A View From Your Defeat

Reader C. H. wrote in after the team’s loss to Bayern and it’s as appropriate a commentary on our world now as it was when he sent it in the hours after the defeat.

After I watched us lose to Bayern Munich, like a lot of your readers I was feeling pretty down. Not only did we lose, and deservedly so, but I had to go play a pickup game with four madridistas on the opposing team (come on, Dortmund!). However, when I got to the pitch I saw something that always puts a smile on my face and I thought I would share it with you.

Brief context, I write to you from the Dominican Republic, a country primarily interested in one sport: baseball. Being a kid here in the 1980s, it was hard finding kids to play football with unless you knew someone of foreign descent or went to a school run by foreigners. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that football became a mainstay on television with the arrival of ESPN Deportes (today we have several channels with a decent offering).

As the audience for the sport grew, I watched as people joined several bandwagons. I support AC Milan! Manchester United! Real Madrid! I’ve loved them all along, they claimed. I don’t have to tell anyone who reads BFB that in the past several years our beloved Barcelona has created many, many new fans (welcome! I always say). Will they be here tomorrow? Next year? Is Bayern the new club now? Whatever happens, I would like your readers to know that Barça’s influence here has not been meaningless.

During my lifetime, I have noticed that our game generally consisted of two types of players: box-bombers (that’s where you bomb the ball into the box and hope for the best) and tricksters (ball hogs who think they know what they’re doing). Today, if you walk around any football pitch in the country (unfortunately not many) you’ll see many more kids actually making an effort to play in a collective way. One of the most common insults you’ll hear kids say is “pasa, idiota pasa!” (pass, idiot, pass). Ball hogs are verbally punished. To be fair, the Spanish national team derserves a lot of credit as well.

I know this is purely anecdotal, but I can see it damn it! I can see it! Maybe some of those kids start wearing (Bayern/Real/Borussia) jerseys tomorrow but their game was influenced (forever?) by what our team has been doing over the past several years. That makes me smile.

PS., After last year’s final, the kids didn’t start buying Chelsea jerseys.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. bhed
    April 25, 2013

    Thank you C.H. for the lovely anecdote (and Isaiah for passing it along)!

  2. Gogah
    April 25, 2013

    Been thinking..
    Not a whimsical solution, but after some consideration, I really think Lewandowski could be great for Barca. I know he is hot property right now and any top team would feel they could use him, but if we move smartly, Dortmund may be more inclined to sell him to us (anyone) rather than losing him to Bayern (again). His contract is almost up, so he could be (relatively) cheap too. We’ve missed the bus on many good players for a good fee citing lack of need, but with Villa set to go this could be the best upgrade.

    • KEVINO17
      April 26, 2013

      Lewandowski would be fantastic. Wonderfully mobile, great defensive work-rate (super important), good touch in the box. I would pay a huge amount for him. Only two caveats:
      1. Is he a good header of the ball? I think we really need someone who can get onto the end of crosses;
      2. I’m not sure his mobility is so important to a side like Barca. We are not a counter-attacking side. We are a high possession side that spends a lot of time in the enemy’s half. That’s why I would probably go for a big unit like Gomez, even though he’s not as mobile (particularly if he’s a lot cheaper).

      • Gogah
        April 26, 2013

        Mario Gomez? No way in hell.
        He’s simply not Barca quality, he requires the ball to come to his feet, and even then I have seen him mess things up. No way Will I sign a player for his size and heading.

      • April 26, 2013

        Ibra is technically miles ahead of Gomez, still he was not able to keep up with the Barca rhythm and slowed down many movements. Gomez would create a real Block. Even with easy chances he is a wastage.
        Lewandowski would be a pure positive addition.

        • KEVINO17
          April 26, 2013

          Ibra didn’t play as a true centre forward. Barca needs someone who just stands with the CBs and wait for the opportunities. That’s all I want from Lewa, Gomez, etc. Everybody else can play Barca style except the target man in the box.

  3. Cule
    April 25, 2013

    The refereeing was a disgrace. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter that we were outplayed completely, it doesn’t matter how poor we played, this game was handed to Bayern. I don’t remember the last time 3 goals were awarded incorrectly to a team, that it happens in a champions league semi final is just a mockery to the game.

