By Greg Robertson
Hello and welcome to Camp Nou where we have Spain’s Barcelona hosting Germany’s Bayern Munich in second leg UEFA Champions League 2013 semi-final action. It’s Champs League football, at its finest.
It’s the cauldron, Camp Nou… but is their enough heat in the pot tu fire the home side into scoring at least four goals and keeping a clean sheet at the same time? It’s a tough task to push forward and not concede against one of the best, if not the best, counter attacking football teams in the world.
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LIVE COMMENTARY... Barcelona 0 – 3 Bayern Munich (agg 0-7)
THE FINAL WHISTLE puts Barcelona out of their misery, like putting down a dog that's been hit by a car. But this was no car... this was Bayern Munich. Arguably, the best team on the planet. They march to Wembley. ALL VIDEO UP. For Barcelona... NO MESSI=NO ANSWERS. IN FACT, THEY HARDLY EVEN ASKED A QUESTION OF BAYERN MUNICH IN 180 MINUTES OF FOOTBALL,
90 MINS: We're into added time... no mention of how long... for Barca any added tim is too much time... they want to get off the park. ONE MINUTE.
86 MINS: Still no Messi and that was obvious he wouldn't be used if there was no chance. He sits on the bench - a Barcelona bench like you've never seen before. Totally depressed. They cannot believe how much they have been hammered by Bayern. "Humiliated," is what commentators are saying. Those are words we'd all though would never be married with this current Barcelona side.
83 MINS: A clash of heads has caused the game to stop for a bit.
78 MINS: GOAL BAYERN. It's 3-0! This time it's Thomas Muller netter and easy one. That's 7-0 in aggregate. No height to defend with at the back for Barcelona in the air and Muller just nods it home. Ribery again with the cross and Muller is just too big for this pitifully tiny Barcelona aerial defence.
74 MINS: Barcelona has had more of the ball, hold on.... GOAL! It's an own goal from Pique! The humiliation - as the commentators say - is complete. Ribery down the left throws in a cross and it's off Pique into his own net and he could not have finished that any better if he wanted to. VIDEO
68 MINS: The goal has slowed things to a walking pace. This is over. Barcelona has conceded that they cannot come back. Barcelona's four-year unbeaten Champions League home record is under threat.
66 MINS: Brazilian Luiz Gustavo on for Schweinsteiger.
64 MINS: Sanchez picks a pocket at the back of Bayern's defence and wins a corner. Even then, when danger arises, Bayern have the fortitude to regather their thoughts and resources and smother that danger. Spain's one thing and the La Liga, the Champions League against bigger and stronger opposition is another for Barcelona.
63 MINS: It would be far too soon to say that this is an end of an era for Barcelona... but it does signal that they need to take an evolutionary step.
60 MINS: Six goals in 30 minutes fro Barcelona? Not a chance on earth.Not playing without Messi and not playing like this. The Messi injury has highlight this side's reliance on the superstar.
55 MINS: Here comes Bayern now in waves. Robben with another chance but neither shoots nor passes. Not sure what that was. Sanchez coming on for Xavi. Still no Messi.
49 MINS: Schweinsteiger wins a dubious free kick and Bayern will be able to swing in a dangerous ball... far post and Valdes calls and claims. GOAL Bayern! Robben scores... and Barcelona now needs to score 6! That's the ballgame folks... it's as good as done. A magical long ball and Arjen robben chests, then cuts onto his left and bends one inside the far post. Valdes had no chance. Terrible defence. VIDEO
46 MINS: No Messi for the start of the second spell.
HALFTIME and it's 0-0... the equation for a Barcelona recovery has not been changed.
44 MINS: No signs of the miracle appearing yet... Bayern with the greater threats whenever they've ventured forward. The second half for Barca needs to see a 'Plan B' implemented. Yellow card for Alves for a challenge on Schweinsteiger.
41 MINS: A storming run forward by Adriano as he anticipates a pass and gets to it first, one touch then another then he scoops the shot and it dribbles to Neuer. Barca are getting more of the ball into a threatening area but the quality at the top third of the pitch is absent to date.
38 MINS: No movement on the Barcelona bench and if this stays at 4-0 on aggregate then I feel we are unlikely to see him (Messi) at all. If Barca do grab one or two then, maybe.
36 MINS: At the other end Song gets in the way of Robben's shot as he took on three defenders, a check to his left, another check to the left and it's smacked into the back of Song. Then Muller slides in on Pedro as Barca push out... he gets a little bit of the ball but the foul is given.
34 MINS: You do get the feeling that a goal for Barcelona will change the outlook of Barcelona - give them some hope. Iniesta now weaving through traffic has Pedro outside to his left but shoots... and there's about 412 German feet and legs stretching to block things. Man can Bayern scramble at the back.
31 MINS: Xavi drifts into the penalty area and turns it into a stretching Fabregas from the right, the touch is poor and any chance is loss. Quick feet and a good first touch would have seen a one-on-one with Neuer. Robben with a yellow card for a challenge on Song.
27 MINS: Ohhh Gabregas gets a push in his back goes down, no penalty, as the ball falls for Xavi who hooks the volley over the bar from 10 yards outs. VIDEO. Barcelona starting to get into the game.
