Champions League: Brilliant Bayern humiliate hapless Barca

first_imgGerman champions Bayern Munich utterly humiliated Barcelona with a stunning 8-2 victory on Friday that sent them through into the semi-finals of the Champions League in an extraordinarily emphatic manner.Thomas Mueller scored twice for a rampant Bayern, who led 4-1 after 31 astonishing minutes, as Lionel Messi and his teammates were condemned to a thrashing that felt like the end of an era for the illustrious Catalan club. Both teams have been crowned European champions five times.But while Bayern look to have a real chance of adding a sixth title next week, Barca are clearly facing major reconstruction work and it remains to be seen how many of those involved in this debacle will survive at the club.The scoreline recalled Germany’s 7-1 win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, a game where Bayern coach Hansi Flick was on the bench as the national team’s assistant coach.It began with Bayern grabbing a fourth minute lead when Mueller collected Ivan Perisic’s cross from the left and played a clever one-two with Robert Lewandowski before drilling home.But within three minutes Barca had struck back – Clement Lenglet’s super long ball found Jordi Alba in space and David Alaba’s attempt to deal with his searching cross ended up flying past his own keeper Manuel Neuer. Neuer then had to be quick off his line to foil a goal-bound Luis Suarez but was almost caught out by a cross-shot from Messi from the right, which drifted through the area and struck the post.But just as Barca seemed to have established themselves, the Germans regained their lead in the 21st minute — Serge Gnabry fed Perisic on the left and the Croatian glanced up to see his options before drilling past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.Bayern then added the third as Barca’s defence was opened up again with ease.Thiago Alcantara was given plenty of space in midfield to find Leon Goretzka, whose superb ball picked out Gnabry, who had got behind Lenglet and then made no mistake with the finish.Flick’s side were running riot and it got worse for Barca when a low cross from Joshua Kimmich was turned in at the near post by Mueller — another goal of ruthless simplicity making it 4-1 at the break. The Spaniards desperately needed to find a way to shift the momentum after the break and Suarez, one of the few Barca players to emerge with any credit from the encounter, provided a route back into the game with a fine strike, in the 57th minute.Jordi Alba found Suarez on the edge of the box and the Uruguayan jinked passed Jerome Boateng before blasting home.But Bayern were in no mood to turn down the heat and six minutes later they restored their three goal advantage, thanks to some outstanding work from their Canadian teenager, Alphonso Davies.The left back dribbled in from the flank, danced past Nelson Semedo to get to the byline and then pulled the ball back to fellow full back Kimmich to slot home and make it 5-2.RelatedPosts Bayern Munich fans undergo Super Cup coronavirus tests Suarez agrees Atletico terms Vidal lands in Milan to complete move from Barca to Inter Somehow Bayern had managed to score five goals without their prolific striker Robert Lewandowski, who had scored in his previous seven Champions League matches – however, eight minutes from the end, the Pole put that right.Substitute Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at the German club from Barca, floated over a cross from the left which Lewandowski firmly headed home at the back post.To add insult to the already painful injury, Coutinho then scored two more before the end, as Barcelona fell apart in unimaginable fashion to the brilliance of the Bavarians.Bayern, who last won Europe’s biggest prize in 2013, will meet either Manchester City or Olympique Lyonnais, who play on Saturday, in the last four.Tags: Bayern MunichLionel MessiLuis SuarezRobert LewandoskiUEFA Champions Leaguelast_img read more

