Four-nil ...

Look, let's not get all carried away and breathless. Just because somebody just made the Team of the World of the (New) Century look disfigured and then disintegrated, and just because after a while Barcelona started looking like a bunch of guys who borrowed the shirts and ran out into Munich, inept enough that the possessions that have so befuddled the world began to look piddling, such that you might start thinking, What are they doing out there? and (deep inhale here) just because when that happened, its defense went from never-quite-legendary to frighteningly brittle, and just because the whole thing was so strange that as the players exited the pitch for halftime, you might have thought to yourself, Wait, Iniesta played that half? and ...

OK, OK, calm down. Four-nil. Take the long view. Don't hopscotch to conclusions, except that in a single night, Bayern Munich took this gaudy semifinal between the German Bundesliga champion and the Spanish La Liga champion and just killed the thing, annihilated it, left it in shards; took just about the most exciting prospect of recent years in sports -- a return match at Camp Nou -- and rendered it just about meaningless, blase, something to watch maybe, something where you might just catch the highlights, because going home to Camp Nou down 2-0 to AC Milan in March was hard, but 4-0 to a stouter Bayern Munich is not even interesting, so the thing is dead, and ...

All right. We have all seen four-nils before. They do happen. There's no sense overreacting and committing sociology over the thing, even if Bayern pretty much did epitomize the new-era German soccer, did spend a 93-minute frame demonstrating the deadness of the old, methodical approach with this fresh era still steeped in good discipline but meshed with panache, and even if, beyond that, Bayern did make the mind wander to one of its favorite sports ideas of recent times, how the German national team anymore reflects an exciting, energetic, cosmopolitan country with excellent metropolises such as the riveting capital, and ...

Whew. Still, still, we all must cool it. The great Lionel Messi looked like he shouldn't have been playing. He looked like he lacked that very twitch, whatever it is, that sets him free of all others across the greenery of the world, the thing that allows his rampages that make stadiums seem to shake. Instead, he gave a dull, apt definition of "hamstrung," one you might call decisive, but, but wait a minute, wait, this was a four-nil that looked more like a 5-0, a right mauling, a strategic pulverizing that might have been 4-1 with Messi, or 5-1, and, what's more, one that seemed to show that if Barcelona can look like this because of a hamstrung Messi, maybe the fade so often mentioned really has come, and beyond even that ...

And beyond even that, this ruthless rout took a club renowned and adored for its elegance and saw it mutate into annoying punk-dom, so that after the fourth goal would come the moment to outlive the others, the moment already wreaking global football chatter, the one where the native Barcelonian Jordi Alba took the ball at the sideline and threw it into the face of the waiting Arjen Robben, a gesture that many a fan has wished to emulate toward Robben in some form, yet one that probably becomes the signature moment so far for the 24-year-old Alba even given all his left-fullback quality, and ...

And. Still. Let's put a stop to the overreaction. It's just one night, even though it almost certainly clinches this semifinal. Barcelona has gone down before at this juncture -- to Inter Milan after the ash cloud prompted the 14-hour bus trip in 2010, to Chelsea's 10-man heart in 2012. Barcelona will menace again beautifully in spring 2014, except that Bayern's recent-years climb through Europe has found some compelling new tier, and savants on Twitter started yanking out terminology such as "changing of the guard" -- and you know it's momentous when savants on Twitter start yanking out "changing of the guard" -- and in addition to its stoutness and its flash, Bayern Munich showed the ardor of the two-time finalist, beaten in 2010, beaten after leading on 85 minutes in 2012, but ready to atone, and ... and ...

And next season Bayern will have former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.

Man, people might cite this four-nil for the next 50 years.