KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: For the second successive season no Spanish club will grace the final of the UEFA Champions League after a Bayern Munich broadside completed the comprehensive sinking of the Spanish armada begun by Manchester City and then RB Leipzig.
Bayern punished a shambolic Barcelona 8-2 to follow Leipzig’s ousting of Atletico Madrid on Thursday and City’s dismissal of Real Madrid in the second round.
While free-flowing Bayern staged an electric display of attacking football they achieved the quarter-final massacre against a team who had virtually stopped running and/or trying long before the end. Barcelona were an embarrassment to themselves in Quique Setien’s inevitable last game in charge.
The Barcelona coach admitted: “It is a tremendously painful defeat, at time we were simply overwhelmed. We started well but Bayern’s overall strength surpassed us.”
This was Barcelona’s first such heavyweight debacle since an 8-0 defeat to Sevilla in April 1946. Early on, as the goals flowed in so the match recalled Germany’s 7-1 devastation of hosts Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer featured in both games.
Not that Hansi Flick’s German champions were perfect. Bayern’s defenders betrayed a dangerous lack of coordination in the opening stages before their masterful forwards left the bereft Leo Messi and Luis Suarez as mere spectators.
Remarkably Robert Lewandowski had to wait until the 81st minute to add his 14th goal of the campaign. Thus Poland’s captain became the fifth player to score in eight or more consecutive Champions League matches and the first since Cristiano Ronaldo in April 2018.
Bayern’s other goals fell to Muller (two), Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and substitute Philippe Coutinho (two). They even contributed to Barcelona’s tally through an early David Alaba own goal.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo (67) and Messi (47) have scored more goals in knockout games in the Champions League than Muller with his 23.
The ever-combative Suarez struck a fine second goal for Barcelona early in the second half but even at 4-2 down the tie was already far beyond them. By the last 10 minutes they had effectively given up. To add to their despair Coutinho, who completed the rout with a late assist and two goals, is on loan to Bayern from Barcelona.
Bayern are the first team in the Champions League era to score eight goals in a knockout match and the first in overall European Cup history since Real Madrid’s dismissal of Wacker Innsbruck in 1990-91. They also now claim a club record tally of 39 goals in Europe.
Six years ago Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer were members of the German national team who thrashed Brazil 7-1 in front of their own fans in the World Cup semi-finals. Now, for their club, they have gone one better.
Bayern will take an awful lot of holding by Manchester City or Lyon in what will be their 12th Champions League semi-final. Only Madrid (13) have managed more.