Heynckes: We were tactically brilliant

The Bayern Munich coach heaped praise on his troops after their 4-0 rout of Barcelona, describing the performance as the peak of their “extraordinary year”

Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes paid tribute to his players for executing his game plan “brilliantly” in their sensational 4-0 trouncing of Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Two goals from Thomas Muller and a strike apiece from Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez secured a memorable victory at the Allianz Arena and see Bayern place one foot in the final, and Heynckes was thrilled at the all-round effort from his charges.

“We have played extraordinary football all year,” he told Sky Sport Germany. “The appetite for success is huge after the last two years.

“My team made our tactics work brilliantly. We ran and we fought, and that’s down to our strength and class.”

With Bayern having already wrapped up the Bundesliga and booked their place in the DFB Pokal final, Heynckes is well on course to complete an historic treble before being replaced by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola in the summer.

Barca exposed: Bayern shake the football world

The Bavarians tore Barcelona apart to send shockwaves through the sport and leave themselves 90 minutes away from Wembley

By Kris Voakes

They were sharper, they were slicker, they were stronger and they were simply supreme. But, against many expectations, ‘they’ were Bayern Munich and not Barcelona as die Roten’s 4-0 win in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Allianz Arena provided an evening to remember that Bavaria will remember for years to come.


25 GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL FOR BAYERN! A cross is stood up to the back post and Dante heads the ball back across goal to Muller, who squeezes a header past Valdes!!
49 BAYERN DOUBLE THEIR LEAD! Robben swings a corner kick to the back post and Muller nods the ball down to Gomez, and the unmarked German slots home from a yard! Where on earth where the defenders?!
73 3-0!!! Schweinsteiger slides the ball out to Robben who takes on Jordi Alba before cutting inside from the byline and curling a superb finish into the bottom left corner!
82 THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!!! 4-0!! Alaba runs on the overlap down the left-hand side and lashes a cross along the six yard box for Muller, who nets from close range!! He’s deserved that goal!

In so many ways, Bayern had everything Barcelona didn’t. The Catalans were ponderous and slow, whereas FCB had pace, power and a fair degree of panache. They looked the better side almost from the word go, and by the end the much-lauded Blaugrana had been left in a crumpled heap by a spectacular showing from the home side.

As early as the third minute Bayern were serving notice of their intent, with Arjen Robben getting on the end of a fluid move and testing Victor Valdes with an angled shot. But that would be far from the final test for the Blaugrana back line as Jupp Heynckes’ side forced the issue and showed just how weak the Catalans’ defence is without the leadership and organisational quality of Carles Puyol.

There was just no let up. Barca had large periods of possession, but the penetration was simply lacking. Bayern, on the other hand, were just too big, too strong and too sharp. Every time they threatened, the Spanish leaders looked likely to leak a goal.

They finally did on 25 minutes when Dante won a complete mismatch in the air against Dani Alves to steer a header across the face of goal towards the unmarked Thomas Muller. The Germany international fired in a shot that Valdes found too hot to handle.

Bayern’s second felt like something of a sucker-punch, with Muller nodding down a Robben corner for the offside Mario Gomez, but again the Catalans had been simply atrocious in the aerial challenge. By the letter of the law the goal should not have stood, but Barca deserved to be two goals down.

Robben made it three after a blatant foul by Muller on Jordi Alba, but the goal again came about after abysmal defending. The very fact that the left back was left to encounter a two-on-one situation should not be overlooked in the post-match ruckus over the legality of the strike.

By the time Muller tapped in a fourth, it was almost an inevitability. Barca had been battered, and deservedly so. This was a result aided to some degree by poor officiating, but the 4-0 scoreline was also massively conditioned by defending worthy of a much more damning adjective.

Some were quick to point out that Lionel Messi was well short of fitness, and that is certainly true. But when push came to shove, Barcelona simply had no answer to a fitter, stronger and ultimately better side.

Bayern will now go to the Camp Nou next Wednesday with as much of a strut as any away team can do when heading to the famous Catalan coliseum, while Tito Vilanova and his men will have a huge task on their hands to simply keep some interest in the tie. Die Roten are heading to Wembley. They may have choked before, but their demonstration of how to pick apart an ailing defence on Tuesday night is proof positive that they have what it takes to be clinical when it matters this time around.

