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With a 4-0 win in their first semi-final leg, against a club many claim the best of the modern era, Bayern Munich, aside from a complete meltdown in the second leg, have booked their place in this year’s UEFA Champions League final.

Bayern came so close to lifting the trophy last May in their home stadium against Chelsea which many believe they should have won, only to lose in a penalty shoot-out. That night in Bayern’s Allianz Arena was a painful one for the German side to absorb but it could possibly have been the making of the team as this season they sweep aside all-comers. In record breaking pace Bayern have wrapped up the Bundesliga title (the earliest it has ever been done) and crowned Bundesliga Champions. They are on course for a new record points tally in the league and their goal difference stats are frightening as they have scored an incredible 89 goals conceding a mere 14 over 30 games. An average score rate of just under three goals per game.

During this stage of Champions League last season, Bayern came up against Real Madrid, who many seen as the favourites to progress to the final. But they were undone by the German giants who at various points in the two legs both outthought and outfought them pressing Madrid’s creative players while limiting Madrid’s influence on the game by maintaining possession and making the most of their own chances. After both sides won their home legs 2-1 it was tied 3-3 on aggregate leading to extra time and eventually penalties where Bayern seemed to have a stronger mentality to win and advance to the final.

This time around Bayern came up against Madrid’s arch rivals Barcelona in semi-final action looking to again progress to the final at the expense of Spanish opponents. The big news of their opponents was that Lionel Messi returned to the starting line-up after his recent injury and youngster Marc Bartra would partner Gerard Pique in the centre of defence. For Bayern Munich the big change was Mario Gomez replacing the suspended Mario Mandzukic as the main striker.

The pattern for the rest of the match was set in the opening two minutes as Barcelona started playing their usual possession ball but were pressed fast and high up the pitch by a hungry looking Bayern who won the ball and quickly broke on the counter creating a chance for Arjen Robben who would have his shot parried clear by Victor Valdes.

Bayern took the lead midway through the first half when Dante leaped to win a cross into the box only to head it back across goal for Thomas Muller to nod in from close range.

The rest of the half continued with Barcelona enjoying the majority of possession but doing little to trouble the hosts, who looked dangerous on the counter and worked hard throughout the whole team to close down and pressure the Spanish side, with midfield duo Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger in particular, putting in impressive defensive performances.

There was a chance towards the end of the half when a Dani Alves cross looked to be heading to Messi for a tap in but before it could reach the Argentine the impressive Dante managed to stretch out a leg and divert the ball away for a corner.

Only five minutes into the second half and Bayern doubled their lead as Tito Vilanova’s side were again undone from a cross into the box as a corner from Robben was nodded down by Muller into the path of Gomez who slotted in from a few yards, the striker may have been just offside but it was a very close call.

Barca began to work the Bayern defence more after this but they were still coming up short as Jupp Heynckes’ side never looked too troubled as their opponents looked out of ideas. Being continually pressed when in possession and with a Messi clearly not 100% fit and failing to have his usual impact within the Barcelona attack, the visitors were no longer writing their own storyline.

With 73 minutes gone it got even better for Bayern as they went 3-0 up through Arjen Robben although there was controversy in the build-up as Robben skipped past Alba the Barca defender then seemed to be blocked off by Muller but the Dutchman kept his cool to slide a great finish past Valdes and into the corner.

Most sides would be more than happy with this advantage over Barcelona but not this Bayern side who looked as hungry as ever as they continued to pour forward and looked to put this tie out of Barca’s reach and they might well have done just that with 10 minutes left as they incredibly went 4-0 up. A great counter attack sparked by the tireless Franck Ribery played in David Alaba down the left and his cross was steered home by Muller.

A real statement of intent from Bayern Munich as they destroyed many people’s favourites to win the tournament and inflicted Barcelona’s worst ever Champions League away defeat. It now looks like this tie may be beyond even the great Barcelona. With Bayern in this sort of form producing one of the best all round team performances in recent memory, regardless of who will advance from the other semi-final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund it looks like Jupp Heynckes’ men will be the new favourites for the title as the Munich side go in search of a historic treble.

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