    If they won the game with a 1-0 scoreline we would be in it still, even at 2-0, well maybe. The first 3 goals were all wrong, the third one was unbelievable. When their forwards can just hack on a player, preventing him from trying to defend, what can you do?

    And don’t tell me not to complain. One it’s one decision you sort of have to just let it go, but when the score is 3-0 and not one of those goals were valid, then we have every right to complain.

    Disgusted and bewildered.

    • April 26, 2013

      Complain if you want, but the referee did us a favor.

      Of the games we played against M*drid, Milan, PSG and Bayern Munich we won 18%. If we don’t count the supercopa (the first game we played and won was against an unfit M*drid) 11%

      A 4-0 scoreline forces our club to truly examine how to address some of the issues that have come to light since the 18 months. Losing the tie on aggregate or by one goal gives us an excuse to blame bad luck or whatever.

      • While what you say is perfectly true, it wasn’t the referee’s prerogative to show the mirror to Barca. He had a poor game. The first goal I believe was legitimate, and even if you attribute the missed offside on the second to human error, the Muller foul on Alba for the third was an absolutely terrible call.

    • Puppet
      April 26, 2013

      What was wrong with first goal? I don’t remember anyone being offside or fouled. Besides, there was one handball on Pique that wasn’t called, so I feel like things more or less evened out. Your complaints are legitimate, but I think Levon is right: a thrashing like this has been overdue, the healthiest thing to do is to take it gracefully and find the best ways to improve a still world-class squad.

      • ooga aga
        April 26, 2013

        the guy is saying that dante fouled dani alves on the first goal, but it wasn’t a foul.

        • Cule
          April 26, 2013

          It was. You can’t use an opponent for leverage.

          • ooga aga
            April 26, 2013

            didnt seem he leveraged himself, looked like he got where he was going on his own, but i guess i’ll have to look again. there a lot worse that goes on (when balls comes in to the box) that doesnt get called, if you ask me though….

          • ooga aga
            April 26, 2013

            no my friend…the cross from robben(?) comes right to dante, who goes straight up, while alves, hopeless, *backs up* into dante and sort of runs into him while dante is already in the air. never should that be a foul.

          • mom4
            April 26, 2013

            We could have lost 6-0 if two handballs had been called.

  4. Chiu
    April 26, 2013

    – By the by, we’d seal the liga this week if we win and EE loss in Calderon. What a pyhscological boost before the remuntanda mission next Wed.

    – I haven’t heard anny news about the injury update of Messi. Could he play with 100% fitness and not reserving anything to avoid recurence?

    – I hope Tito would come with some surprising ultra offensive tactics that make Bayern shocked from the first minute (now idea how). I wish for 2-0 before half time, at the minimum; would make this tie more interesting.

    Visca Barca!

  5. Tsivoman
    April 26, 2013

    My personal thought/opinion on the humiliation in Munich.

    With all due respect to Tito, he should take full responsibility for what transpired in Munich and doing nothing about it. Seems a strong statement? yes it is.

    1) Messi being on the pitch was the first biggest mistake made. No one can tell me that the coaching staff had no idea of how ready/not ready Messi was for this game. They took a gamble yes but surely after 45min of seeing what the whole football world was also witnessing regarding Messi’s fitness, a change needed to be done no question.
    We were playing with ten men out there, it was particularly alarming to see both Xavi & Iniesta pressing all the way to Bayern’s keeper with Messi just standing around.
    If Messi insisted during half time in the dressing room that he was fit to continue playing despite the opposite and Tito accepted it, then this shows a lack of spine.
    Has the team and coaching staff become so dependent on Messi that the balance of the team in crucial games will be sacrificed to accommodate a crocket Messi? evidently so.

    2) Busquets has been another mystery, it’s been evident for all Barca fans that follow every game that Busquets has not been himself in the last few games/weeks. It was then later revealed that he was suffering from a groin or hip injury, I stand to be corrected on this one.
    Busquests struggles were also laid bare against Bayern. Is Song really that bad to not be trusted in a game of this magnitude?
    When it comes to Busquests, though an argument can be made about the “system itself failing”, we’ve all witnessed Busquests at his best even when the team is under siege, showing the composure, calmness and maturity beyond he’s age in the most difficult situations.
    Am i to be believe that the coaching staff did not have doubts about Busquets fitness going into this game? I don’t think so.

