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Messi after one of two brilliant goals against Bayern / GERMÁN PARGA-FCB

Messi and Messi. And a thousand times Messi. The best player ever stepped up to save Barça from a game that seemed to have stagnated. After 77 minutes, he received the ball on the edge of the area after a crucial recovery from Alves and placed a powerful strike beyond the reach of Neuer. Three minutes later he did something even better – he left Boateng stranded and then delivered a fine chip over his head of Neuer. Messi made all the difference tonight.

Pep Guardiola returns: The former captain and most successful manager ever in the history of Barça featured as a visitor at the Camp Nou for the first time. The Bayern manager took a strong part in everything his team did, making tactical changes all the way. One of the images of the night was his hug with Luis Enrique just before kick-off.

The battle for possession: Both sides were locked in an intense battle to keep possession of the ball. They gave 200% to chain passes together and use combination plays to create pressure on the opposition. The possession was tightly matched all the way. Barça led at half time with 52% and ended with 51%. The home side made 411 passes and the visitors 513 (data from Opta).

Neuer’s feet: The goalkeeper kept Bayern unbeaten in the first half. After 12 minutes he produced a fine save to deny Luis Suárez and another after 39 against Dani Alves. Neymar was also through on goal when one of the finest goalkeepers in the game showed another touch of class.

Excellent result, magic night: Neymar, in practically the last move of the game, sealed a 3-0 win that sets the Catalans up perfectly for the return leg. Three goals for and no away goals to boost Bayern’s confidence. The Camp Nou was witness to a historic night against the Bundesliga champions. Then fans got right behind their team and Berlin is now closer than ever.

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