Allianz Arena, Munich - Record German champions Bayern Munich were given an early season footballing lesson by a Barcelona B-team in the prestigious Audi Cup final last night.
A goal in each half by the 20-year-old midfielder Thiago was enough for the reigning Champions League winners to coast to a 2-0 victory, despite missing arguably the best player in the world Argentinean Lionel Messi and his Spanish counterpart Xavi.
New and old FCB trainer Jupp Heynckes shuffled his pack too, starting the match with very much a second string side. Only new signing Rafinha and Holger Badstuber retained their starting spots from the penalty shoot-out victory over AC Milan the previous evening.
Veteran goalkeeper Jörg Butt was preferred to big money signing Manuel Neuer between the sticks and was tested from distance by Spanish World Cup winner David Villa.
Jerome Boateng enjoyed a composed first start for the Bavarians after his recent move from Manchester City.
However, once again, the Reds badly missed the spark and creativity of the injured "Flying Dutchman" Arjen Robben. In fact, the hosts only real chance of a turgid first half fell to Austrian David Alaba after a fine through ball by Japanese youngster Takashi Usami. Barcas goalkeeper and captain for the night, Victor Valdes, blocked Alabas shot on 38 minutes.
Barcelona punished this missed chance by scoring from their next opportunity just before the break. Thiago rose highest at the back post after a Soriano cross to glance home a fine header, leaving Butt stranded.
With a strong Bayern bench the home fans could not be blamed for expecting a storming second half comeback.
But this proved to be a damp squib with many substitutions on both sides disrupting play with few chances created to excite a sell-out crowd of 66,000 at the Allianz Arena.
A tell-tale indicator of any flat game is the amount of Mexican Waves as fans try and create their own entertainment and atmosphere.
Barca effectively sealed the Audi Cup 2011 trophy on 75 minutes. Thiago doubled his tally with a cultured curling shot into the right hand corner after intricate combination play on the edge of the box. Butt was again left grasping at thin air in the Reds goal.
In the third place play-off, Brazil's SC Internacional (Porto Alegre) beat AC Milan 2-0 on penalties after an entertaining game had finished 2-2, with the Italian champions missing all four of their spot-kicks.