Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: Five things we learned last time out

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A touch, followed by another one and the Jerome Boateng internet circus was in motion. Except first, a moment was taken where everyone forgot about the jester on the floor and held their breath.

Maybe from the shock of a seeing a World Cup winner flat on his behind, more likely because it was another moment of Lionel Messi magic. (Alliteration there, probably overused at this stage).

Except there was something about this one. Against some of the best defenders in the world, past the best goalkeeper in the world. But the nonchalance of the whole brief episode of rewritten history was a moment that many will never forget.

As the two European heavyweights prepare to lock horns again in the return leg of their Champions League semi-final this week, here's a look back at five things we learned from the first encounter.

1. Lionel Messi is a footballing Genius

Probably an understatement. Although many Real Madrid fans dispute this. Throughout the whole match, he was a firestarter. Akin to the fire triangle, he had the heat and the oxygen, all he needed for fuel was the ball.

He was always the most likely to do something and that told in the 77th minute when he caught Manuel Neuer off-guard with a near post finish. To anyone who still doubted how good he was, a touch past Boateng proved them wrong.

2. Bayern still do not have a solid central defence

Boateng and Benatia? Boateng and Dante? Dante and Benat.....let me not finish the rhetorical question. The one flaw that has plagued the German Champions is their lack of steel. It was exposed against Porto and once again at Camp Nou.

There was no real plan from Guardiola to counter the attacking line. It was almost as if he set them up to be physical, hold a good line, and ho-hum, the result will come. Luckily for them, their deficiencies were shown today. A lot of work is needed for next week.

3. Luis Suarez can be stopped

All you need is a Ballon D'Or nominated goalkeeper and some quick pressing. Simples.

4. Ivan Rakitic really could replace Xavi

With the Catalonian stalwart set to depart Camp Nou at the end of the season, as well as the club currently under a transfer embargo, a replacement for the passmaster is needed.

Rakitic is consistently proving he could replace him. In fact, tonight, he represented an upgrade on him, a Xavi novus. His all-action performance, fitted very well with a balanced but varied Barca midfield. 

5. The Champions League Final will be played between the two best adapted teams in the competition

Barcelona's newly formed style of possession play will make this year's final a test of the mettle of each manager's tactics. If Bayern can come back then, Massimiliano Allegri or Carlo Ancelotti will have a big challenge on their hands. 

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Lionel Messi
UEFA Champions League
Bayern Munich

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