    The post-match statement made by Xavi that they’ll be looking to “HOG THE BALL” in Munich is quite telling when taken into context of how the match played out. It would would seem that the players knew their frailties both in attacking and defense going in and looked to mitigate them by maximizing possession.

    The statement “Barcelona has reached the point where ideology has trumped reality. Ideological adherence to The Cult of Possession has become the goal, rather than the tactic” rings true with regards match.

    Regardless of how the second-leg plays out, we will still be behind our boys. All we ask if for the team to leave their skin on the pitch come Wednesday night and do their best.
    After all, “If a man does his best what else is there?”

    • April 26, 2013

      We were told that Busquets had a hernia, but not what kind or what sort of treatment he was given. My brother had an abdominal hernia once and said it was the most painful thing he has ever experienced. He had to have surgery. Seems more likely that Busi has a groin hernia, they are pretty common and don’t necessarily require surgery.

      You can find out more here (WARNING: Graphic content!):


      • Tsivoman
        April 26, 2013

        Which makes it even more alarming for the coaching staff to allow him to play. Song will never be Busquets and he doesn’t need to be , however in this particular game, he would have made a massive difference.

        What’s worrying is the decisions being made in the mist of the all these injuries.
        But then again, what do I know?

  6. April 26, 2013

    After last year’s final, the kids didn’t start buying Chelsea jerseys. – very nice one.

    Am I alone in thinking that may be we might pull it through on Wed and Madrid wont. of course only if Messi and Busquets are 100%.

    • Chiu
      April 26, 2013

      no, am thinking the same too. there’s always a chance till the final whistle.

      • mom4
        April 26, 2013

        Aint over ’til the fat lady sings.

        Arg, just remembered that Wagner was German.

        Good pitch, proper lineup with fit players, heavy consumption red Bull energy drink pre-game, proper mindset, correct phase of the moon, plenty of prayers, back to Barca basics = we got this.

        Because we have nothing to lose, and if Messi isn’t 100% and gets thrown in there anayway he may as well be a proper 10:
        Barta, Pique, Abi
        Song, Busi
        Alves, Messi, Xavi
        Villa, Ini

        OK, so it makes no sense but at least there are some tall people there. I’d go so far as to throw Thiago in there for someone just for some Brazillian unpredictability. I want my Keita back!

    • April 26, 2013

      Nope, you’re not the only one. I still believe we can pull through. Keep the faith!

    • georgjorge
      April 26, 2013

      I don’t think the team can overcome this defeat in the second leg. I’m hoping that they give Bayern a run for their money, play tiki-taka like they are able to and at least win the game, but 4-0 against such a strong team would require not only radically altered tactics and incredible effort but also a huge amount of luck (we’re talking about half a dozen missed sitters and hitting the bar from Bayern here – they will get their chances if we have to play all-out). The only possibility I see is if the fabled Bayern arrogance shows up and their whole team stops putting effort into the mtach thinking they’ve already won the tie, but I can’t see that happening.

    • ooga aga
      April 26, 2013

      and, he says that he feels good and will be back next year!

  7. April 26, 2013

    Can believe the stuff I’m reading. Refs, Vilanova’s fault, blablabla. Absurd even at its absolute best. Nobody is culpable for that ass whipping except the players and technical staff, more the former than the latter, because the latter can draw up a game plan. It’s up to the players to execute it.

    Sure, that was a foul on Alba with the pick, but you know what? Robben was already past Alba when the pick occurred. Call the handballs, and it’s still 4-0, or maybe worse. People need to get the hell over the fact that this team got the crap kicked out of it, and move on. The hunt for blame is misguided, and doesn’t help anything. The people involved, from coaches to players, have already done far, far more than any of us can ever, ever do. And I guarantee that nobody feels an iota worse than they do.

    It sucks to hear jibes and taunts? Imagine how they ALL feel to look in the mirror and know they got a beating that bad from a team they believed, going into the match, that they were better than.

