, with Alexis Sanchez coming on and Fabregas dropping into midfield.

But the immense positioning of Bayern and in particular the discipline of the back line saw every attack snuffed out easily. Even Jerome Boateng, who generally makes mistakes, only made one small error which didn't cost his side.

Every ball inside the full-back was cut out, and all of Valdes' longer kicks were headed clear.

And then, in the second half, Bayern stopped making mistakes in the final third: Robben started the fun by cutting in and scoring (come on Adriano, that's what he does...), then Gerard Pique and Thomas Mueller made the scoreline an embarrassing read.

Bayern were able to sit on a 4-0 aggregate lead in a 4-4-1-1(ish) shape and counterattack, but their buildup play from the back in starting attacks was even better than Barca's.


A sobering affair for Barca, who lost this semifinal 7-0 on aggregate, but by no means is this the end for them.

Many ask whether they'll give up on tiki-taka now that it's been bested, but that's nonsense—you don't abandon more than 20 years of work because of one bad campaign.

Congratulations to Bayern for reaching the final, making for an all-German affair at Wembley later this month.


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