This, even though it appears under my name, is a minute-by-minute rundown from Kari, who many of you no doubt remember as a journalistic delight and breath of fresh air. So suffice it to say, when she banged out this piece and offered it to me, I said “Yes” faster than Adriano hopping on the injury cart. So heeeere’s Kari! (@officialkari on Twitter)
FCB v FCB – a running diary
I only have my laptop and a lot of free time right now, so I’m going to amuse myself by writing a really crappy min-by-min.
12:25 pm: The game is on my TV so I get to hear the GOLTV Canada dude go on about the obvious narrative here. For my sanity’s sake, I just won’t talk about it until I have to.
Our starting eleven consists of: Pinto – Montoya, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano – Song, JDS, Sergi Roberto – Alexis, Messi, Tello.
I don’t understand why anyone would panic seeing a lineup like that. Messi is there and he counts as twenty extra players. The general consensus (though I’m not on Twitter so I wouldn’t know) seems to be that this will be very painful, though; Adriano’s hamstring twinges in solidarity.
12:27 pm: As I type that a slow-mo of Thiago laughing shows up on my TV. It’s going to be a long day.
He’s in the starting eleven for Bayern along with Neuer, Alaba, Dante, Somebody Boateng, Rafinha, Kroos, Lahm, Muller, Ribery and Robben.
I’ll probably have to do some retrospective editing once I find out who that somebody is. Everything is harder when you can’t get your starting eleven online. How did old school journalists manage?
12:31pm: Barça is coming out with the senyera kit. It’s so good the pre-match commentator actually ditches his professional stance and gives his personal opinion: it’s better than the neon kits that look like they were on fire.
Good to know.
12:33 pm: It’s all fun and games in the tunnel, with everyone hugging and laughing. If this were a movie, the camera would cut away right about now to the bloodbath that will probably occur on the pitch, with Javi Martinez snarling at everything that moves and Sergi Roberto aggressively pouting at the referee.
12: 34 pm: Dante’s afro is a thing of wonder.
12:35 pm: The referee is listed as Dr. Felix Brych. Doctor Felix Brych. We’ve got an overachiever in the stadium, guys.
30 seconds in: Messi drives forward and curls a shot that misses the far post. This match has officially started better than any of our last preseason games.
2 min: Thiago dispossess Alexis of the ball and starts a move going forward that ends in a Pinto save. Don’t quote me on that, though, I’m having troubling seeing through my pool of tears.
4 min: Dante miscontrols and lets Messi in, which is pretty exciting, except Tello doesn’t do anything when Messi passes to him. In the resulting counter Ribery clips the ball over Montoya* and crosses to Robben at the far post. Anyone who knows Robben and doesn’t buy into the redemption narrative knows how that ends [SPOILER ALERT – in a bottled attempted at a goal]. “That was a close one!” breathes the commentator. It was, but it was also Robben so it really wasn’t.
*He was kind of owned there, to be honest. Like how Arbeloa gets owned every game, which is really saying something, given the level of ownage Arbeloa brings to the table on any given day. He’ll still make the national team, though, so no sweat off your back, Monty.
5 min: Camera pans to Pep for the first time. He’s standing magnificently in a white shirt and pants, which disappoints all the fashionistas, or maybe not, seeing how well he pulls off the casual look. How many times will the camera subject me to these shots during this game? I’m gonna say fifty.
7 min: “Lahm really looks like he’s enjoying himself,” the comm muses. “Considering he was a left back all his life.” He also feels he should mention David Alaba’s mom calls Alaba “Davey.” I’m already thinking of Davey Jones’ Locker. Thanks for that, comm.
8 min: It’s going back and forth between the two teams. Nothing is really happening, but Bayern is menacingly stringing together some deadly looking passes near the half-way line.
9 min: Bayern fans making some noise now, something that has the commentator remarking, “The crowd has realized that Barcelona hasn’t come for a nice stroll in the deep recesses of Bavaria.” No. No they haven’t. They might have come for a football game, but I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Oh, here’s a chance! Alaba sprints down the end and blasts a shot at Pinto’s diving mid-drift. Almost sent this 0-0 scoreline to the locker!
10 min: That was a terrible joke. I could do better.
10 min: Some niggling fouls here from Barça [and by niggling, I mean reckless sliding tackles that have me cringing, mostly from Mascherano, bless his aggressive heart]. Kroos and Robben take the resulting free kicks, but it come to naught – as you’d expect from Robben, not so much from Kroos.