    It’s grow up time for cules. Fault? Let’s see: Vilanova, Sanchez, cult of possession, refs, sunspots, wet pitch …. am I missing anything? Bayern wanted it more, and they kicked our ass. Simple as that. Plenty of culpability and responsibility, but no blame. Now those same players have a chance to, next week, play a good match, starting with the player who is supposed to lead them, and who was one of the worst on the pitch against Bayern, Messi. Comebacks always start with your best, and flow outward from there.

    Let’s see what this club has. As I said during the second Classic against RM, I don’t care if the club wins or loses, but I want to see spine, heart and fight. Let’s see what they can do.

    • kosby
      April 26, 2013

      raise our glasses to a fight – we now have nothing to lose, lets fight and show them that we are Barca ! more than a club..and lets support it when it needs us the most…

    • Megster
      April 26, 2013

      Football tactics aside, let’s just have faith in our team. Let us be reminded that our team can score 7-8 goals. Of course Bayern is a tough team to beat at this point, but we are Barca. We may or may not win on Wednesday, but just like Xavi said, Barca will never lose its identity.

    • barca96
      April 26, 2013

      Absurd to criticize Tito for doing nothing and only make a substitute after the 4th goal with less than 10mins to play?
      Absurd to criticize him for not doing any sort of homework? Absurd for criticizing him for not pushing the players on during the match?

      Absurd to call out the ref mistakes?

      Why is it wrong for fans to voice their displeasure after a loss? Why is it wrong for us to critize the players while it’s ok for you to blame the players?

      I wasnt one of those guys who criticized Alexis (I think I was the only one here who saw the positives of him in the match) but I do understand what their complains are about. But why do you get so defensive when someone on this space criticizes Alexis? But it’s ok for you to criticize Messi.

      I really don’t understand it.

      • April 26, 2013

        Nobody is criticizing Messi. I repeat. Grow up. Sanchez, Vilanova. Who the hell could Vilanova have put in that would have altered the outcome of that match? Ask yourself that, before you armchair coach. The match is always easy from at home, watching on TV. But a coach knows his team and the capabilities of its players far, far better than we do.

        This isn’t about me, it’s about the team. And no, I don’t get defensive when someone criticizes Sanchez. I defend a player from unwarranted criticism and attempt to put that performance in context, same as I have done for a host of OTHER players in this very space, as well as over at the Offside.

        Understand how misguided your criticisms are Vilanova are, and you will understand much. I will quote you here:

        Absurd to criticize Tito for doing nothing and only make a substitute after the 4th goal with less than 10mins to play?

        Who could have made a difference, and why? Song? No. Villa. No. Thiago? No. Fabregas? No. Now what?

        Absurd to criticize him for not doing any sort of homework? Absurd for criticizing him for not pushing the players on during the match?

        What kind of a coach do you think Vilanova is? “Hey, guys, let’s just go to Munich and hope for the best. I have no idea how they play or set up, but we don’t need that. Visca!” Is that really what you think? And note that I said EVERYBODY is at fault for that defeat, INCLUDING the technical staff.

        Absurd to call out the ref mistakes?

        Better get those two handballs that he missed, as well, and add those to the Bayern goal tally.

        So now where are we? I’ll tell you. A few days removed from a beating. A real beating. THAT is where we are. Blame who you want, but if you think that singling out any one player or coach for that defeat will make a lick of difference, I’d love to know the rationale.

        • April 26, 2013

          This piece, by Peter Jenson at The Independent by the by, is excellent:


          And note that I didn’t write this bit:

          Messi’s peculiar no-show in the Allianz Arena will top the agenda. No one fared worse in the match statistics. He ran 7km (more than four miles) during the game, 2km down on his Champions League average. He is not injured, but neither does he seem fit.

          • Dani_el
            April 26, 2013

            Excellent article. Here a quote:
            “Just as significant in the defeat were Barcelona’s shortcomings at the back; defensive problems that have long since threatened to cause embarrassment in a big game. At the start of the season the club tried and failed to sign first Thiago Silva and then Javi Martinez. Under the old regime, with the flamboyant president Joan Laporta in charge, Silva’s wage demands would have been met. But Laporta, and his famously extensive club credit-card account, are history at the Nou Camp, and the current president, Sandro Rosell, sees a sizeable annual reduction in the club’s debt as another trophy.”

