Barcelona reached their first Champions League final since 2011, with a 5-3 victory over Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, despite Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich salvaging pride in the return leg in Germany.
An early strike from Mehdi Benatia sparked confidence within the home support, before Neymar once again reminded them of Barca’s lethalness in front of goal. The Brazilian international scored twice in the opening 45 minutes to add to his first leg goal, firing the Catalan outfit into a 2-1 lead.
Nonetheless, the tables soon turned, as second half strikes from Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead on the night. However, Barca had done their hard work at the Nou Camp, and will return to Germany next month to compete in the final in Berlin.
Here are the top five statistics from Tuesday night’s fiery encounter at the Allianz Arena:
5 – Barcelona will now appear in their fifth Champions League final following victory over Bayern.
Following their 5-3 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich, Barcelona will appear in their fifth Champions League, and their 18th European, final. The latter of which represents an all-time record across the continent. Incredibly, though, this is the first time the Catalan outfit have reached the Champions League final without Pep Guardiola as the manager, since 2005/06.
5 – The number of saves made by Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
In the battle of the German shot-stoppers, Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen came out on top. Despite conceding on three occasions, the 23-year-old made five saves in total, several of which were truly spectacular. This is comparable to the two recorded by compatriot Manuel Neuer.
He may have picked the ball out of the back of his net on more occasions, but it is the junior German ‘keeper who will be heading to Berlin, come the end of May. Had it not been for his heroics between the sticks, it could have been a very different story.
Sweeper keeper battle: Manuel Neuer (L) vs. (R) Marc-Andre ter Stegen. pic.twitter.com/bdn75AMA65
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 12, 2015
367 – Bayern Munich’s 7th-minute goal ended a worrying goal-less streak for the Bundesliga outfit.
Mehdi Benatia’s seventh minute strike versus Barcelona ended the Bavarian’s run of 367 minutes without a goal, while concluding a 645-minute spell in which the visitors had remained resilient defensively. The Catalan outfit have now conceded 10 goals in Europe this term, just under a third of which came in this two-legged encounter.
On the flip side, the two club’s goal scoring efforts have seen them extended their lead as the competition’s top scoring sides. Bayern lead the way, having netted on 33 occasions – 16 of which have come in their last three Champions League home fixtures – while Barcelona have managed to score 28 times.
100% – Neymar hit the back of the net with both his attempts at goal versus Bayern
The Brazilian starlet has certainly warmed to life at the Nou Camp, and in just his second season with the La Liga outfit, he has formed a formidable partnership with Lionel Messi and summer signing Luis Suarez. The deadly trio have now scored 114 goals and managed 53 assists between them to cement themselves as the world’s deadliest strike force.
MSN – as they are being dubbed by fans – were in scintillating form as they travelled to Germany. It was Neymar who grabbed the goals for the Catalan club on this occasion, with his double meaning he has now scored in seven consecutive games, an achievement only matched at Barcelona by team-mate Messi.
He had just two opportunities at the Allianz, both of which were laid on by Luis Suarez, but he despatched each with aplomb.
150 – The number of Champions League appearances made by Barcelona veteran Xavi Hernandez.
Xavi became the first player to reach this impressive milestone, arriving as a 74th minute substitute at the Allianz. By doing so he overtakes Spanish international team-mate Iker Casillas, who is likely to equal this feat when he takes to the field for Real Madrid against Juventus on Wednesday evening.
Just as he has done throughout his career, Xavi cut a composed figure as he entered a combative European battleground. The five touches he managed in his 15 minute cameo saw him maintain a perfect record in possession – 100% pass accuracy, dispossessed zero times.
The Barcelona legend is set to end a 24-year association with the club at the end of this season – how fitting his last game could come in Berlin on June 6th.
Statistics via WhoScored.
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