Let’s start our recap of Barcelona v Bayern Munich with this: I’ve seen people at Benny Hinn crusades who look more solid on their feet than Jerome Boateng when he was trying to mark Messi on that second goal. Here’s another angle of the goal:

messi-v-boateng

But really:

And this:

And one more funny gif to summarize Messi’s relationship with the Bayern defense:

messi-smash-boateng

OK. I’m done. I promise.

Sorry. Anyway, three quick post-game thoughts:

Neuer can help you beat expected goals. But so can Messi.

At halftime I made the point that having a player who controls the game inside the 18-yard box can be huge in these two-leg playoff ties because one goal can swing so much of the tie. Neuer stood tall in the first half, but in the second it was all Messi. The first goal was nicely taken, but it was one that most elite attacking players would score at least some of the time. But the second was vintage Messi:

Like Guardiola said before the game–there’s no defending that.

And it’s not just that the goal gave Barça a 2-0 lead. It also forced Bayern to attack which led to Luis Suarez and Neymar both getting cracks at Neuer on breakaways with Neymar burying his chance and killing off the tie.

Bayern undone by injuries.

This will always be the Messi Game, but Bayern fans will remember it with questions about what might have been had their best players been available. David Alaba and Arjen Robben are both game-changing players and neither was in the squad today. While their inclusions likely would not have changed the way the game was played that dramatically, both players were huge misses for Bayern. Shorn of Robben they lacked pace on the counter. Shorn of Alaba they lacked midfield muscle and the Austrian’s deadly free kick ability. Neither of those players could have done a thing about Messi, but they might have done more for the Bavarians going forward.

Suarez struggles.

This is another point that no one will remember because of Messi, but Luis Suarez had a poor game up front for Barcelona. His finishing was poor and his decision making wasn’t as strong as we have come to expect from him. There were several instances where Barcelona could have created a chance on the counter and Suarez took too long on the ball or misplayed a pass. While his final miss was probably more due to Neymar’s poor pass than anything else, Barcelona will probably need more from their number nine in Berlin. But then again maybe they won’t. When Messi is in the form he showed today I’m not sure they need anyone else.

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