          • KEVINO17
            April 26, 2013

            Actually, I’m criticising Messi. He should never have played. He ran about 60% of the distance most players would be expected to run – and I don’t think it was just fitness. He didn’t have confidence in his hamstring. In a way, it was worse than playing with ten men because, at least, the missing man doesn’t usually cough up the ball all the time.
            In the light of that, I’m not sure anyone can draw any conclusions from the Bayern game (other than the problem of messi-dependence).

        • Rivaldo
          April 26, 2013

          I dont usually so this but… I LOVE THIS!!!! A great big pair of BALLS shown here!

          Face that reality. I’m tired of Barca fans tiptoe-ing around the real issues and singling out individual players and stuff.

        • Ryan
          April 26, 2013

          Villa made plenty of difference vs. Milan, so why not? And Song might have made more of a difference than a hernia-carrying Busi. But in any case, let’s just hope we show more signs of life in the 2nd leg.

    • Barka
      April 26, 2013

      I wholeheartedy agree with you Kxevin.

        • BA
          April 26, 2013

          the idea that changing Villa for Messi (who was plainly not fit from the start) and moving him to a more orthodox striker’s role which that would have given our midfield more space, would have made no difference is farcical.

          we have one of the canniest, most professional squads in European football. the idea that the coach can’t make a decision at halftime, or at 60 minutes, to make a couple of subs and change tactics to try to influence the game is PATENTLY RIDICULOUS. he just chose not to. which, in retrospect, was wrong. and it’s not an assault on a cancer survivor to say so; it’s a criticism of a mistake made by a head manager with less than a year’s experience at the top level.

          • April 26, 2013

            What is farcical is assuming that a guy who was essentially a pylon in his last outing would somehow suddenly have the mojo to beat a defense such as the one that Bayern was playing. So he’s standing around, off of Javi Martinez’s shoulder. They are intercepting the same passes that they were intercepting, and cutting off the same passing angles.

            I can assure you that if Vilanova thought that putting in Villa would have made a crap’s difference, he would have done it long before the 80th minute.

  8. psalmuel
    April 26, 2013

    Don’t know but right from the onset, even before the 1st leg,I had this confidence that barca would make it to the finals. I don’t know how,but am pretty confident we will go through. And for those of you who don’t believe,don’t bother to tune in on wednesday for the match

    • mom4
      April 26, 2013

      From your lips to God’s ears…well…from your keyboard to…you get the idea…

      Arsenal almost did it. Kinda believe that we have a better team than Arsenal.

      • April 26, 2013

        That thought entered my mind, too. To be immediately obliviated by the following thought:

        Bayern went into the second leg, thinking “mweeehh it is Arsenal. We can do this with our eyes closed. They were so weak that Robben can probably score a right-footed hat-trick against them.”

        Barça is Barça is Barça is never Arsenal. They will respect us.

        Which is not to say that we can’t, but just that Bayern will not take the same mentality to the Camp Nou as they did to the Emirates.

        Just like I doubt Dortmund will take the Bernabeu game lightly. That game can, by the way, be a lot more important for how I will feel at the end of the season than our date with the Bavarians.

        • mom4
          April 26, 2013

          Hey, don’t tread on that thin vein of hope I have! 🙂

          Kinda feel the same way about the game in the Bernabeu though. If Dortmund can deny RM the decima, I think I’ll just have to start watching the Bundesliga and cheer for them out of respect and gratitude next year. Spiteful? Maybe.

          My main hope is that we play well and win at home, whether we go through or not. I want us to play like we can. Show me our beautiful game again, boys.

    • Barcaleya
      April 26, 2013


      From your lips to God’s ear indeed

  9. April 26, 2013

    From Tito’s press conference:

    I haven’t talked to Victor. He was very clear. He said he didn’t want to continue when his contracts ends – he did not say next season. If he came from elsewhere I could have tried to convince him to stay by explaining him what Barcelona (our team and city) mean, but he knows this club better then I. I have no problem if he wants to continue next year. Right now we have important games and later I will talk with him. What is certain is that ever since he announced his decision he has played excellently.

  10. psalmuel
    April 27, 2013

    How about EE losing the copa del rey to Atletico Falcao, after having their la decima dream kicked by dortmund, into the abyss? Spiteful ay? Lol

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