Lionel Messi at His Worst (Bayern Munich vs Barcelona)

A 4-0 win by Bayern Munich might signal the end of an era, but those things are usually figured out through a longer period of time. What we’re left with are the facts, and they are that the best team in Germany is much better at the moment than the best team in Spain, as the group of players Lionel Messi usually carried on his back didn’t show up, just like their star player, probably still injured, and giving his worst display of football in recent memory.

This wasn’t the first time Barcelona didn’t shoot a single time on target. This happened against AC Milan in the first leg as well, but Bayern are at the zenith of the buildup that’s been taking a few years. Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez played for Toni Kroos and Mario Madnzukic and couldn’t have done any better. It was hard not to give a grade of 9 or 10 to the Bayern players, in a perfect display of football that usually comes with certain proclamation matches.

Barcelona were nowhere to be found. Bastian Schweinsteiger eliminating Xavi, Javi Martinez eliminating Andres Iniesta, and Dante had help, but took care of Lionel Messi pretty well. Not that he needed to do too much. The Argentinian superstar, who is more than 50% of the Barcelona attack, couldn’t find a crumb of space to make something of. He was too slow, too predictable, too weak, and simply too bad for the entire 90 minutes, while Tito Vilanova forgot he has quality players on his bench.

Lionel Messi Lost

The Hungarian referee and his crew made too many mistakes, allowing two goals, for Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez that shouldn’t have been allowed. It doesn’t really matter when Bayern were so dominant and Barcelona so fragile, weak and pretty close to pathetic, destroyed on every physical battle and tactical ones as well. The mistakes will not be what people remember, as Bayern were much closer to score a few more goals than Barcelona ever were to getting that valuable away goal.

There’s no coming back from a 4-0 loss, even with the healthiest and sharpest Lionel Messi available. While he grew better and more unstoppable over the last few years, the team around him has declines. Maybe this was the breaking point and turning of the tide, as Bayern Munich pick up the mantle of the best team in Europe, and the most enjoyable to watch as well, by humiliating the former holders.