A Neymar double helped Barcelona progress to their
first Champions League final since 2011 despite a 3-2
second-leg semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich on
A Lionel Messi double and Neymar’s strike at Camp
Nou last Wednesday had given the Liga leaders a 3-0
lead after the first encounter and, despite a spirited
display, Bayern were unable to complete a remarkable
fightback in the return leg.
Mehdi Benatia’s early header gave Bayern
hope, but Pep Guardiola described his former club
Barca as the best counter-attacking team in the world
ahead of the game and they lived up to that billing at
the Allianz Arena.
Luis Suarez laid on two goals for Neymar – who now
has 37 for the season and has scored in his last seven
matches – in the first half and, although Robert
Lewandowski and Thomas Muller gave the Bundesliga
champions victory on the night, the job had been done
by Barca in the first leg.
It was the visitors’ first defeat since February and they
had not conceded for over 10 hours prior to
Tuesday’s game, but they remain on course for a
famous treble in Luis Enrique’s first season in charge,
while Bayern have crashed out in the semi-finals two
years running under Guardiola.
Luis Enrique had stated he did not want a “crazy”
clash in Bavaria, but the Barca coach must have been
fearing the worst when Benatia gave Guardiola’s side
the lead on the night after only seven minutes.
The defender punished some slack marking by meeting
Xabi Alonso’s corner with a header that Marc-Andre
ter Stegen got a hand to, but failed to keep out.
Bayern never looked capable of keeping the Liga
leaders’ potent attacking trio quiet, though, and they
combined with great effect for a deserved equaliser
eight minutes later.
Messi found Suarez with an incisive pass and the
Uruguay striker showed great awareness to square the
ball for Neymar to tap into the empty net after Manuel
Neuer had come out to narrow the angle.
Ter Stegen then showed outstanding agility to keep out
Muller’s header, but Bayern were made to pay for
more poor defending when Neymar struck again after
The lively Suarez raced away all too easily and was
once again allowed the time to unselfishly lay the ball
across goal for the Brazilian, who chested it down and
Lewandowski really ought to have equalised when he
found space in the penalty area, but his initial shot
was brilliantly saved by Ter Stegen and the German
goalkeeper rose to his feet sharply to scramble back in
order to prevent the whole ball from crossing the line.
Pedro replaced the impressive Suarez at half-time and Lewandowski made no mistake with a fine finish to
make it 2-2 on the night just before the hour-mark.
The Poland striker showed lovely footwork to beat
Javier Mascherano just inside the area before showing
great composure into the bottom-right corner of the
Muller grabbed a winner 16 minutes from time with a
lovely first-time finish, but the damage had been done