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Rummenigge: Battering Barcelona 'like a dream'

The former West Germany international was blown away by the Bavarians’ performance against the Blaugrana, but acknowledged the advantage of facing an unfit Lionel Messi

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has admitted that his side’s stunning 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night felt “like a dream”.

The Bavarians went into the game at the Allianz Arena as slight favourites, but few pundits foresaw Jupp Heynckes’ men sweeping the Catalans aside as they did, with a Thomas Muller double and a goal apiece from Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben.

Rummenigge admits he was bowled over by the standard of his side’s display, telling Sky Deutschland: “We won 4-0 against the best team in the world. That is like a dream here tonight.

“We played beautifully. We did not give our opponents any chances. I do not think Barca ever had a game where they had so few chances.“

The legendary striker was full of praise for two-goal hero Muller, but he was keen to acknowledge that Blaugrana star Lionel Messi had clearly not recovered from his recent hamstring trouble.

“Thomas Muller had a fantastic match,” Rummenigge enthused. “But I still think Messi is the number one. I don’t think he was completely fit.”

Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona: Messi and Co overrun as Germans all but seal final berth

Bayern Munich took a massive step towards the Champions League final with an incredible 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona in the first leg of their last-four clash at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

On the same day that they stunned the football world by capturing Mario Gotze from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund, the Bavarian giants again reminded everyone that they are a force to be reckoned with by playing the toothless Blaugrana off the pitch.

Thomas Muller opened the scoring with a close-range header, and put the second on a plate for Mario Gomez minutes into the second half.

Muller would controversially play a role in Arjen Robben’s goal after appearing to foul Jordi Alba off the ball, before tapping in the fourth himself with eight minutes remaining to round off the biggest-ever margin of victory in a Champions League semi-final.

Mario Gomez replaced the suspended Mario Mandzukic up front for the hosts, while for the visitors, Marc Bartra partnered Gerard Pique in defence with Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano injured.

Bayern could have been ahead as early as the fourth minute. Robben exchanged passes with Gomez, and it took the outstretched legs of Victor Valdes to deny the Dutch winger from point-blank range.

Barca were winning the possession battle, but it was the Bavarian side who controlled the opening exchanges. Javi Martinez’s tumble in the box was correctly ignored by the referee, who was forced into a bigger no-call when Philipp Lahm’s shot struck Pique’s elbow.

The Barca defender headed wide at the other end from a corner, but it was an isolated scare from the blunted Catalans, and with 25 minutes on the clock, Bayern made their superiority count.

A corner was worked to Robben, whose cross was flicked on by Dante, and Muller was first to the ball, sneaking a header past Valdes at the near post.

But Dante had to be alert to prevent a quick response from Barca, poking away Dani Alves’ cross at full stretch from the unmarked Lionel Messi, in a dangerous position where an own-goal could have easily occurred.

Gomez then picked up the first yellow card of the game for barging into Messi, and he was quickly followed into the book by Bartra and Martinez for challenges on Muller and Andres Iniesta either side of the interval.

But any hopes that Barca had for the half-time break to revitalize them were dashed only four minutes after the restart, when Bayern exposed their soft centre once again to go two goals ahead.

Just like the first goal, Robben’s delivery was met by a Bayern head, with Muller guiding the ball towards the goal line, where Gomez was waiting to gleefully bundle the ball home, albeit from an unnoticed offside position.

The Bundesliga side were simply dominating, and the match threatened to get ugly very fast for Barca had Muller and Franck Ribery been more accurate when presented with the chance to pick their spot from great shooting positions.

But the third goal was always on the cards, and it duly arrived with 17 minutes remaining, albeit in contentious circumstances. Muller’s off-the-ball block on Alba went unheeded, and with the full-back out of the way, Robben curled sublimely into the far corner.

And in the 82nd minute, it was 4-0. David Alaba’s overlapping run down the left ended with a low cross into the six-yard area, where Muller was waiting to turn into the back of the net to leave the second leg at Camp Nou as little more than a formality, and finish off an epic 24 hours for Bayern.

TEAM NEWS: Bartra paired with Pique in Barcelona's defence for Bayern clash

The 22-year-old defender is a surprise inclusion to play in the heart of the visitors’ back four, with Lionel Messi also starting after being cleared fit to play

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Martinez, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Muller, Ribery; Gomez.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Bartra, Alba; Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Sanchez.

More to follow…