The frustration of Bayern Munich losing out to Real Madrid in the Champions League for a second straight season goes without saying; but it’s especially frustrating this time around given the fact that Bayern were the better side in the two legs. The key difference in the tie: Bayern made mistakes, Madrid didn’t, and Bayern missed far too many chances in both legs.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but at the end of the day you just cannot afford to make costly mistakes against a team like Real Madrid, because they will make you pay. Although the two didn’t play poorly in their own right, Rafinha’s sloppy back pass in leg 1 and Sven Ulreich’s blunder in leg 2 directly led to goals for Madrid, goals that ultimately proved to be difference-makers on aggregate. Unfortunately, those two costly mistakes, and Bayern’s failure to make the most of their chances, cost Bayern a spot in the final in Kiev.
Learning from the mistakes, literally
Speaking to Zdf after the match (leg 2) in Madrid (via ESPN), Thomas Muller stressed how much of an impact Bayern’s mistakes made over the two legs in the tie and said that they need to take a look at why they seem to keep making these mistakes in the Champions League:
We played better [in leg 2] than in Munich but we gave them a goal again, and you can’t afford to do that over the two games. It was a crazy game and we invested everything into it. But in the end we were a little unlucky. Their goalkeeper Navas had a great game. Luck and misfortune are closely intertwined. This hurts a great deal, but we shouldn’t be ashamed. A lot more was possible. We had a super chance to progress but we missed out again. We have so much quality in our squad, but we have to ask ourselves why we have missed out a lot, why we keep making these mistakes in the semifinals.
Muller just about hit the nail on the head with everything he said, as plenty of positives can be taken from how well Bayern played in each leg, minus the mistakes. Even Jupp Heynckes admitted that he was thoroughly impressed with how his side played over the course of the two legs:
Of course, we are all very disappointed because the team played exceptionally tonight. I’ve just told the lads that I’ve never seen a Bayern team play as well as they did tonight in the Bernabeu, but at the highest level you cannot afford to make the mistakes that we did in the first leg and again tonight immediately after the break. These mistakes will be ruthlessly punished and then it’s no wonder that you end up leaving the pitch as losers.
Keylor Navas, Heynckes stressed, was Madrid’s man of the match in the second leg, making a handful of exceptional saves to deny Bayern, especially towards the end of the second half:
Normally when you score twice at the Bernabeu against such a good side it means something, but we had numerous other chances to score. Navas put in an exceptional performance especially towards the end of the game. He was the best Madrid player.
Ending on a positve, Heynckes also emphasized the fact that his players should come out of this with their heads held high, despite the mistakes made:
We didn’t deserve to go out, because over the two legs we were the better team, but as I just said, you cannot afford to make the mistakes that we made at home in Munich and again today. These were two mistakes and it happens, it’s a shame. Today’s game was a great advert for football in general, because Madrid is a top team too.