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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bayern Finish Off Barca to Set up an All-German Champions League Final

It was supposed to be an epic encounter, one made in heaven, one that would leave many football enthusiasts drooling and wishing that that spectacle had been saved for Wembley. History was to be written because in spite of one team losing the first leg clash 4-0, they are deemed as the best club in the world football business, and especially so when they parade in front of the home crowd.

But as it emerged, the team which was supposed to play the main cast, pulling the shots and haranguing the enemy from left right and center, using the fabled tiki-taka football to its destructive best and pushing their opponents to submission turned out to be merely a run of the mill.

For after Borussia Dortmund fended off Real Madrid’s last minute resurgence to edge into the finals of the UEFA Champions League, Bayern Munich went rampant and made light work of Barcelona to set up the first ever all-German Champions League final slated for Wembley. The Bavarians went into the match knowing that only a complete miracle would prevent them from entering the final for the second year in succession.

To prevent that unlikely though possible miracle from happening, they needed to score a goal to be safe, or at least look to be so. Little wonder they started on the offensive and could have taken the lead had Gerard Pique not made two timely tackles in a space of 20 minutes.

With Barca’s Messiah Lionel Messi only fit enough for the bench, the Catalans struggled to carve out clear opportunities. Their only notable chance came midway into the first half with Xavi Hernandez finding himself with acres of space inside Bayern’s penalty area but the pass master’s effort flew over the crossbar.

Jupp Heynckes’ side all but ended Barca’s slim hopes just three minutes after the interval. Arjen Robben was released by David Alaba on the left wing and the Dutchman shrugged off Adriano before curling beautifully past Victor Valdes. Die Roten only allowed the Blaugrana to set a sight of their goal occasionally and hit them on counter attacks.

Messi could only watch from the bench as 18 minutes before full time, Gerard Pique inadvertently mishit the ball into the back of his own net to stretch the German’s lead. Things turned from bad to embarrassing as Thomas Muller headed in the Bavarian’s third of the night just 4 minutes later to see Barca lose the match 3-0 and the contest 7-0 on aggregate.

This was a disappointing result for Barca’s Azulgranas as it was for any football aficionado who would have expected to watch a memorable match. But Spain’s loss is Germany’s gain as Bayern will clash with fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund (who lost 2-0 to Real Madrid but progressed 4-3 on aggregate) in the May 25 final at the Wembley Stadium in what will be the first ever all-German Champions League final in history.

Career in Numbers

1 – Fergie was named the UEFA Manager of the Year just once in 1998-99

2 - IFFHS World's Best Club Coach in 1999 and 2008

3 – UEFA Champions league trophies he has won with the club. The first came in 1990-91 season when it was known as UEFA Cup Winners Cup. Further triumphs came in the famous treble season in 1988-89 and last one in 2007-08

4 – League Cups he has won - 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, and 2009–10

5 – FA Cup titles he has added to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet

6 – the years it took the Glasgow-born manager to win his first Premier League title

6 – the number of clubs he played for during his career as a footballer; Queens Park Rangers, St. Johnstone, Dunfermline Athletic, Rangers, Falkirk, and Ayr United

9 – number of players he has coached and gone on to become football managers; the club’s global ambassador Bryan Robson, Hull City boss Steve Bruce, former QPR manager Mark Hughes, Blakcpool’s Paul Ince, Peterborough’s Darren Ferguson, Molde’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as well as Roy Keane, Chris Casper, and Henning Berg who are all without clubs currently             

10 – the number of times he was named the Premier League Manager of the Season, first in 1993-94 and last in 2010-11

13 -  the Premier League titles he’s won with Manchester United, all coming during the premier league era

15 – the total number of bans he received since October 2003 for abusing and publicly criticizing match officials

17 – the number of years he played professional football

25 – the years he has been at the Old Trafford dugout after he was appointed in November 1986

27 – He was named Premier League Manager of the month on 27 occasions, the first in August 1993 and last one in October 2012

49 – the total number of trophies he has won as a manager, making him the most successful British football manager in history

171 – his career goals total during his spell as a forward in the Scottish league

317 – total appearances he accrued during his 17 years in topflight football

1499  – the cumulative number of games will have had with Manchester United when the season comes to an end

2,154 – the total number of games he has had in his managerial career

And That's thesteifmastertake!!