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Bayern Munich steamrolled past a hapless looking Barcelona, the latter who were without star Lionel Messi, by 3-0 at Camp Nou winning the semi final by an astonishing aggregate of 7-0. So, are Barcelona on their way down and could we finally say Bayern Munich are perhaps the world’s best club? Or has Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song been poor signings for the Blaugrana. In this section Sportzwiki brings you the five talking points of yesterday’s second leg semi final.
ARE BARCELONA ON THEIR WAY DOWN? : The Catalans have had a difficult season with Pep Guardiola leaving last summer and Tito Vilanova’s illness. But that in any way cannot deny the fact that the Catalans were thrashed by a whopping 7-0aggregate by the Bavarians. Barca were not at their very best this season in the Champions League with teams figuring it out on how to beat the Catalans. Without Lionel Messi, the Blaugrana look half the team and they constantly struggle against physically stronger and fitter sides like Bayern Munich. Next season should be more settled, although there is no question that this team is a shadow of the one that destroyed Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley two years ago. The same lineup and the same ideas – have simply not been as good.
SCHWEINSTIGER AND JAVI MARTINEZ PAIRING: Questions were asked about Javi Martinez’s transfer fee from Porto to Bayern but the Spaniard has justified every penny of his price tag. Martinez is perhaps the new Makalele of the modern game. His partnership with Bastian Schweinstiger is like a cathedral which might not be even breached by a bulldozer. Has there ever been a better defensive midfield pairing than Martínez and Schweinsteiger? My answer: NO. They are so good at protecting their back four that Barcelona hardly created any chances throughout the 180 minutes. A Barcelona team who had scored 77 goals in 26 matches at Camp Nou this season failed to even test the German side at both home and away. Simply majestic.
CESC FABREGAS AND ALEX SONG: Both members of the Arsenal duo looked lost yesterday night. The former Arsenal captain is coming to the end of his second season at Camp Nou and it is a shame to see him so hesitant and lacking in confidence. On Wednesday night he was playing as the focal point of the Barca attack with Lionel Messi not risked, but he failed to make any impact whatsoever against a Bayern defense which was without the ill Dante. Song as well hasn’t taken up the challenge whenever he has been handed chances this season and it’s no wonder saying playing for Arsenal and Barcelona are two completely different things. Arsene Wenger might have a wry smile on his face reading this.
MARIO MANDZUKIC: Mario Mandzukic arrived in the summer in what Bayern considered a backup to Mario Gomez. Bayern paid only €13m (£11m) for the Croatian who was joint-top scorer at Euro 2012, which is £4m less than Liverpool paid for Joe Allen, an epitome of money extremely well spent. Mandzukic has scored 20 goals this season but offers so much more than goals. He is a tireless worker and holds the ball up much better than Gomez. Against Barcelona even though he had a quiet game, he harassed Gerard Piqué and Marc Bartra throughout so that they could not pick out their midfielders with any easy passes and was often seen chasing Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Alex Song in midfield. WOW!!
WHAT NOW FOR BAYEN MUNICH: A Champions league final against Dortmund on 25thof May in Wembley. It certainly looks the Bavarians are favorites to clinch the coveted crown. And next season- PEP GUARDIOLA, MARIO GOTZE and a might be ROBERT LEWANDWOSKI. What will be Bayern Munich next season? Unassailable. End of story.