Speaking of Kroos, the comm pronounces his name like a true German, which sounds weird considering the rest of the sentence is said with a posh British accent. I guess he really practised the name before coming on air. I wonder how he’d fare with Deulofeu. (Badly, I’d imagine, but he also probably wouldn’t call him Deufoleu like Everton, so there’s that).
11 min: Thiago fouls JDS near the centre circle. A longing look is exchanged by the two blood brothers. In my head.
There’s been another shot of Pep, by the way, but he was mostly obscured by those random people that are always on the touchline. It’s better this way.
12 min: Barça haven’t really been able to connect many passes together, but not for want of trying. Bayern pressing well enough and it probably helps that they have some Barça players passing to them, too.
13 min: The 7-0 has been mentioned more than JDS has in this game.
14 min: GOAL. Right on cue. Lahm scores a header after a fantastic pin point cross from Ribery. Philip Lahm scores a header. Lahm. Header. Scored. Of course he would.
15 min: The commentator isn’t as in tune with the poetic irony that surrounds Barça and their defence, though, so he says, “Who would’ve thought Phillip Lahm, who Bayern thought was made for right back, who had his name written on the position, engraved in the grass, would score a header!”
I did, comm. As soon as I saw he was in that position in front of the net. It was destiny.
17 min: Montoya and Sergi Roberto link up almost for a goal. TV has a reaction shot of Bastian Schweinsteiger on the bench because we all wanted to know what he felt about that near miss.
I don’t understand, either.
18 min: Commentators love to draw comparisons between established players and up-and-coming ones to help fans draw some kind of talent hierarchy for promising kids, probably for Football Manager purposes, which is fine, whatever. It tends to be flattering for the youngsters most of the time, anyway. But my commentator just compared Sergi Roberto to Cesc Fabregas which is nestled in the sweet spot between slightly flattering, hilariously offensive and damning with faint praise, depending on who you ask. (You know who you are.)
19 min: A meandering ball finds its way to the boot of Messi. He shuffles left to try and create a better angle for himself, but Bayern form a big, dark Berlin Wall in front of him. That means the shot was blocked and a counter for the Bavarians begin.
20 min: Surprisingly, they only slightly terrorize our defense and don’t get a shot in. The ball is pick-pocketed by Messi, but Muller and Kroos converge on him pretty much instantly and Dr. Felix whistles for a foul.
“It always surprises me how much stick that man can take,” the comm says. “Messi must be the most fouled player in the football business.”
Marca would probably disagree with you, comm. Marca would probably call you an Argentine sycophant who doesn’t pay their taxes and supports dictators.
24 min: Lahm is fouled by Mascherano and Robben stands over the free kick. “If you’re a Bayern fan, you’ll be hoping…” the comm starts, but aborts the sentence when he realises just who is over the free kick. He’s a quick study. Bayern fans already knew, comm.
28 min: The ball’s been popped around. Bayern’s been camped in the Barça half for a good four minutes. Neuer’s probably made himself a sandwich by now.
29 min: Barça get a rare ball down into the attack third. JDS throws caution to the wind and blasts one up and high over the crossbar, just to see if he’s paying attention. Neuer keeps on chewing his sandwich.
30 min: A nice passing move by Bayern ends with Muller stretching to toe poke the ball past Pinto but Adriano 2017 is there to get the ball away. Amazingly. His hamstring hasn’t snapped. Miraculously.
32 min: The commentator says the crowd has decided to amuse themselves by doing a Mexican wave. He’s really, really impressed by this.
34 min: Fouls on Ribery have surpassed the number of shots we’ve had all game. Luckily, Bayern’s free kicks have been as effective as Dani Alves’.
37 min: Tello on the left almost scores a golazo. Curls just around the wrong side of the post. Neuer had to put away his sandwich to dive for that.
39 min: The 7-0 has now been mentioned more times than JDS has in his entire career.
40 min: “Again, some shoddy defending from Barcelona almost gives the ball away to Robben,” notes the comm with some irritation, though that’s possibly just me projecting. Mascherano gets a yellow for cutting down Ribery by the patella. Comm is very unimpressed, calling it deliberately nasty, then decides to psychoanalyse the intention behind the challenge beyond completely failing to get near the ball.
“It’s obviously that wound Bayern inflicted in that semi-final,” he diagnoses. “Possibly more in-bred than we previously imagined.”
