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UEFA Champions League Semifinal LIVE: Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich

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Bayern sacks Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the Champions League Semifinals

Picture Credit: FC Barcelona

Well, the bleeding has stopped for the time being.  The 90 minute drubbing that ended in Bayern completely embarassing the Catelans 4-0 will be dissected and broken down by the experts for the next week.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about this game:

1.  Possession isn't everything.

One shot on goal from this team!  Messi cannot carry this team, especially when he's not 100%.  Barcelona wouldn't have even made it to this point had Messi not saved them against PSG, and he cannot perform now.  The important statistic to take note of - corner kicks.  With a height advantage like Bayern have, 11 corners is going to result in goals.  Barcelona cannot compete with this, and it showed.

2. Barcelona's defense will be even more depleted in the return leg.

Jordi Alba received a yellow card for this ridiculously stupid move.  The impact?  He's out on card accumulation for the return, meaning the defense which has problems without Puyol is now missing their first choice left back.  Bayern exploited the defense with him in the squad.

3.  Chris Miles is juiced.

Bayern is a team of destiny this season, and fans like Chris Miles know this team has forgotten the debacle in the finals last season and is clearly focused on the treble this year.


Dare we say it - Bayern is up 3-0...no, they are up 4-0

Picture Credit: Fox Soccer

Robben worked his way around the Barcelona defense to net a third goal for Bayern Munich.  That said, Muller should be credited with an assist again for the nifty little way he cleared the way for Arjen Robben.

Update as I type this.  Muller puts a fourth goal in the net for Bayern Munich.  Dear Lord, this is ridiculously bad for Barcelona.

Bayern 2-0 to the good

Barcelona is really having trouble with the physicality and height of Bayern.  Gomez volleyed one in the goal off a wonderful header that Muller climbed to win from yet another corner kick for Bayern.

First Half Ends: Bayern 1, Barcelona 0

Picture Credit: ESPN

Barcelona, as is usually the case, is dominating possession 63%-37%.  However, Bayern has 8 corner kick's to Barcelona's 2, and Barcelona has only 1 shot (0 on goal).

Possession is meaningless if you can't do anything with the ball.  Nothing is taking place because Bayern is controlling the middle of the pitch.  Barcelona is allowed to play up, but are quickly met with opposition as soon as they cross midfield with the ball.  Therefore, all of the possession has been above 18 yards.


"First Blood to Bayern"

Thomas Muller knocks down a header to net the first goal of the match.  Advantage and momentum are both Bayern's to hold right now.

Before the kickoff, Fox Soccer's commentators noted the noticeable height difference between the sides.  This goal is a result of that height advantage:

Bayern starts off in control of the first ten minutes


This tweet sums up the first ten minutes of the match.  Bayern not dominating, but certainly controlling as Barcelona's control of the ball in the midfield hasn't been established.

On another note, the crowd in Allianz Arena is demonstrating why they want their team to advance.  Absolutely electric in the first ten minutes.

Starting Lineups: Bayern and Barcelona

This is a game of powerful midfields.  On the German side you have Ribery, Robben, and Schweinsteiger that are leaders on this team and their respective national teams.  The magical duo of Xavi and Iniesta have been controlling the Barcelona style of ball possession since their current run of dominence has begun.

The real question is whether Bayern's defense and midfield can control the ball enough to take Messi out of the game, and whether Barcelona's defense is solid enough to hold the 5 midfield setup of Bayern and speed of Robben.  There's no real advantage for either team unless they begin to control the game.  To this end, Barcelona may hold a slight edge simply because their game, style, and deep understanding together.

Bayern Lineup

G, Manuel Neuer
D, Dante
D, Jerome Boateng
D, Philipp Lahm
D, David Alaba
M, Franck Ribéry
M, Javi Martínez
M, Arjen Robben
M, Thomas Müller
M, Bastian Schweinsteiger
F, Mario Gomez

Barcelona Lineup

G, Victor Valdés
D, Dani Alves
D, Gerard Piqué
D, Marc Bartra
D, Jordi Alba
M, Xavi
M, Andrés Iniesta
M, Sergio Busquets
F, Alexis Sánchez
F, Lionel Messi
F, Pedro

UEFA Champions League Semifinal LIVE: Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich

Picture Credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe

Barcelona and Bayern meet in a titillating (thank you Colonel Darius) matchup in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals today. Both teams are fine domestically. Bayern has wrapped up the Bundesliga title already, and Barcelona shot to an strong lead in La Liga earlier this season thanks to Real Madrid starting with a slump. This is the only meaningful competition left for both teams.

Bayern may have the advantage here. Their domestic form is nearly immaculate. Bayern has only lost one game this season domestically, boast a goal differential of +75, and are poised to also win the domestic cup competition. Bayern showed with ease how they can outplay the Italian champions Juventus last round. Barcelona, on the other hand, showed in the last game their over reliance on Messi who is still plagued by some nagging injuries.

Bayern are looking for their third final in four years, and with the form of this season, hoisting the trophy that slipped through their fingers last season. Oh yeah, there's a guy by the name of Pep Guardiola who will be coaching Bayern next season. Remember him? He's the one that led Barcelona to their two Champions League titles.