A midweek date with Barcelona at the Nou Camp has seen the end of many an impressive Champions League run; in 2013 it certainly has not.
I do not expect any sympathy, but you must surely understand how difficult it is to keep coming up with adjectives to describe this team. Taking into consideration the likelihood that you will be bombarded with nearly every one from "unbelievable" to "spectacular," I'm going to take the route less traveled and label this performance, simply, as solid.
I think we often misuse that term by applying it to an average or slightly above-average performance, where I take it to mean what it does in the non-football world: without holes.
There are no weaknesses. You can try to pick one out but every player on the field performs his given duty without flaw and each has a capable replacement waiting behind him to enter the match at any moment.
After their 4-0 first leg victory, the Bavarians showed a restrained sense of pride in their result, and were very careful not to write off their opponents with one leg to play. Typical of this season's overall feeling of a business-like approach to all competitions (no beer after clinching the Bundesliga etc.), Bayern came out like they had not scored in the Allianz Arena at all in the first leg.
Many teams, perhaps including this one from a season ago, would have been content to sit back and defend a massive lead in this very situation, but not this Bayern.
Much like in the first leg, Jupp Heynckes and his staff recognized that getting into a possession battle with Barcelona is a something not worth pursuing. The resulting tactic was to let the Spaniards pass the ball around at the back as much as they please but to tighten up when they attempt to make an advance towards goal. It was Bayern's focus to have meaningful possession and keep Barcelona from being able to shell Neuer's goal with an all-out attack by using quick counters down the wings to stretch out the home side and make them play defense.
Incredibly composed and organized, Bayern took a scoreless draw into the dressing rooms at halftime. The defense did not suffer even though the two holding midfielders, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, as well as captain and defender Philipp Lahm were all a yellow card away from missing May 25th's final in London.
In the 5th minute, it appeared as if Bayern should have been awarded an indirect free kick after a backpass to Valdes which he handled with his gloves, but nothing was called. Arjen Robben had the best chance of the half after receiving a sublime Lahm lobbed through ball but couldn't convert.
The second half saw a reversal of attacking fortunes for the Reds. What seemed to go wrong at the last second in the first 45 now went their way and then some.
If I were to say that a "typical Robben" took place, you would all know what I'm talking about. The Dutchman received the ball near the area, cut left and shot. Valdes never had a chance. That is the moment when there was no more doubt left.
Needing six goals, Barcelona had no choice but to abandon defending which left them even more vulnerable on the counterattack. Now it was Bayern who tried to play keep away with possession and keep away they did.
Twenty-four minutes after Robben's goal, a dangerous cross was played in towards the far post from the left flank by Franck Ribery.
Perhaps more capably than any striker on the pitch, Gerard Pique put a boot on it and sent a smashing volley into the back of his own net. Don't discount this goal, though, there were Bayern players standing directly behind him prepared to do the exact same thing.
Four minutes after that it was Ribery down the left side again, this time leaving Alex Song for dead and then whipping in a cross to the far post. Thomas Müller exploited Bayern's height advantage again to head it past Valdes for the third goal of the match and the seventh of the round.
Barcelona never really threatened to get one back and besides a few substitutions involving the players in yellow card trouble, the final fifteen at the Nou Camp went with a whimper.
Aside from not blowing their lead, the biggest concern was keeping Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Martinez from going into the books as each were one card from suspension. All were eventually substituted with no cards to their names. Consider this "Mission Accomplished" on all fronts, then.
Leopold Straße in Munich has erupted into a party, I suggest you either join them or start one yourself: We're going to London with those yellow guys and that crazed bearded dude with the glasses from up North.