42 min: We have an actual doctor on the field, though, and he hands Bartra a yellow for manhandling Ribery whose foul count surpasses the number of successful passes by Barcelona.
44 min: Rafinha almost pulls a Messi vs Estudiantes in the CWC, chesting the ball towards goal but it hits the post. Neuer was beat, having not seen it coming, but then again he was making himself a new sandwich so that could be his own fault.
It’s the closest Barca have come to scoring, though. That should tell you everything about this game.
Well, that was not as bad it probably should have been, all things considered. The shortest Bayern player scored the only goal separating the two sides with his head, but that’s just par the course for this Barca defense.
Also Thiago and Pep, but I won’t be going there right now.
I’m going to extrapolate and think people will be screaming for a CB after that. In all honestly what’s had me seething with bitterness and possibly unhealthy jealously is the verticalidad from Bayern. So crisp and beautiful, they always have at least two men open to receive a pass and they’ve got their geometry right. It’s nice to watch and also sucks lemons.
Oh, and apparently the team bus was stuck in traffic before the game. In retrospect we probably should have paid attention to that obviously ominous sign. The traffic just wanted to stop a massacre, guys. The traffic just wanted to protect unsuspecting cule hearts.
True, it’s only one-nil. But I’m channelling cule feelings here.
I see Kiko Femenia is on the pitch. Those who know me from following Barça B probably know I think he looks like a stoned surfer, which is a lot more affectionate than it probably sounds.
45 min: “It’s a completely new outfit for Barcelona. This is going to be fun!” the comm says with a shocking amount of glee. I’m actually blindsided by the genuine delight in his voice. What the hell, comm. I thought we had something. I thought you were on our side. I thought you were against bloodbaths and massacres. It’s like I don’t even know you.
46 min: I don’t know the lineup because I’m internet less, but I just saw Dongou. Jean Marie Dongou.
I mean, he probably won’t score, but hell to the yes. I’m stoked now, so stoked I actually used the word ‘stoked’ in a sentence like it’s 1999.
Also saw new Barça B player Dani Nieto. At least the latter will taste what it’s like to play under a proper manager before being subjected to a season of Eusebio.
47 min: The ball is passed around lazily by both teams. Comm reiterates how fun this will be, and he somewhat clarifies his stance by saying he hopes there’ll be a lot more goals. That’s still a pretty crappy thing to say considering there are innocent children on the field now.
48 min: A poster held by a beaming girl reads: “The best player in the world Messi Ribery. Bitten dein trinkot!” I don’t know what that means, but I do hope it’s German for “Kidding! I’m just trolling for the cameras!” It doesn’t sound like it, though.
51 min: The camera pans to Robben and Muller on the bench. I’m not sure what they want me to say about that, but Robben looks like he just came out of a strange version of Dutch GQ which makes me very uncomfortable for obvious reasons. Also, he looks slightly less bald from that angle but it might just be the shadow from the bench over his head masquerading as hair.
52 min: Thiago almost scores a header. “Already a great understanding between these new players and the old guard,” the comm notes, just to f— with me. The TV crew gets a great reaction shot of Pep walking back towards the bench, looking like he doesn’t give a damn.
53 min: In case you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm. Pep wasn’t doing anything but we get five-second reaction shots of him standing and walking anyway. Glad to see you’ve got your priorities straight, cameraman.
54 min: “I can’t remember commenting on a game where a team has replaced their entire eleven with a new one,” the comm marvels, and just as I’m thinking a snarky comment about how he must be new to this friendly business, he adds, “Though I know this is a friendly game and it’s only preseason.”
55 min: Shaqiri shows some skill on the side to fool our left back, but his cross comes to nothing, and his hair makes him look like a douche.
56 min: It’s all Bayern right now as the Barça Babies try to hang on. Ribery cuts back in the box and lets one rip, probably looking to make his shots-on-goal count match his fouled count [impossible but preseason is the time to try new things] but Oier goes down to make a solid save.
58 min: Davey Jones is blowing this popsicle stand, along with Dante and Lahm, being subbed out for Van Buyten and Gustavo … No, wait, that was just a random shot of Davey Alaba. It’s only Dante and Lahm coming off.
59 min: There’s a slow-mo moment of a beaming Pep congratulating Dante. Who the hell is in charge of this camera crew? I hate them.
62 min: Back passes backfire badly for the Barça defense, as number 18 on Barça – that looks like Patric to me – is dispossessed by the sovereign killer of youngster dreams Franck Ribery, who slots the ball back to a Mandzukic that’s stationed at the top of the box. Oier makes a fantastic diving save though.
