Guardiola: Bayern were in control… then Messi showed his class

The former Barcelona boss admits his side have been left with an almost impossible task after the Argentine inspired the hosts to a commanding victory

Lionel Messi’s class was the difference between Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the latter’s 3-0 defeat on Wednesday, according to Pep Guardiola.

The Argentine – who shot to worldwide prominence while Guardiola was in charge of Barcelona – put the Bavarians to the sword with a late double which turned the well-balanced Champions League semi-final on its head at Camp Nou.

Neymar added insult to injury with a stoppage-time strike, avenging the three-goal triumph secured by Bayern on their last trip to Catalunya in 2013 and leaving the German champions with an almost impossible task in the second leg.

“Bayern did well for a long time,” Guardiola, whose side restricted Barca to their lowest possession in a Champions League game since 2006, told reporters. “But then Messi showed his class. Barca aren’t just him, though – they’re a strong team, with other top individuals like Luis Suarez and Neymar.

“Barca are so good that they find spaces wherever they want to. It’s the talent of their team that left us on the losing end, playing at Camp Nou is so hard.

“However, I think we actually controlled the game until the first Barca goal. We lost our grip after that, though, but I won’t blame any of my players. The team have gone through a lot of difficult situations this season.”

Guardiola was unremittingly bleak when assessing the Bundesliga champions’ chances of reaching the final in Berlin on June 6, adding: “You can turn around a one or two-goal deficit, but three goals is tough.”

Bayern now host Augsburg on Saturday – when they are almost certain to field a second-string side, having already wrapped up the league title last month – before playing host to the Catalans next Tuesday.

The winner of this semi-final will face either Real Madrid or Juventus, with the Italians holding a 2-1 advantage after the first leg on Tuesday in Turin.

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