Powerful, gleeful Bayern going to Wembley

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Lionel Messi started -- and finished, as well -- watching Barcelona from the bench as Bayern shamed the Nou Camp, the Argentinian striker looking glum through 90 minutes of camera breakaways on Wednesday to focus on one man who didn't matter at all.

Not one bit.

After all, Barcelona had given up before they had even started; starting (a half-fit) Messi on the bench, coupled with defensive problems? Alex Song a direct substitution for Sergio Busquets? No Abidal? No Alba? No Mascherano? No Puyol?


- Tomas: Messy without Messi
- Tyler: Bayern signal changing of the guard
- Robben thrilled to reach another final
- Pique: Worst moment of my career
- Press Pass: Bayern blast Barcelona

While it ended up being picking fish out of a barrel for Munich, Barca manager Tito Vilanova was confident of his starting XI to get at least four against Bayern. But, it wouldn't work this week, as it didn't work last, despite the offensive replacements: Cesc Fabregas in the false nine, David Villa for Alexis Sanchez.

Barca would do what it's been trained to -- ball possession, and tiki-taka passing -- that amounted to nearly nothing as Bayern Munich countered with savvy pressing and counter-attacks, taking the teams in to the half at 0-0.

Arjen Robben -- the man everyone loves to hate -- would seal the nails on the Barca coffin just three minutes after the restart from a brilliant David Alaba launch. Sanchez came on for Xavi, and Thiago for Andres Iniesta -- with Messi still auf der Bank -- before Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez and Philipp Lahm were subbed out to protect a likely finals appearance in Wembley.

Hearing the Bayern faithful through much of the game was amazing! Knowing that 100 of my friends were singing "Hey! Hey! Who the f--- is Barcelona?" Awesome. Parallels can be drawn regarding atmosphere with all the big clubs, but I'd put Bayern's traveling fans against anyone's.

Gerard Pique made the match way more entertaining than it should have been by striking Franck Ribery's excellently delivered cross past Victor Valdes. And, Ribery would again get in to the action -- lifting a cross which Thomas Mueller headed home.

Sad, almost. Thought they would have put up more of a fight, a la Real Madrid. Noting that Tuesday's Madrid put up a battle in the first 15 and the last 15, and if it weren't for some Roman Weidenfeller magic, Bayern would face Madrid on May 25.

So it goes.

But for now, and the next weeks ahead? This is Bayern. This is Dortmund. This is the Champions League final in London. It's not a "taking over" of Spanish clubs. It's just a fresh look at what else is out there.


Que sera, sera! What ever will be, will be... We're going to Wembley! Que sera, sera . . .

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