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    Bayern v Barcelona: Apocalypse or beginning of a new order?

    You aren't a journalist if you don't speculate. So what if the speculation is about the world coming to an end after watching the world's best football club capitulate in a manner that might even shame the German defeat at Stalingrad?

    As sports fans and observers, we are often prone to hyperbole, but that may be excused if the matter up for debate is whether modern football's most decorated and radiant epoch is entering its twilight zone. What we saw in Munich has been witnessed quite often this season: a clueless Barcelona, unable to switch to a Plan B. Why? Because it doesn't have one.

    The philosophy that has helped the Catalans not just rule world football but also write their own bit of history is based on the fact that possession is supreme. But when that doesn't yield results, what can be done? Does that mean that all the pomp and show was eventually down to the genius of the Little Argentine? Certainly not as we have seen the contribution made by the likes of Xavi and Iniesta, two mid-field generals who have worked without showing any signs of fatigue over the last decade.

    But time stops for no one. The chinks can are evident now as the generals have started to slow down. The spark is missing and an unfit Messi could do little as the Bavarians marauded his team in front of a home crowd hungry for European success.

    Bayern Munich have been the eternal bridesmaid. They have pretty much stuck to the German tradition of being the second best on majority of occasions, be it at the club or international level. But with a team which has the perfect balance of youth and experience, Bayern are ready to take over from Barcelona as the new leaders. The arrival of Pep Guardiola couldn't be timelier. So will the creator of the old order help dismantle his sprawling structure to shape the edifice of the new order? That question can be left to posterity for Jupp Heynckes is yet to pack his bags.

    The second leg at the Camp Nou will provide a clearer picture as to whether Barcelona are still the Force Majeure of European football or is it time for the curtain call. The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once opined: "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering". Tito Vilanova will hope that his team will survive the sufferings of the 90 minutes at the Allianz Arena and come out with a meaningful performance at the Camp. For even a die-hard Real Madrid supporter cannot see this Barcelona team succumb like the way they did.

    Arnab Sen is a Senior Sports Correspondent at CNN-IBN, who has spent the last decade waiting to see Real Madrid reclaim their lost European glory.

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