German champions Bayern Munich utterly humiliated FC Barcelona with a stunning 8-2 victory on Friday.
It was a sensational outing that sent them through into the semi-finals of the 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League in an extraordinarily emphatic manner.
Thomas Mueller scored twice for a rampant Bayern Munich, who led 4-1 after 31 astonishing minutes.
Lionel Messi and his team mates 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 Munich look to have a real chance of adding a sixth title next week, Barca are clearly facing major reconstruction work.
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 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.
It was a game in which Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick was on the bench as the national team’s assistant coach.
It began with Bayern Munich 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.
David Alaba’s attempt to deal with his searching cross ended up flying past his own goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Neuer then had to be quick off his line to foil a goal-bound Luis Suarez.
But he 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 Munich 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.
It was 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.
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 past Jerome Boateng before blasting home.
But Bayern Munich were in no mood to turn down the heat.
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.
Somehow Bayern Munich had managed to score five goals without their prolific striker Robert Lewandowski, who had scored in his previous seven UEFA 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 FC Barcelona fell apart in unimaginable fashion to the brilliance of the Bavarians.
Bayern Munich, 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.(Reuters/NAN)