Many believed the Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Bayern Munich would be close, many were proved wrong on Tuesday evening.
Barcelona were completely outplayed by their German opponents who put four goals past the soon-to-be Spanish champions. Thomas Mueller opening and closing the scoring with goals sandwiched between from Mario Gomez and Aryen Robben.
Bayern - who have already picked up the Bundesliga title - are now looking ripe for a treble under manager Jupp Heynckes. Yet, despite their form - few expected such a walkover.
"They gave us a thrashing"
Barca midfielder Gerard Pique
There was nothing Lionel Messi and friends could do as Robben and Mueller raced through the Barcelona defence.
Bayern even managed to up a gear in the second half - scoring three goals with aggressive football that left Barcelona looking lost and despondent. After returning from injury, Messi appeared anything but fit and there was no one to produce his firepower in front of goal.
What was lacking up front, was certainly lacking in defence - with Barcelona's defenders being ripped apart again and again.
A four goal deficit now accompanies Barcelona on their journey back to the Nou Camp where they will have to be on their best of form on May 1st for the second leg.
Barcelona centre half Gerard Pique acknowleged the woeful performance.
"They gave us a thrashing," he said.
"We will try to turn it around in the return leg and put in a good performance for the fans.
"They were better and faster than us. There is no point talking about the referee, there is no excuse."
No bark Barca
Bayern had an early penalty appeal turned down, but the hosts went ahead when Robben's lobbed cross from a corner was headed across goal by centre-back Dante for Mueller to place his header inside the far post on 24 minutes.
Dante came to his side's rescue at the other end five minutes later after Pedro Rodríguez's cross from the right was heading straight for Messi at the back post, but the Brazilian got a toe to the ball.
Bayern doubled their lead in the 49th minute as Gomez struck with his sixth goal in his last three games.
Again, the Barcelona defence failed to deal with a corner as Robben's ball from the right was nodded down when Mueller rose above Daniel Alves for Gomez to volley home on 49 minutes.
Robben, who had been a constant menace to the Barca defence, grabbed the third on 73 minutes when the Dutchman skipped past Jordi Alba on the right, then slid his shot past Victor Valdes from a tight angle.
However, the Barcelona players were furious and protested to the referee as Alba had been body-checked by Mueller as he chased back after Robben inside the box.
With the Barcelona defence in a shambles, Bayern grabbed the fourth on 82 minutes when Franck Ribery and David Alaba combined on the left for the latter to whip in a low ball which Mueller slid into the net for his second.
Despite the advantage, Bayern know how tough life could be at the Camp Nou.
They lost 4-0 on their last Champions League visit to Barcelona in the 2009 quarter-final, first leg which they went on to lose 5-1 on aggregate.
But a turnover by Barcelona feels almost as unlikely as this result.
Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies