Philipp Lahm and Bayern Confident for No Repeat of 2009 Messi Nightmare

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Philipp Lahm and Bayern Confident for No Repeat of 2009 Messi Nightmare
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Lionel Messi was the thorn in Bayern Munich's side in 2009.

Franck Ribery is a tough little customer, but even he was reduced to tears by the events of April 8, 2009.

The France international was part of the Bayern Munich team which was torn to shreds by Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg.

Inspired by the genius of Lionel Messi, the La Liga side had the tie wrapped up before the end of the first period in the first leg courtesy of two goals from the Argentinian and one each from Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry.

This year, however, things are very different. The Bavarian club are riding the crest of phenomenal success and now have the forthcoming £31.5 million arrival of Mario Gotze to bolster their momentum heading into tonight's tie.

Much will depend on the experience of Philipp Lahm in defence for Jupp Heynckes' team.

Lahm was injured for the four-goal defeat in 2009, and his replacement, Christian Lell, was simply dazzled in the headlights of the oncoming Messi.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Christian Lell was no match for Messi in 2009.

Bayern were woeful at the back in Camp Nou on that night, with the Argentina international seemingly able to breach the back line at will.

Messi, then only 21, was already a star name, but his performance against the German team was breathtaking.

Lell was posted missing as Messi collected Eto'o's pass to open the scoring before turning provider for the Cameroon international to add a second through the legs of Bayern goalkeeper Hans Jorg Butt.

Lell was fortunate not to concede a penalty to the mesmeric Messi when English referee Howard Webb waved away appeals and booked the forward for simulation.

But Lell and his teammates were not to survive the onslaught for much longer, and former Arsenal striker Henry raced clear of Massimo Oddo to provide the telling cross for Messi's second of the night.

Even a cynical challenge from Mark van Bommel on Messi would not deny the South American, and when Webb allowed the advantage to be played, Eto'o played the loose ball to Henry, who sidefooted home.

And this was all in the first half. It was a pure demolition.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Philipp Lahm and his Bayern teammates were left devastated after the defeat to Chelsea last year.

Now Lahm will prove to be a crucial figure if Bayern are to reach their third Champions League final in four years.

The Germany international has already made the right noises ahead of the tie, citing a plethora of Barcelona stars as a danger rather than just the obvious magician (Sky Sports), but the 29-year-old is aware that his own team are a far different proposition to the one beaten so heavily four years ago.

The Bundesliga title was collected with six matches to spare on the back of a winning sequence which now stands at 13 games, while the German Cup final was reached with a 6-1 win over Wolfsburg.

Bleacher Report's Jerrad Peters outlined several options for Bayern to follow to succeed against Barcelona in the semifinal.

Of course, Messi's presence in the Barcelona starting lineup is not guaranteed tonight with the Argentinian still nursing a hamstring problem (The Guardian), but his appearance as a substitute against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarterfinal was a turning point against the French team.

Dante will also be an integral figure in the battle to thwart Messi with his athleticism and ability to read the game.

But Lahm has a versatility to his game which will make him a crucial factor in Bayern's bid to deny Barcelona. He is a right-footed player but can play on either side of the field and his pace and astute tackling make him an ideal foil to Messi and Co.

And, after missing out on a Champions League winner's medal in two previous finals, it will be Lahm who will be looking to deny Barcelona and Messi with most relish.

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