There were very few positives for FC Barcelona to take from their 4-0 UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat at FC Bayern München last Tuesday, but if history is anything to go by then the Spanish side – though down – are not yet out.
Tito Vilanova's charges will be buoyed by the fact the Bundesliga champions have lost 4-0 away from home in UEFA competition on four occasions, with their most recent reverse by that scoreline coming at Camp Nou in a 2008/09 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg. A breathtaking first-half display by Josep Guardiola's Barcelona simply blew Bayern away: Lionel Messi scored twice either side of a Samuel Eto'o strike and Thierry Henry added a fourth. The Catalan team saw out a 1-1 draw in the return match and went on to lift the trophy, triumphing 2-0 against Manchester United FC in the Stadio Olimpico final in Rome.
Franz Beckenbauer described that April 2009 evening as "the most horrible thing I have ever seen from Bayern", so it was quite a contrast last week when the club's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge struggled to contain his excitement, saying: "I have never experienced a night like this and I have been around for quite some time."
Still, a repeat of Barça's emphatic Camp Nou victory of four years ago would take this tie to extra time – and give the Azulgrana the chance to claim the record for the biggest first-leg deficit overturned in the UEFA Champions League era. That accolade is held by fellow Spaniards RC Deportivo La Coruña, who recovered from a 4-1 loss at AC Milan with a 4-0 home win in the 2003/04 quarter-finals.
UEFA.com hears from the protagonists of a classic game which Barcelona will need to reprise if they are to reach their third final in five seasons.
Mark van Bommel, Bayern captain in 2009
We were very lucky that the score was just 4-0 because we were made to look like amateurs. We knew beforehand how quickly Barça liked to move the ball when in possession, and how important it was to press them once we lost possession. Instead, we always seemed to miss the first challenge and then you are always left one step behind as Barça whip the ball around. You can't catch up. It doesn't get much worse than that.
Franck Ribéry, Bayern midfielder
It felt a bit like the team panicked. It also seemed that we gave up a bit after Barcelona got their first two goals. We couldn't string two or three passes together, and if you are stuck in the last 20 metres of the pitch defending everything that comes at you all the time, then it becomes really difficult.
Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona midfielder
We went out with the intention of settling this match as quickly and efficiently as possible, and I think we achieved that. Our tactic was to play with a high tempo, to pressurise Bayern all the time and to score enough goals to take full advantage of the first leg being at home.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona forward
From one to 11, all our players put in an excellent performance against Bayern – as a team we played to our true potential. But to be considered the best team in Europe, it's not about playing like this, it is about winning the Champions League.
BILD – 'Barça humiliate helpless Bayern'
It was a night of shame for Bayern. A game lasts 90 minutes – this execution was over after 45. Only captain Mark van Bommel fought; the other Bayern stars were overwhelmed. Nothing could be seen of top men Luca Toni and Franck Ribéry.
Süddeutsche Zeitung – 'Humiliated by Barça'
When it was finally over, the Bayern officials and players appeared shocked like never before. It was a complete failure by a side that is currently only fourth in the Bundesliga and facing a horror season without being in the Champions League next term.
Sport – 'Football-art'
The first half of the game has to be recorded and a millions copies made, because we cannot deny future generations this demonstration of what pure football is.
El Pais – 'Barça bombarding Bayern'
The home team not only won but humbled a rival. Lacking pride and grandeur, Bayern accepted defeat with resignation, knowing their inferiority and overwhelmed by Barcelona.
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