The German media questioned the role of Pep Guardiola as Bayern Munich’s defence of their Champions League trophy ended with a 4-0 home defeat to Real Madrid.
Having lost the first leg 1-0 at the Bernabeu, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had said Munich would be “on fire” for the return game at the Allianz Arena, but two early Sergio Ramos headers, followed by a Cristiano Ronaldo brace, saw the Bundesliga champions exit with a 5-0 aggregate defeat.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in an article headlined “Surreal evening for Guardiola’s Bayern,” wrote: “It was a historic day for the most famous football club in the world: Real’s first win at Munich. It was also historic for Germany’s most famous club: The highest home defeat for Bayern in any European competition ever. Their last 4-0 defeat, away to Barcelona and under Jurgen Klinsmann, set the way for major changes at the club.”
Guardiola, whose tactics were questioned after the first leg, bore the brunt of the criticism for Bayern’s meek exit.
The broadsheet Die Welt -- writing under the headline “Bayern exit bears the hallmarks of Guardiola” -- said the former Barcelona coach had seen his “highly-praised tactic” exposed by Madrid.
“In the match for which he had planned so much, Guardiola’s tactics had no bite. It was a humiliation at home,” the paper added, calling the result “one of his most bitter defeats.”
Munich tabloid tz was similarly unimpressed. “Over and done with,” it said. “Real Madrid throw a confused Bayern Munich off European football's throne.”
Bayern had developed the nickname “Bestia Negra” (“Black Beast”) in Madrid for their record against Real, but Munich-based broadsheet Sueddeutsche said the German side were “without a chance against the white beast” on Tuesday night.
Questions had been raised over Guardiola’s decision to field Philipp Lahm in a midfield role for the first 66 minutes of the first leg, and the Germany international was moved back into defence at the Allianz Arena, while Thomas Mueller was brought into midfield. However, that was the only change, and Sueddeutsche argued that the coach was ultimately seeking to vindicate his tactics in Madrid.
The paper said: “Through that lineup, Guardiola planned to demonstrate that he -- the possession exponent -- had already chosen the right strategy in the first leg. It was a lineup full of conviction in his ideas, in their superior value. Guardiola made a mistake.”
Bild, Germany’s biggest tabloid, called the defeat “a disgrace for Guardiola” and “embarrassing,” pointing the finger at the coach for making such frequent changes to his starting XI, and said something has been missing at the club since president Uli Hoeness was found guilty of tax evasion in March.
The mood in Spain was very different as Madrid booked their place in the Lisbon final on May 24 to close in on “La Decima,” their long-awaited 10th European title.
AS’ front page was headlined “Munich burns” and joked that “Rummenigge was right,” referring to the Bayern CEO’s prematch warning.
Marca’s front page featured Madrid players’ celebrating, with the line: “And now to Lisbon...” The paper celebrated the historic result, noting that it was “in Germany, and at Bayern, where they had never won, against the reigning champions, in the Champions League semis, and against Guardiola.”
AS editor Alfredo Relano, who has witnessed many of Madrid’s previous 10 attempts without success to win in Munich, described the joy and relief Madrid fans felt.
“What a night!” Relano wrote. “The best of Madrid in Europe that I can remember -- a night to bury for once and for all the spectre of Bayern, to wash away so many bad times against the Bavarian colossus. I have spent the whole Champions League campaign thinking that Madrid, Barca and Atletico would last only until they met each other or Bayern but, when the moment came, Madrid have ‘given them a bath’ with an unimaginable superiority.”
Thoughts now turn to the “Decima,” with Madrid not having reached the final since being crowned European champions for the ninth time in 2002. In El Pais, Faustino Saez recalled the long wait for the trophy, and said Carlo Ancelotti has already come closer to achieving the feat than predecessor Jose Mourinho.
“On May 24, in the Estadio Da Luz, Madrid will end a 12-year absence from the final,” Saez wrote. “Madrid have been on a journey through the desert. With Mourinho on the bench they fell three times in a row in the semifinals. Ancelotti crossed the border at his first attempt.”