BARCELONA (Sporting Alert) — Bayern Munich ripped apart a Barcelona side without the inspirational Lionel Messi to its place into the final of the Champions League and setup an all German final for the first time in the competition.
Coming into the game with a comfortable 4-0 cushion from the first leg, Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 3-0 at the Camp Nou to take the tie 7-0 on aggregate.
The final at Wembley Stadium on May 25, now see the German champions facing off with Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund, who also beat a Spanish giant in Real Madrid to book their place on Tuesday.
A brilliant strike from Arjen Robben, an own goal by Gerard Pique and a Thomas Mueller header wrapped up the easy win for Bayern, who dominated Barcelona, which left leading striker Messi was an unused substitute.
Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova was heavily criticized for not starting with Messi to give his team a chance of trying for what would have been a spectacular comeback, but his teammate Gerard Pique said the 25-year-old would have prevented the defeat.
“The fact Lionel Messi, the best player in the world, did not play was a factor,” the Barcelona and Spanish defender said.
“But I do not think [he] would have changed things all that much.”
It was believed that Messi aggravated his hamstring after coming on to score and setup a goal in La Liga on so Vilanova did not want to take any risk.
However, several pundits criticized the boss for picking the Argentine captain if he knew wasn’t going to play him from the start.
Television pundits such as Alan Shearer and Mark Hughes felt it would have been a good idea to start Messi and see what he could do to inspire his team.
Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes added that the absence of Messi made things difficult for Barcelona.
“We played an outstanding game but there is a difference of Barca with and without Messi,” he said. “But it is a result one could not forecast.
“I know the philosophy of Barcelona and my team understood extremely well how to deploy our tactics. It was harder than it looked.
“My team was very focused… we knew what we were up against.”