Every single player for Bayern Munich did his part, while Manuel Neuer never had to do anything. At the center of everything was Javi Martinez, who completely destroyed the passing game of his opponents, allowing Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger to roam free and create counter attack at a relentless pace.
It might not have been the perfect game if the referee had eyes – Dante fouled Dani Alves on the first goal, Mario Gomez was offside on the second and Thomas Muller fouled Jordi Alba on the third. But it seemed that beyond the terrible mistakes by the referee, Bayern simply swept the pitch against a Barcelona side that didn’t really try and win, and was intent on trying to let the match pass them by from the first moment.
In truth, Bayern made the most of the usual Barcelona weaknesses – the gaps opened by the full backs when Jordi Alba and Dani Alves make their forward strides; the physicality of Bayern was too much for the Barcelona players to handle, as Iniesta, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi were simply swallowed up by a see of red; and the set pieces, which were nightmare for Barcelona to defend every corner or free kick they gave up.
Arjen Robben hasn’t played as much as he’s used to this season. A big reason Bayern Munich have been clicking so well has been his absence, or minimal usage, countering his selfishness effects. But every one in a while, his talent goes beyond the problems he causes, and he was actually there for the team in every possible way – with his help on defense to his decision making on the counter attacks, once leading up to the third goal, thanks to that Basketball-like screen from Thomas Muller.
The same went for Franck Ribery on the other end. It’s hard to sometimes give enough credit to certain players who don’t have to do the defensive work they put in to be great, but Ribery has changed slightly this season, only has been given more opportunities than Robben to show the amount of effort he’s willing to put in and help the team.
The man of the match up front had to be Thomas Muller. The perfect all-around player, who does nothing exceptionally well, but is good at everything. Muller finished with two goals, using his speed and fantastic off the ball movement to make the most of the space that was given to him.
Even though it was with a little bit of help from the referees, this was as close to perfection from Bayern Munich and any team that plays Barcelona can get. The best team in Europe? Hard to argue against that.