A valliant second half effort came up short for Bayern Munich as they fall to Barcelona 5-3 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League semifinals despite winning 3-2 in the Allianz Arena.
A first-half Neymar brace is what ultimately sealed the tie for the Blaugrana, who advance to their eighth UEFA Champions League final. They now await the winner of the other Semifinal between Juventus and Real Madrid, one that Juventus currently leads 2-1.
Bayern's chances looked great at the beginning of the match, Mehdi Benatia getting an early goal after Barcelona left him a free header on a corner kick. Barcelona struck back quickly though, Lionel Messi making a finite incision into Bayern's defense when he found Luis Suárez's run. He was able to leave a pass to Neymar as Barcelona got the away goal they needed.
Needing four goals, Bayern kept the motor running in top gear, doing a much better job creating chances than they did in the first leg. They could not punch one into the back of the net in the first half, and Barcelona was able to counter again. Messi popped a header forward to Luis Suárez who ran into acres of space, and he slid another ball over to Neymar as the Brazilian completed his brace.
The second half was Bayern's encore, Barcelona switching off with a 5-1 aggregate lead and two away goals. Robert Lewandowski carved out space before finishing past Marc-André ter Stegen in the 59th minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger set up Thomas Müller in a similar spot a quarter of an hour later, allowing the forward to fire off a similar goal to put Bayern ahead in the match.
Guardiola took both Müller and Schweinsteiger off late in the match, both returning to the bench with frustrated looks on their faces. Barcelona was able to kill of the match as Luis Enrique brought on defensive replacements and Bayern's comeback ran out of steam.
The Rekordmeister will now have to settle with one trophy in 2014/15, having to watch the DFB-Pokal and Champions League Finals from home for the first time since the 2010/11 season. They finish their Champions League campaign unbeaten at home, outscoring opponents 22-3 in Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich (3-2) Barcelona | Allianz Arena
BAY: Medhi Benatia (7'), Robert Lewandowski (59'), Thomas Müller (74')
BAR: Neymar (15', 29')
Bayern XI: Neuer – Rafinha, Benatia, Boateng, Bernat – Lahm (Rode 68'), Alonso, Schweinsteiger (Martínez 87'), Thiago – Müller (Götze 87'), Lewandowski
Barcelona XI: ter Stegen – Dani Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba – Rakitić, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, Suárez (Pedro 46'), Neymar
- Bayern went for it, that is for sure, but their surges forward ultimately undid them in the end. Guardiola played a high line to try to keep the ball in Barcelona's half of the field, but Suárez and Neymar ripped them apart on the counterattack like a shredder. Bayern at least gave themselves a chance, getting scoring chance after scoring chance, but unfortunately they could not put enough of them in the back of the net.
- Barcelona's runs were on point, and Bayern did not do enough accounting for all the players coming through. Ivan Rakitić even got in on the action early in the match, taking the advantage of the attention Suárez was getting to slip in behind. The main victim was Xabi Alonso, who was often a step behind mentally when Barcelona would come forward. It really speaks to the intelligence of not just the Barcelona forwards but the midfield as well, knowing the right time to come forward and take advantage of the pace in front of them.
- No matter who a person roots for, one has to applaud Bayern for their effort in the second half. Trying to salvage an unsalvageable tie is a hard task to be up for, but the players lived up to their responsibilities to the fans. Yes, Barcelona clearly switched off, but the turns Lewandowski and Müller made and the break they were able to put on were nonetheless encouraging. For a team that had lost four straight matches, this was a result they needed.
- This is not the first place where Mario Götze's team selection is a topic, and it surely will not be the last. The midfielder's form dropped in the second half of the season, but his performance last week warranted more than six minutes of action. The fact he cannot get a game when Ribéry, Robben, and Alaba are out is not a good indicator, and it will be a topic that will surely come up in the next few weeks.