Guardiola's Bayern Munich show their class
Bayern's emphatic win over Porto sets up potential fairy-tale meeting with Barcelona
QUARTER-FINAL, 2nd LEG:
BAYERN MUNICH 6
(Thiago Alcantara 14, Jerome Boateng 22, Robert Lewandowski 27, 40, Thomas Mueller 36, Xabi Alonso 88)
(Jackson Martinez 73)
- Bayern win 7-4 on agg
The sharpened knives went back into their sheaths.
Not only did coach Pep Guardiola weather his first major crisis at Bayern Munich (above), he also did it in scintillating style.
He had his work cut out for him in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Porto yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Injuries had ravaged his squad. the departure of popular team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, who said his medical team was blamed for the first-leg defeat, had led to unrest in the dressing room.
Then there was also the small matter of overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.
But Bayern bared their fangs, oozing class as they romped to a 6-1 victory over Porto. Not only did they hit the bullseye, they also hit it dead centre.
On such form, Bayern under normal circumstances would have been hot favourites to lift the Champions League crown.
But no one dares to make such a hasty prediction. At least not when Barcelona are also in the running.
It does, however, set up a potential fairy-tale final in Berlin on June 6.
Barcelona's own victory over Paris Saint-Germain had been just as comprehensive.
The French club were expected to put up a fierce struggle, but Barcelona didn't allow them to. Luis Enrique's men beat them 3-1 in Paris, then yesterday morning ended their muted resistance with a 2-0 win.
Midfielder Andres Iniesta showed voracious appetite for a fourth Champions League winner's medal. Forward Neymar sparkled with his two-goal performance. Fullback Dani Alves showed why he is such hot property as his Barcelona contract nears its end. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez didn't even need to be at their best.
Guardiola knows all about the Catalan giants. He enjoyed an illustrious playing career with the Blaugrana, then as coach led them to greatness during his stint from 2008 to 2012 - three La Liga, two Copa del Rey, and two Champions League titles.
But he has an equally star-studded cast to take on his former team should their paths collide.
He witnessed the wonders his team could produce when the pressure was at its maximum.
The absence of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger from his starting line-up had robbed him of some of the world's finest talents.
But Bayern tore Porto apart with such ferocity that probably no one noticed.
Thiago Alcantara's 14th-minute opener and Jerome Boateng's 22nd-minute goal put them 2-0 up and in the driver's seat. Robert Lewandowski's double and Thomas Mueller's goal gave them a 5-0 half-time lead.
Porto pulled one back through Jackson Martinez, although Bayern had the final say when Xabi Alonso found the net with an exquisite free-kick two minutes from time.
After a performance like this, the fans simply couldn't get enough of Bayern, who have been flooded with 271,000 requests from the club's members alone for semi-final tickets.
They don't know who they will get in the last four - the draw will be made only tomorrow.
But you can almost imagine them praying it won't be Barcelona in the semis.
Not because they fear them. But that it's a dream final that they want.
BULLSEYE: If they win the Champions League, it will be Bayern’s sixth european crown
First goal: THIAGO ALCANTARA
QUICK FACT: Bayern are attempting to repeat their 2013 treblewinning season — european Cup, Bundesliga and German Cup.
Second goal: JEROME BOATENG
Third goal: ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI
Many people thought we couldn’t do it, but we are FC Bayern Munich. - Robert Lewandowski
QUICK FACT: Mueller, with 27 goals, is now Germany’s top scorer in Champions League history.
Fourth goal: THOMAS MUELLER
Sometimes it’s fun to play with your backs against the wall. We all had hopes, but no one expected that. - Thomas Mueller
Fifth goal; ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI
QUICK FACT: Lewandowski now has 22 goals in all competitions
Sixth goal; XABI ALONSO
Absent: ARJEN ROBBEN
Absent: FRANCK RIBERY
Absent: DAVID ALABA
Absent: MEDHI BENATIA
QUICK FACT: Bayern became the first side to score five goals in the opening 45 minutes of a Champions League knockout game.
‘GOALGASM!’ The excitement clearly got to Pep Guardiola who ended up splitting his trousers while screaming sideline instructions. “Italian tailors make trousers really tight, that’s probably why Pep’s broke!” Thomas Mueller said. German daily Bild dubbed it as a “Goalgasm!’’ (“Torgasum’’ in German).
QUICK FACT: Bayern can pick up their first silverware of the season on saturday if they beat Hertha Berlin at home to claim their third straight Bundesliga title
We have seen something miraculous. - Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
QUICK FACT: Bayern are in the last four of europe for the fourth year running.
QUICK FACT: This will be the sixth time in succession Guardiola has coached a team to the last four in europe after four times with Barcelona and now twice with Bayern.
QUICK FACT: The Champions League semifinal draw is tomorrow.
QUICK FACT: Bayern have received about 271,000 requests for semi-final tickets, and that from Bayern members alone. Munich’s Allianz Arena’s capacity is 70,000 for european matches
"Many thanks to my players, they have made me very happy."
- Bayern coach Pep Guardiola