BARCELONA: The Champions League Final, for the first time, will be an all-German affair after Barcelona shouldered arms and surrendered at home to the imperious command of Bayern Munich.
Bayern, German champions-elect, not content with having won the first leg 4-0 in Bavaria a week ago followed up by demolishing a faded Barcelona 3-0 in Nou Camp and thus 7-0 on aggregate.
A treble even beckons for Bayern who have reached the German cup final and will climax their season by facing Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Final at Wembley on May 25. Thus the Bundesliga can emulate the English, Italian and Spanish championships in having a Champions’ final all to themselves.
Barcelona’s concession of the tie began even before kickoff when coach Tito Vilanova left Leo Messi on the subs’ bench. Messi is still recovering from a hamstring strain but he had scored a magnificent solo goal against Bilbao at the weekend and even a starting presence would have intimidating.
Spared such a challenge, Bayern produced a magnificent all-pitch effort and took a deserved lead three minutes into the second half from Arjen Robben, the Dutch winger’s fifth goal in eight games.
Gerard Pique jabbed a Frank Ribery cross into his own net in the 72nd minute then another left-wing cross from the Frenchman provided Thomas Muller with a headed third. That completed Barcelona’s worst aggregate defeat in the Champions League and the first time they had lost both legs of a European tie since 1987.
Even better for Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, none of his players on a yellow card had collected another and he will thus have a full-strength squad – barring injury – for Wembley.
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