When Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup Semi-Final, it was described as an awesome attacking performance against a woeful defence. The Germans were 5-0 ahead at half-time in that match and just three months later, Bayern Munich replicated the display of the national team by winning a Champions League tie 7-1 at Roma after cruising to a 5-0 lead at the interval.
On a night when there was a plentiful supply of goals in the Champions League group matches, including seven netted by Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern Munich surpassed their previous highest score in a European away tie and this was after registering a 6-0 victory in the Bundesliga at the weekend. The German team has won each of their three group matches but the goal scored by Roma’s Gervinho was the first conceded in nine competitive games.
Yet Roma were forecast to be difficult opponents for the 2013 tournament winners as they occupy second position in Serie A and have not conceded a goal in four domestic victories on home soil. They beat CSKA Moscow 5-1 in their opening group match and then held Manchester City at the Etihad in a 1-1 draw. An unlucky 3-2 defeat at Juventus is the only occasion in which they have dropped points in Italy this season.
For Bayern to be so ruthless against respectable opposition merely emphasises the current gulf between the established elite teams of European football and those aspiring to compete at the highest level. Teams from Serie A have always been considered as genuine candidates to win the Champions League and a Jose Mourinho inspired Inter Milan were the most recent team from Italy to win the coveted trophy back in 2010 when they defeated Bayern 2-0 in the final.
Since that win by Inter, no Italian team has progressed beyond the quarter-final stages of the tournament while Juventus have dominated Serie A in recent seasons. However, while it may be premature to dismiss the hopes of any Italian team of winning the Champions League in the coming years, the pounding received by arguably Italy’s second rated team at the moment does raise questions as to the prevailing standards in that domestic league.
There again, it may just be a case of Bayern improving their performances on an annual basis although there was no hint of Tuesday’s destruction when they could only win 1-0 in both previous Champions League ties and being forced to rely on a deflected last minute Jerome Botaeng goal to clinch victory against Manchester City.
For Bayern Munich the success bandwagon may continue as they attempt to regain their Champions League crown but for Roma, it will be a case of trying to establishing themselves as annual competitors in Europe’s premier club competition, allowing them to generate the revenues required to compete with the elite European teams.
For now Roma must lick their wounds and continue to collect Serie A points before travelling to Munich in just weeks for the away tie. That is not an appealing prospect for the local Roman supporters.