FC Bayern Munich – FC Barcelona: Berlin bound for the Champions League Final! (3-2)

FC Bayern Munich – FC Barcelona: Berlin bound for the Champions League Final! (3-2)

Two first half goals from Neymar are enough to ensure Barça reach the final in Berlin with a convincing 5-3 aggregate

Barça booked their place in the 2014/15 Champions League Final in Berlin, despite losing 3-2 on the night in Munich. A stunning first half when Neymar scored twice and Ter Stegen pulled off some breath-taking saves to virtually put the tie out of Bayern’s reach was followed by a more subdued 45 minutes that saw Bayern pull a couple back for a pyrrhic victory on the night, but a 5-3 defeat over the two legs.

Explosive start

The match began at a dizzy pace with Neuer pulling out a great stop after just three minutes when Rakitic was put through with a ball over the top from Alves and moments later Pique threw himself to block a dangerous shot from Thiago. The Bayern crowd were roaring their team on and when on 7 minutes a corner from the right found Benatia unmarked towards the back post to head past Ter Stegen, Barça had the worst of starts.

Bayern’s tails were up now, as Lewandowski threatened on the break and Schweinsteiger fired a long range effort over, but Barça were finding spaces behind the Bayern back line and just as the Germans looked at their most dangerous, Messi, with a perfectly weighted pass, freed Suarez who drew the keeper and squared for Neymar to tap in. Bayern now needed four more to go through.

Ter Stegen to the fore

That job could have looked much easier but for some excellent work from Ter Stegen who pulled off three great stops from Lewandowski and Müller before making the save of the night – and maybe of the season – with a reflex stop from a point blank effort by Lewandowski. By then, Neymar had doubled his tally when a Bayern mix up let Suárez through on the counter and the Uruguayan again set up his strike partner to rifle the ball past Neuer and leave Bayern needing five to win the tie.

Bayern rally in vain

With Pedro on for Suárez who’d felt a twinge in his hamstring, Barça took the sting out the game at the start of the second half, though a piece of skill from Lewandowski gave Bayern the equaliser just on the hour mark. Luis Enrique brought on Mathieu for Ratikic to beef up the defence with Mascherano moving into middle, but on 73 minutes, Müller struck a well hit drive from just outside the box to give Bayern the lead again.

There was now just the faintest glimmer of hope for Bayern, but with Xavi on in midfield to calm things down, the Germans never really looked like scoring three more to pull off the shock of the century and a couple of late counters could have provided Barça with a third.

In the end, it was the ruthlessness of Barça’s front three – both at the Camp Nou and here in Munich, together with some stellar stops from Ter Stegen, which proved the difference and it’ll be Barça who are back on German turf next month when they bid for their fifth Champions League trophy.

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