Bayern finish Juventus off in style to reach Champions League semi-finals

Germans complete the job in emphatic fashion

 Juventus’s Mirko Vucinic of Juventus is tackled by Bastian Schweinsteiger of  Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final second leg game at Juventus Arena. Photograph: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Image

Juventus’s Mirko Vucinic of Juventus is tackled by Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final second leg game at Juventus Arena. Photograph: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Image

Wed, Apr 10, 2013, 22:34

Juventus 0 Bayern Munich 2 (0-4 on aggregate)

Bayern it is then. As had seemed likely right from the first 27 seconds of this tie, when David Alaba scored the opening goal in Bavaria last week, the German champions progressed to the semi-finals with a fluid, robust and always enjoyably controlled 2-0 victory in the Juventus Stadium for a 4-0 win on aggregate.

It would be pushing it to say Bayern swaggered through this tie: they haven’t needed to, instead exposing the limitations of Antonio Conte’s energetic and abrasive Juventus simply by turning up and being reliably Bayern.

Here they were driven on by Bastian Schweinsteiger, shading control of midfield from Andrea Pirlo, and by a fine display of lone centre forward craft from Mario Mandzukic, scorer of the knockout-blow, second-half goal in Turin.

The 2-0 smothering in Bavaria was a traumatic experience for Italy's trophy clubGiorgio Chiellini, who spent an anguished sleepless night afterwards, had promised Juve would present a different face to the world after the most shattering defeat of two years of burgeoning Conte-ism: and Juve were primed to deliver the expected riposte in the opening exchanges here. In the absence of the suspended Arturo Vidal, Pirlo was flanked by a five-man midfield featuring the lopingly muscular Paul Pogba, given a chance to confirm on this stage his impressive progress since graduating from Manchester United's Carling Cup team.

Juventus duly set off at a helter-skelter pace, charging the opposition in possession and swarming forward with the ball in Conte's favoured blitz-football style. It was Bayern, though, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery the chief threats from wide positions, who created the first real chance after nine minutes. Ribery's cut-back from the right was almost forced home by Mandzukic at the near post.

An early goal would have killed the tie, but Mandzukic's meek attempt at a dink perhaps pointed to Bayern's one area of weakness. The Croat is a lovely mover and defends brilliantly from the front, but has just one goal in the competition this season. The home team continued to press, albeit with more energy than precision on an unremittingly boisterous night inside the acoustically fearsome stadium, a steeply banked aluminium bowl around which the noise seems to rumble in endless waves.

Albeit the biggest home cheer of the opening 20 minutes was for Pogba shrugging Ribery magisterially to the floor in a tussle for the ball. The moment seemed to spark the home team, Pirlo in particular, whose contribution up until then had been to jog about a little near the centre circle and give the ball away three times.

Juve's first real chance arrived shortly afterwards as Philipp Lahm's foul on Claudio Marchisio presented Pirlo with a free-kick just outside the penalty area. His powerful drive struck Manuel Neuer's raised fists and almost flew to the corner flag, but Pirlo was finding his groove now, conducting the play from his deep-playmaker position like a ship's captain at the wheel. A flighted pass to the left put Pogba in for a driven cross that evaded the lurking Fabio Quagliarella as Bayern began to defend deeper.

For all their pressure Juve always seemed a pass short of getting in on goal and before long Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger were again conducting midfield. A goalless first half left Bayern chugging still relentlessly towards the semi-finals. Predictably enough the home team emerged energised after the break. Twice Juve stole possession near the Bayern goal, Quagliarella shooting just wide. Instead, though, it was Bayern who came closest to scoring after 58 minutes. A neat lay-off from Mandzukic, again superbly adhesive as the lone striker, found Robben in a pocket of space just outside the area. His carefully measured left foot shot hit the outside of the post with Buffon beaten.

The goal was coming. Five minutes later Mandzukic was fouled to the right of the Juventus penalty area. Schweinsteiger's free-kick was temptingly whipped in and with Buffon parrying Javi Martinez's flick Mandzukic himself pounced to score the goal that meant Juve needed four.

Claudio Pizarro's goal to make it 2-0, fed by a lovely pass from Schweinsteiger, was simply a final garnish. Outclassed by one of Europe's current superpowers, Juventus can reflect with some pride on their run to the quarter-finals, including the elimination of England's own European champions at the group stages. Bayern, with plenty in reserve, will take an awful lot of stopping from here.

l Guardian Service


JUVENTUS: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Padoin (Isla 69), Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio (Giaccherini 79), Asamoah, Quagliarella (Matri 66), Vucinic. Subs not used: Storari, Caceres, De Ceglie, Peluso. Booked: Bonucci.
BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer, Lahm, Van Buyten (Boateng 35), Dante, Alaba, Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Muller, Ribery (Gustavo 80), Mandzukic (Pizarro 83). Subs not used: Starke, Shaqiri, Rafinha, Gomez. Booked: Mandzukic.
Referee: C Velasco Carballo (Spain).