Bayern Munich-Dortmund in all-German Champs final
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Champions League final will feature two German teams for the first time after Bayern Munich completed surprising 7-0 rout of Barcelona.
Playing with a big cushion after a 4-0 win in the first leg at home last week, Bayern beat Barcelona 3-0 in the second leg Wednesday night on goals by Arjen Robben in the 48th minute and Thomas Mueller in the 76th around Gerard Pique’s own goal in the 72nd.
Bayern, which relaxed when it saw injured Lionel Messi wasn’t in Barcelona’s starting lineup, is in the final for the third time in four years and will play Borussia Dortmund at London’s Wembley Stadium on May 25.
“I think it is a terrific performance, it is a little bit of history,” Robben said. “If we perform like this, against a team who have dominated Europe for the past five years, who have so much quality, it is amazing.”
This final wll be just the fourth single-nation championship match in Europe. Real Madrid beat Valencia in 2000, AC Milan defeated Juventus in 2003 and Manchester United edged Chelsea in 2008.
Bayern will be seeking its fifth title, and first since 2001, while Dortmund won its only championship in 1997. Bayern, which clinched the Bundesliga title on April 6 with six games to spare, travels to Dortmund for a league match Saturday night.
“I’m sure we’ll celebrate with a few beers tonight,” Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said. “I’ve always said we have special characters in our squad, and that we are capable of great things.”
Bayern lost last year’s final at home to Chelsea on penalty kicks, two years after it was defeated 2-0 by Inter Milan.
While many expected Barcelona to meet Real Madrid in the final, Dortmund defeated Madrid 4-1 in Germany last week and hung on Tuesday for a 4-3 aggregate win.
Bayern had no such scare. Missing Messi, the four-time world player of the year who has hampered by a hamstring injury for the past month, Barcelona showed little offensive spark.
“When we saw his name wasn’t in the starting lineup, we breathed a sigh of relief,” Bayern midfielder Javi Martinez said.
Messi started in the first leg but was largely ineffective, and didn’t get off the substitutes bench for the second.
“We trained today but he wasn’t comfortable, and we decided that if we were going to risk him it would be at the end,” Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said.
Bayern made sure the final minutes didn’t mattter.
“I do not think his participation tonight would have changed things all that much,” Pique said. “It isn’t pleasant living through a situation like this. In the first half we really tried but when they scored the first, we were left feeling down. We have to congratulate Bayern, who were superior.”
When Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were substituted in the second half, it left Barcelona without its three biggest stars on the field. Barcelona also was missing defenders Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and midfielder Sergio Busquets because of injuries, and left back Jordi Alba because of a suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
While Barcelona has an 11-point lead in the Spanish league with five games left, its first season since Vilanova replaced Pep Guardiola as coach will be considered a disappointment because it failed to win the Champions League following titles in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
Guardiola was hired by Bayern in January to replace Jupp Heynckes as coach at the end of the season.
“When the draw came out and we were paired with Barcelona, I would never have imagined that we would win 4-0 and then 3-0 at the Camp Nou,” Heynckes said “Barcelona is a fantastic team. Today it had personnel problems, when Messi plays it is very different.”
NOTES: Barcelona had gone unbeaten in 21 Champions League home matches since its 2-1 loss to Rubin Kazan on Oct. 20, 2009. ... Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes became the 17th player to make 100 Champions League appearances.