Read more on Champions League: Brilliant Bayern humiliate hapless Barca

High-powered Ducks await Badgers in Rose Bowl

first_imgHeisman finalist Montee Ball has powered Wisconsin’s offense, rushing for 1,759 yards and 32 touchdowns. Ball is one total touchdown shy of tying the NCAA single-season record of 39.[/media-credit]They’ve been there before. Last time it was a whole new world. Bright lights, walking among the stars – literally – and a whole new experience.This time around, when it comes to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, the Wisconsin Badgers mean business.“We’re going to take this trip and approach it more like a business trip and make sure we go in with our minds set and really go in remembering why we’re in L.A.,” junior running back Montee Ball said.In the 98th Rose Bowl, Wisconsin will face the Pac-12’s Oregon Ducks.Both the Badgers and Ducks played on big stages in last year’s bowl games, as Wisconsin played in the school’s first Rose Bowl in more than 10 years and Oregon took a shot in the BCS National Championship Game.Both teams lost – Wisconsin to Texas Christian and Oregon to Auburn – and were forced to fight through another season just for a second chance at a coveted BCS title.Wisconsin’s road to the Rose Bowl this year was not easy, nor exactly clear.UW opened the season with a scalding offense led by transfer quarterback Russell Wilson, and through six games it looked like a possible national championship contender.In the ensuing two weeks, back-to-back heartbreaking losses at Michigan State and Ohio State left Wisconsin in a tough position in the Big Ten and muddied the picture of any post-season hopes. Many things had to line up just right for the Badgers to even reach the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, let alone the Rose Bowl.UW ultimately avenged itself with a 42-39 win over MSU in Indianapolis, gaining another berth to The Granddaddy of Them All for the second consecutive year.“Going out there to the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row and having the chance to go out there and cap this thing off right, it’s going to be stellar, it’s going to be special,” senior safety Aaron Henry said. “I wouldn’t want to go out any other way.”Battling the Ducks this season will prove entirely different than last year’s Rose Bowl against the Horned Frogs, particularly thanks to Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and his famously fast-paced offense.“I think they’re the best at the high-tempo offense; they kind of started it,” sophomore linebacker Chris Borland said. “They do a great job of it, not only the tempo, but the scheme. They’re able to do a lot of different things, and they get their athletes some space. Once they get their guys the ball in space, that’s what they’re made to do. … It’s going to be difficult for us, but we’re up to the challenge.”But with plenty of time to prepare, the Badger defense feels it will be able to handle Oregon’s no-huddle offense. Head coach Bret Bielema also noted the importance of defense’s ability to sub players any time the offense does so, as long as the referees allow time for it to happen.“I think it’s important to realize you have three different teams with kind of different tempos,” Bielema said, referencing offense, defense and special teams play. “I think it will be good because now it’s a multi-week preparation. Our scouts will get better at it, which hopefully when we go down there to Pasadena, we will have had eight days of bowl prep of Oregon and really snap our guys into that tempo.”While Wisconsin claims arguably the nation’s best running back in Ball, Oregon boasts its own nationally recognized running back in junior LaMichael James.Ball finished the regular season leading the nation with 1,759 yards and 32 touchdowns. Ball had 275 rushing attempts and averaged 6.4 yards per carry, and also caught six touchdown passes, putting his season total of 38 one shy of Barry Sanders’ NCAA single-season record of 39.James finished fourth in the country with 1,646 rushing yards and scored 17 touchdowns. James had 222 carries and only outpaces Ball in averaging 7.4 yards per carry.Though the Ducks’ offense is renowned for how quickly it moves the ball, the Oregon defense is also no different.“They’re fast, extremely athletic; they really do a great job of running to the football and making plays,” Ball said. “We just have to make sure that we play Wisconsin football and beat them down a little bit.“I think we’ll be fine. We’ll go in with the same game plan that we had against the other teams and make sure that we execute every play.”Wisconsin’s offense will be greatly aided by the return of All-American junior center Peter Konz. Konz dislocated his left ankle Nov. 12 at Minnesota and hasn’t seen the field since.Wednesday, Bielema said he expects the center to return to practice next week and play on Jan. 2.When it comes right down to it, the Badgers know what they are in for against Oregon. They know the Ducks were the national runner-up last year, and they know Oregon is as fast as they come.But Wisconsin certainly isn’t backing away from its second shot at a chance to smell the roses.“They’re more dangerous than TCU,” Ball said. “Obviously a lot faster, but I believe this time we’re going to go in more focused and more prepared.”last_img read more

Read more on High-powered Ducks await Badgers in Rose Bowl