23 MINS: Pedro changes the gear up and shoots from distance! Neuer with a vital touch over the bar. That caught the Germans by surprise. VIDEO
23 MINS: Nothing happening for Barcelona up front. They look disjointed... bereft of ideas when the ball is at feet. Think back to the first leg, map that onto this leg and that's what the attack has been like - so far.
22 MINS: Barcelona desperate and trying to deliver the miracle balls in the air. They will not beat this Bayern defence that way I tell you that for nothing as Alves fires a speculator from wide that causes no problems at all.
19 MINS: Bayern round the back of Barca and it's Pique with a last ditch challenge on Lahm that absolutely saves the day. Lahm was about to pull the trigger. VIDEO
18 MINS: No shots on goal as yet. So Barcelona needs four goals... shut your ears Barca fans as this Bayern defence is so organised they've only conceded three goals in their last 15 matches in the Bundesliga!
15 MINS: There's a bit of a static line of front four for Barcelona. So far Barcelona... hold on, her's Alves in space but slows down to wait for support and any chance is gone.
12 MINS: Through ball and Robben's away, ten yards clear... Pique dashes back and that's a fine challenge as Robben tries to get it onto his right foot. VIDEO. This is end to end.
11 MINS: Bayern taking this game to Barcelona and are not sitting back and protecting the lead.
10 MINS: Robben with a hand ball provides Barcelona with a set piece, 30 yards out, bent in and Xavi's free kick is headed dead by Bartra who gets a flick.
8 MINS: Villa makes inroads but is smother by Boateng, the counter attack is on but Song closes the door just in time. Free kick to Bayern, swung deep and Muller wins the header. This is going to be a common theme as Barcelona just cannot compete in the air.
5 MINS: Barcelona with a back pass and Valdes picks it up!!! The ref waves play on though. Poor decision... that was a back pass. Alves at the other end floats a cross that's plucked with ease by the Bayern keeper.
3 MINS: We are being told that Messi did not take part in any of the pregame warm ups at all. That's a worry. Ribery and Alves get tangled up. Free kick to the home side to clear.
2 MINS: Early urgency from the home side, stringing passes together but not with the same casual style we are accustomed to. They feel this weight on their shoulders that is for sure.
1 MINS: Bayern with the ball in the opening minute and Muller is caught offside right at the start.
For Bayern, the only change from the 4-0 drubbing in Leg 1 is Dante not there - in yellow card trouble - and Van Buyten takes his spot.
The Champs League anthem rings around the stadium... teams applaud and get set for the start. Another surprise is a start for Song. That suggests that Xavi and Iniesta will play a lot higher on the park.
And just a reminder, should Bayern score just one goal it will mean that Barcelona will need to score six goals. Phew! Watch the counter attack.
Well, now is the time for Fabregas to come good for Barcelona... there's no bigger stage> So much pressure now on Xavi and Iniesta. Will this be the comeback off comebacks? Imagine... 3-0, Messi comes on, nets another and we go to extra time. Hmmm lovely in theory but this Bayern Munich side so classy, and you feel the massive height advantage they have player-on-player will be the difference. You get the feeling they'll score from nearly every corner.
Without Messi that four-goal deficit might just feel like six goals.
BREAKING NEWS: Lionel Messi in on the bench! Starting teams are below and there's no room for Messi... is that hamstring still bad? Is that the end of Barcelona in the Champions League this year? Is there any hope at all for the Spanish giants?
Kick off is not far away and video will be posted at the end of the match so in the meantime watch Leg 1 highlights.
Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Bartra, Adriano; Song, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedrito, Fabregas, Villa.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Van Buyten, Alaba, Robben, Javi Martinez, Muller, Schweinsteiger, Ribery, Mandzukic.
Barcelona will need four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi to be at his unbelievable best if he is to help them to what would be one of the most remarkable fight backs of all time and take the club to the final of the UEFA Champions League at Wembley.
Barca play Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final in the Camp Nou Stadium, knowing they have to overcome a 4-0 defeat from the first leg last week.
That leaves the Catalans with a mountain to climb and the fact that they failed to score an away goal in Germany means that should Bayern score in Barcelona, Tito Vilanova's men would need to score a sixth.
It is a massive ask and all the more so because of the manner of the defeat in the first leg.
Not only did Bayern score four goals, but they totally outplayed a sluggish Barca in all areas of the park, snuffing them out in midfield, crowding them out in defence and then finishing them off with pace and power in attack.
Messi played in Munich, but the Argentine looked to be a shadow of himself, due to a hamstring injury.
He was rested for an hour at the weekend in Bilbao, but then came on to make a devastating cameo appearance, scoring a magnificent equalising goal before setting up Alexis Sanchez to score his side's second.
The belief that "Messi is back", has brought a new optimism to a club, where there was little genuine belief that they could turn the tie around with a storming performance in the second leg.
Javier Mascherano could force his return after a knee injury, as could Eric Abidal, who played the first 45 minutes in Bilbao.
Meanwhile, Sergio Busquets has been way off his best form of late and is suffering from a pelvic injury that may see him replaced by Alex Song in central midfield, while in attack Alexis Sanchez and David Villa could partner Messi.
Bayern have lost two Champions League finals in the past three years and this time they want to go all the way to lift the title.
Messi is probably the best player in the world, but if he is able to inspire his side to an epic fightback, it will need one of his greatest ever performances.