Barcelona - Bayern Munich cruised into their third Champions League final in four years
as a 3-0 win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday gave them an
incredible 7-0 aggregate victory.
The absence of Lionel Messi from the Barca starting line-up almost
eradicated any hope of an unlikely comeback before the game had even begun, but
Bayern showed their 4-0 first-leg win last week had been no fluke with a
display of controlled dominance.
Arjen Robben opened the scoring for the visitors with a trademark left-foot
strike just after half-time before a Gerard Pique own-goal and Thomas Müller’s header
in the final 20 minutes ensured Bayern booked their place in an all-German
final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on May 25 in some style.
Already without Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba through injury and suspension
respectively, Barca were handed another huge blow before kick-off as the
persistence of a hamstring injury suffered in the first leg of the tie against
Paris Saint-Germain in the last round forced Messi to start on the bench.
Without their talisman, Barca started tentatively and only a desperate
sliding challenge from Pique prevented Robben from having a clear shot on goal
after he galloped clear down the left on 11 minutes.
Pique had to be alert again seven minutes later as he again slid in to deny
Philipp Lahm at the end of a wonderful Bayern move.
Pedro finally forced Manuel Neuer into a save on 23 minutes with a
long-range effort that the German number one turned round the post and Xavi
then had the hosts' best chance of the first period as he hooked over on the
volley after Cesc Fabregas had chested the ball down inside the area.
However, Barca were still out of sorts with a number of uncharacteristically
long balls failing to find their target and another weak effort from distance
by Adriano was the only other effort they managed on goal before the break.
It only took three minutes after the restart for Bayern to completely wipe
away any lingering doubts they would be travelling to London for the final when
Robben collected a raking cross-field pass from David Alaba, cut inside Adriano
onto his favoured left foot and buried a rasping drive past Victor Valdes into
the far corner.
Robben ought to have had a second moments later as another quick Bayern
break caught Barca outnumbered at the back, but this time the former Real
Madrid man couldn't get the required touch to Franck Ribery's cross and the
ball dribbled wide.
A sustained period of possession from the German champions then brought
cries of "ole" from the visiting fans, much to the chagrin of the
locals as Barca chased shadows in the way they are so accustomed to making
their opponents do.
With home coach Tito Vilanova acknowledging the game was up, he then
withdrew Xavi and Andres Iniesta, whilst Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes took off
Bastian Schweinsteiger to avoid him picking up another yellow card which would have
seen him miss the final.
But further pain was inflicted upon the hosts 18 minutes from time when a
beautiful pass from Luis Gustavo played in Ribery down the left and his cross
was sliced into his own net by Pique.
And three minutes later it was 3-0 on the night as more terrific play from
Ribery saw him burst past Alex Song and dink a lovely ball to the far post for Müller
to head home his third goal of the tie.