64 min: The 7-0 has now been mentioned more times than JDS has in his entire life.
66 min: Pep decides to take out Ribery and a couple of other players for Schweini and co. as if that’s some kind of mercy to our A-team-that’s-really-currently-our-B-team. Oh, Pep. I can’t even hate.
68 min – STOP THE FUDGING PRESS. I just saw Javi Espinosa. He’s wearing the number 8 after his idol Iniesta.
This is glorious. I think I might cry. Once upon a time I thought he was abducted by flying monkeys and held ransom in some Brazilian jungle, but he was really just banished to the bench by Eusebio for two seasons. And when I say banished, I really mean condemned, like JDS style condemned, only his was not voluntary and a million times more inexplicable.
71 min: Thiago is still on the field. I’m pretty sure this has crossed the line into the cruel and unusual, Pep. Like, I’m not saying you should sub out Thiago for the sake of my psyche. but you should sub out Thiago.
72 min: It’s like Pep is reading my mind, Thiago comes off for Pizzaro. I’m glad he cares that much about my psyche. Last season’s Barça didn’t. They messed me up so much, they drove me to hockey. Hockey. Jury’s still out on whether that’s temporary madness on my part or a genuine psychic break. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, Neuer has started making sandwiches for the fans, too. If it’s well received he might start a business.
74 min: The Barça Babies are being whistled by the Bayern fans. Comm whips out his psychoanalysis cred once more and says the fans are probably upset the entire eleven has been changed and there are a bunch of players they’ve never heard of on the pitch.
Well, tough sh*t, Bayern fans. You’ll find out who Dongou and Espinosa are when they seek asylum from Eusebio and Rosell in your team in two years.
75 min: That hurt to type.
78 min: Comm is really, truly amused by the concept of fans engaging in a Mexican wave. This is probably the third time he’s mentioned it, complete with a tone of wonder, like this is something groundbreaking that fans never do at football games, ever.
79 min: Davey Jones is still on the field, by the way, Gandalfing anything that comes his way. Kiko cannot pass, even with his surfing experience. There was no one in the box anyway.
82 min: Barça Babies working really hard. “Possession wise, it’s looking really good for them,” says the comm, which is all that really matters to Xavi. “But the final pass has been lacking.”
A lot of things have been lacking at Barça lately, okay, like Rosell’s moral compass and general competency, but we make do with what we have, comm. We just power on like the little fans who could.
84 min: The 7-0 has now been mentioned more times than everyone in the history of the planet, including the Royal Baby.
86 min: GOAL. Bayern scores their second. “That’s how you play football!” the comm screams as Davey Jones sends this match well and truly to his locker, doggedly keeping the play alive so Mandzukic gets the goal, a tap-in in front of the net.
“There was a slight smell of offside,” continues the comm alluding to Mandzukic, “but if it was, it was a sheet of paper!”
I don’t know what the nasality of being offside is but it probably doesn’t have anything to do with paper.
88 min – Of course I don’t make a job of smelling paper so I could be wrong.
89 min: Considering the utter domination by Bayern pretty much from the get-go, this hasn’t been all the bad. I mean, I don’t think we’ve had a real shot on target and the only place we’ve overachieved is in the fouls committed area, but Rome wasn’t rebuild in one day and the babies have accounted themselves well, despite what whistling Bayern fans may think.
AND THAT’S IT!
Dr. Felix blows the final whistle to a contest that wasn’t nearly as soul-crushing as the last time we met but still felt a lot like walking on a carpet of pin needles.
The positives: Adriano’s hamstrings are still together, as far as we know. We gave the kids a run out. Thiago didn’t score. Pep didn’t score. Messi was there. Alexis got to run around. Neuer’s sandwich business fizzled out towards the end. JDS didn’t pass to Thiago by mistake. I’m only slightly blotchy for seeing our former player/coach with another team. None of the kids took Pep’s advice by mistake. Robben is still bald. Dr. Felix was pretty awesome in this match, it has to be said; he shouldn’t quite his day job obviously, but he should definitely start a Facebook page for competent refereeing. It will be mandatory for La Liga refs to join.
Also, no one got injured.
The negatives: everything else.
Whatever. It’s preseason so it’s not like anyone will be drawing conclusions. Wait, let me amend that. It’s not like anyone who has sense will be drawing any conclusions.