Bayern Munich absolutely dismantled Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal, winning 4-0 at the Allianz Arena. Though Barca maintained their trademark possession advantage, Lionel Messi, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, was rendered mostly irrelevant as Barca only managed four shots with just one on target during the game.
Another round of misleading obituaries for Barcelona is likely to follow this display, but the true takeaway from the match should be what Germany already knows: Bayern, who have been confirmed as this season's domestic champions for weeks now, have reached that transcendent level. To varying degrees of justifiability, Barca can blame the waterlogged center of the pitch, their injury plagued backline and a hobbled Messi daring to go a whole match without scoring eight goals. But if they could, they would still like to erase the entire match from their memory.
The one moment when Barcelona did stick it to Bayern, it was in a very childish way and resulted in Jordi Alba getting the yellow card that will keep him out of the second leg for accumulation. With Barca down 4-0 in the 89th minute, Bayern winger Arjen Robben, who put in a fine performance and scored his team's third goal, was knocked down in an off the ball incident. As he did his signature fetal-position roll, a frustrated Jordi Alba kicked the ball into his back before the ref could blow the whistle. Alba then fetched the errant ball and tossed it off Robben's face to earn a booking (video below).
The fragile Robben clutched his nose and the slog to the final whistle, then an excruciating week until the formality of a second leg back in Barcelona continued.
Come the start of next season, Barcelona will still be La Liga champions, reloaded with healthy players and world-class new additions. Until then, their shows of strength are a bunch of fruitless possession and making Robben's nose sting a bit.