Barca thump woeful Bayern
Barcelona drew within reach of the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League as they put four past Bayern Munich.
Last Updated: 08/04/09 10:24pm
Barcelona drew within reach of the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League as they put four past Bayern Munich in a spectacular display at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto were all on the scoresheet for the tournament favourites who tore apart their German opponents.
Messi, who secured a brace, played at the top of his game and appeared oozing with confidence as he weaved through the Bayern back-four on countless occasions.
A packed crowd of 96,000 performed standing ovations for the Barca stars as they secured a 4-0 advantage heading into the second leg in Germany.
Bayern had advanced to the quarter-finals in style, thrashing Sporting Lisbon 12-1 on aggregate to seal a spot in the last eight.
But Jurgen Klinsmann's side have been less impressive in the Bundesliga.
They came into this match in fourth place and on the back of a humiliating 5-1 defeat at Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Following that disappointment, Klinsmann opted to drop goalkeeper Michael Rensing, while Philip Lahm remains short of fitness and was left on the bench.
With striker Miroslav Klose out injured and Lukas Podolski set to leave the club at the end of the season, Bayern began with Italy striker Luca Toni alone up front.
But Barcelona, with only Eric Abidal missing from their strongest XI, fielded a customary attack-minded line-up.
With Xavi and Andres Iniesta pulling the strings in midfield and Messi, Eto'o and Henry causing havoc up front, Pep Guardiola's side soon took control of the game.
Henry almost put the home side in front after six minutes, but the former Arsenal man saw his shot cleared off the line by Martin Demichelis.
That was a warning for Bayern and three minutes later, Barca went in front.
The Catalans tore the visitors' defence apart with a flowing move and Eto'o set up Messi, who drilled a neat finish past Hans-Jorg Butt to open the floodgates.
And three minutes later, Messi returned the compliment as he slid a deadly ball into the path of Eto'o and the Cameroon striker clinically slotted past the helpless Butt.
Messi should have had a penalty five minutes later when he was brought down in the box by Christian Lell.
But instead, the Argentina forward received a booking for his troubles as the Nou Camp roared with disapproval.
Henry then drilled a shot just wide, but the flag was already up for offside and his effort would not have counted.
The France striker was a constant threat to the Bayern defence and he set up Barca's third seven minutes before the break.
Henry beat his marker for pace on the left and flashed a low centre across the six-yard box which Messi poked home with his outstretched right leg to give Barcelona a three-goal lead.
And two minutes before the break, the Catalans scored again.
Messi charged in from the right flank and laid the ball off to Eto'o, who in turn found Henry and the
unmarked Frenchman slid a low angled drive into the bottom right-hand corner to virtually seal Barca's passage to the semi-final within just 45 minutes.
Bayern were also lucky not to go down to 10 men as former Barca midfielder Mark Van Bommel got away with a cynical elbow on Messi just before Henry slotted home.
Iniesta then miscued a shot from six yards out as the locals threatened to go five ahead before the break.
And their dominance continued after the interval.
Messi's shot was pushed onto the woodwork by Butt just short of the hour-mark and Iniesta drilled an effort wide of the target with 12 minutes left.
At the other end, Carles Puyol's last-ditch tackle had denied Ze Roberto shortly before that.
But in truth, Bayern had not been in the game and a goal would have been flattering to the Germans.
Iniesta was denied by Butt late on and Messi's injury-time effort was bizarrely kept out by his own team-mate Seydou Keita, hitting the Cameroon midfielder in the face and ending up out of play.
Rafa Marquez forced a booking late on and will miss the return leg in Munich, but Barcelona should now progress to the semi-finals for the second year running to face either Liverpool or Chelsea.And it looks as if another grudge tie with the Londoners is on the cards after Guus Hiddink's side triumphed 3-1 at Anfield.
|Barcelona||Team Statistics||Bayern München|
|4||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||1|
|9||Shots off Target||2|