What Did You Think Was Going To Happen? Bayern’s beatdown explained

Understandably, there has been considerable reaction to Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening in Turin. Pundits and fans alike have already had plenty to say on the matter, and will likely continue to discourse until distracted by the weekend’s domestic fixtures.

While much of the analysis has centered around the brilliance of Lionel Messi in the final 15 minutes and Pep Guardiola’s, shall we say interesting, tactics, the full story of what occurred is even more simple.

Essentially, it was a game of good players against better players.

Sure Guardiola, recognizing just that, attempted to shake things up tactically, as his choices were either employ something novel and cavalier or sit in and defend. Guardiola was never going to opt for the latter. This should come as a surprise to no one.

And sure, Messi iced the cake, it could be said. But this should also come as a shock to no one.

So, I really do not understand where the surprised reaction is coming from, unless it is just the sports media pushing their wares. This match played out in pretty typical and expected fashion, considering the individuals at the forefront of its orchestration.

It would have been far more unexpected, and worthy of far more deliberation, had Bayern set up in a defensive minded 4-5-1, or an old Italian-styled 4-4-2, or if Messi, Neymar and Suarez had failed to effortlessly slice gaping holes in Bayern’s makeshift backline.

Provided Bayern’s injuries, Barcelona’s brilliance, and Guardiola’s refusal to take a tactically conservative approach, there should have been little expectation of anything other than what came to pass.

However, to further consolidate his footballing acumen, Pep Guardiola appears to be the only one involved to have recognized the inevitable. His existential shrugs throughout gave away that much.

Beyond that, there is little else that can be read into this match, despite many pundit’s assertions otherwise, except Barcelona are a great team and Bayern Munich, shorn of their three or four best players, are not as good.

What is, perhaps, of a little more interest, with the tie already essentially decided, will be the approach Bayern take to the second leg. If they open up the game in a futile attempt to recover an unrecoverable deficit, the aggregate could be humiliating. Like Pep’s great Barcelona side of a few years back, it is unlikely they have a Plan B. Just numerous variations of Plan A.

So, the meeting in Bavaria will very likely be just as entertaining, if predictable, as the one in Catalonia: expect something experimental from Pep, Barcelona to be far superior regardless, and another high score line.

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One Response to What Did You Think Was Going To Happen? Bayern’s beatdown explained

  1. josh May 14, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Good article. I think the “surprised reaction” stems from BM’s recent success in European football. So people naturally expected a more competitive game. If BM were at full strength, perhaps that expectation may have been more justified. But, as the author noted, BM was weakened considerably with the absence of Ribery, Robben, Alaba, Badstuber, and Rode. And yes, given Barca’s brilliance and Pep’s overall game philosophy…the eventual outcome should not have come as a shock to any pundit.


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