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Bayern München vs Barcelona

24 April 2013-PA Sport

Bayern magnificent in Barca romp

Bayern Munich is on course for its third UEFA Champions League final in four years after a comprehensive and convincing 4-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of the semi-final at the Allianz Arena.

Two goals from Thomas Muller and one each from Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben gave Jupp Heynckes' side an advantage which, added to the manner of its victory, leaves the Catalan side little hope of turning things around at the Nou Camp next week.

Barcelona eased into its possession game from the outset, but Bayern, a side which wrapped up the Bundesliga in record time this season, and scored 16 goals in the space of 10 days recently, certainly had no reason to feel inferior.

Not only did it play Barca at its own game, it did it even better.

For Xavi, read Javi Martinez, for a well-marshalled Lionel Messi, you could take your pick from either Robben, Muller or Franck Ribery.

Quicker to close down its opponent, Bayern was also swifter in spreading the play, and unsurprisingly it had the first chance with Robben exchanging passes with Martinez before shooting straight at Victor Valdes in the second minute.

Bayern had a clear hunger to make amends for last May's defeat to Chelsea, a result which remains a painful memory in these parts.

Two penalty appeals which had convinced the Allianz Arena crowd were not as much entertained by referee Viktor Kassai.

But Bayern did not need any helping hands as it crafted out a stylish opener in the 25th minute.

Robben's cross from the right picked out Dante at the far post, and he returned the ball to the opposite post where Muller was encroaching to head in the opener with Valdes unable to stop the ball before it crept in.

Muller was the man who had given Bayern the lead in the final last May, but few were now thinking back to what happened next in that game.

Dante averted a minor scare five minutes later when he got in a vital touch just in front of an anonymous Messi from Pedro's cross, but that was a mere punctuation in a dominant display from Bayern.

Its superiority became reflected in the scorelline in the 49th minute when Robben's corner was headed down at the far post by Muller with an unmarked Gomez sweeping the ball in from underneath the crossbar.

An intrepid Robben then set up Ribery, who dragged a shot wide of the far post in the 55th minute as Bayern sought a greater cushion.

It established that in the 72nd minute when Robben capped a fine individual performance by sliding the ball inside the far post after getting in around the back of Jordi Alba, who appeared to be impeded by Muller in the build-up.

Marc Bartra wasted a rare opportunity for the guest in the 76th minute before Muller wrapped things up six minutes later, tucking the ball in from close range after David Alaba got round the back of Barca's crumbling defence.

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