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Berlin A Bit Closer: Messi Leads Barcelona to 3-0 Win Over Bayern Munich

What a night! What a game for Lionel Messi! What a team! In this column, Xoel Càrdenas gives you his take on FC Barcelona's 3-0 win over FC Bayern Munich in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals.

Messi over Neuer
Messi over Neuer
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

FC Barcelona is one step closer it reaching the UEFA Champions League Final, as El Blaugrana defeated Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of the semifinal at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

Luis Suarez had the first clear chance in the 11th minute, as he had the one-on-one with Manuel Neuer. But Suarez's shot hit Manuel's right leg and blocked away. Robert Lewandowski missed an open goal in the 18th minute with poor defending by Barcelona. Neuer made another great save on a Dani Alves shot in the 39th minute. It was without question the most intense 45 minutes for Barcelona all season.

In the second half, Neuer made a great stop on Neymar's chance in the 61st minute.

It looked like the game would head towards a 0-0 draw. Then, Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 77th minute, as a long shot from the Argentine went low toward the near post, and there was nothing Neuer could do. Golazo de Messi!

Messi decided to sink Bayern in the first leg just three minutes later, as his magic changed everything once again. Truly no words.

In the last minute of stoppage time, Neymar got the goal with may be the reason Barcelona reach the Champions League final. Bayern went looking for the 2-1 and the away goal, but instead, Pep's team was slapped with the 3-0.

FT: FC Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich

Xoel's Take

Pep's return

Before we start, can I stay that I will always support Pep Guardiola, just not against Barcelona. Pep is the rival for one more week, and I will consider him the rival; a respected rival.

After the second leg, I will continue my support of Pep. But for the next week, he and his team stand in the way of Barça reaching Berlin, and he and his team need to be eliminated.

This is business, not personal.

Manuel Neuer: Arrogant wall comes crumbling down

For the first 45 minutes, Manuel Neuer was on his way to becoming the man of the match. Until the 77th minute, there was no doubt he was the reason Bayern looked to be on their way to a 0-0 draw.

Then, Leo Messi decided to end this match.

Getting back to Neuer, the German said prior to the match, "I'll show Messi who's boss."

Karma does happen in football, and for Neuer, karma hit him the last 13+ minutes of the match, as Messi beat him twice and Neymar might have ended the tie with his stoppage-time goal.

Manuel, you are the best goalkeeper in the world. But you disrespecting D10S is football blasphemy, and in the last 13+ minutes, you had to pay for your sin.

Neymar: brilliant idiot

Neymar is the definition of a brilliant idiot, and I say this lovingly. He can look so great, but so immature and sloppy at times. Ney didn't have the best match against Bayern...until his last play of the night when he beat Neuer for the goal.

While Neymar didn't have his best night out, he made the goal which arguably could be the reason Barcelona goes to Berlin. 2-0 is still tough for Bayern, but 3-0 against a Barcelona team that will score a goal in Munich is nearly impossible for Bayern to overcome. I'm not going to say the tie is completely over, but Neymar's goal essentially put Barcelona with a foot and a half in Berlin.

Neymar, you may be goofy, hotheaded, and plain immature at times, but you're our brilliant idiot.

Dani Alves: game of the season

Celebrating his 32nd birthday, Dani Alves had without question the best match of the season against Bayern on Wednesday—maybe even his best match since 2012.

Alves was brilliant, as his instincts, speed, hustle and passes were spot-on. Dani set up Leo who then grabbed the first goal late in the match. Dani ran up, stole the ball from Bernat, got past Xabi Alonso, and passed it to Messi who did the rest.

Does Dani's performance merit a contract extension? That's tough to say. But certainly this performance will give those talks more momentum.

Felicitats, Dani, on your birthday and for your performance!

RIP Jerome Boateng

Messi's goals were amazing, but as always, someone has to look a fool when Leo makes these goals.

And on Wednesday night, the victim was Jerome Boateng.

Boateng's fall was the blooper of the night, as Leo broke Jerome's ankles and scooped the ball past Neuer for the second goal.

Anims JB.

"But Bayern was injured..."

May I just quickly say to those Barcelona haters that will say, "But Bayern was full of injuries," please keep it down.

Two years ago, Barcelona was injured and limped into the semis against Bayern who, yes, destroyed Barça 4-0 in the first leg and 3-0 in the second leg. Messi wasn't 100% for the first leg and missed the second leg due to injury.

Yet, Barça haters always say, "7-0!" but fail to mention what was going on with Barcelona with injuries and especially the fact that the manager, the late Tito Vilanova, was fighting to stay alive in a hospital which had a deep mental effect on the squad.

But Barça haters tend not to mention all of this. Now with Bayern suffering a humiliating loss, Barça haters see that this Barcelona win is not as great because of the Bayern injuries.

So it works to defend Bayern today but not Barça in 2013? Some world we live in.

Yes, Bayern are suffering injuries to some players, but just like Barça were humiliated two years ago with good players on the pitch, Bayern were defeated 3-0 with them having very good players on the pitch—and the best goalkeeper in the world in Neuer.

Injuries are either an excuse or not. Get your story and logic straight, Barça haters.

Messi: Football God level

Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Babe Ruth.

Lionel Messi.

Without question, there are players that transcend the sport he or she plays. In football/soccer, Lionel Messi is more than a player and more than just the best player of all time.

Messi is football.

I know we shouldn't say that there is one player that's bigger than the sport, but like Jordan, Tiger, and the Bambino in their respective sport, Messi is as big—if not bigger—than the sport.

Is Messi bigger than FC Barcelona? I won't say that because Messi is a part of Barça—in his heart and in his soul. How can he be bigger than something he carries with him?

The game was looking like a 0-0 draw, but Leo was not going to be satisfied with that. This was a great game until Messi got started; then it became a blowout.

All Messi needs is one look at goal and he will take you out. The man is a football sniper. And as we all know, it's not just his goal scoring. It's all of his game: touches, assists, crosses, shots, free kicks, etc., etc., etc.

You can debate which is the greatest team of all time, but Lionel Messi's performance against Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich reminds us once again that the debate about who is the greatest player of all time was settled years ago.


Xoel's Final Word

It was one of the most intense matches in recent UEFA Champions League history, but thanks to Lionel Messi's magic, Barcelona may have settled the tie in the first leg, as Barça defeated Bayern Munich by 3-0 on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou.

Enjoy the victory for the night. Tomorrow, Barça goes back to work.

What a match!

What a win!

What a night!

Som-hi Barça!


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