MUNICH - Thomas Mueller scored two goals as Bayern Munich dominated Barcelona yesterday to take a commanding 4-0 lead after the first leg of their highly anticipated Champions League semi-final.
Mueller scored in the first half and added another after Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben had also scored in the second half.
It was Barcelona's biggest loss in the Champions League since 1997, and a humbling defeat for the team that have been widely regarded as the best in the world for the past few years.
While Barcelona turned around a 2-0 deficit against AC Milan with a 4-0 win at home, this Bayern team look highly unlikely to allow a similar comeback in the second leg next week in Spain.
"We knew we were able to give them a good competition," Robben said. "This team has dominated Europe over the last five years and if you beat them like this, I think you can be proud."
Lionel Messi started for Barcelona despite injury worries but looked far from his best and was hardly a factor in the match.
Barcelona had few chances, while Bayern used their size to outmuscle the Spanish side on set pieces.
Mueller headed in from close range in the 25th and added the second in the 82nd.
Gomez netted in the 49th and Robben in the 73rd.
Bayern showed their attacking intent from the start and took less than two minutes to produce the first opportunity of the match when Javi Martinez sent a back-heel pass to Robben, but the winger's shot was saved by goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
The German champions had calls for a penalty declined in the 15th when the ball appeared to hit Gerard Pique's arm after a corner from Robben.
But Bayern scored after another corner, from Franck Ribery. The ball rolled to the far post, here Robben crossed to Dante. The defender headed back across the goal and Mueller raced to head it in. Valdes got his hands on it but could not prevent the ball from sliding into the net.
The second Bayern goal also came after a corner, with Mueller at the far post rising over Daniel Alves and heading across the goal for Gomez to knock in from close range, although he might have been slightly offside.
Bayern's third came as Robben went around Jordi Alba, who was blocked by Mueller as he tried to chase the Dutchman, who slotted the ball inside the right post.
Ribery and David Alaba did the work for Bayern's fourth, with Alaba swinging in a pass for Mueller to knock in from close range.