Hello Bayern II
With Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski were left out of the squad and Jerome Boateng, Thomas Müller, Benjamin Pavard, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman on the bench, Hansi Flick had a lot of room to use his reserves. This match, with Bayern having their spot in the Round of 16 already confirmed, was all about getting rotational players needed playing time against top tier competition and resting their workhorse stars and regulars.
Amongst the number of rotational players in such as Bouna Sarr, Douglas Costa, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, new debuts were made by Bright-Arrey Mbi and Alexander Nübel.
We did show David Alaba as the captain, which might bode well for how highly Hansi Flick views him, amidst questions surrounding his future.
Atletico plays hard
It took them 25 minutes, but Atlético was the only side with any substantial threat to the net with Joao Felix smashing the ball to the back of the net in the six-yard box. Niklas Süle was slow to getting in position behind Felix to prevent the goal.
Otherwise, Atlético was able to exploit space from a questionable Bayern Munich defense. It took Bayern until the 31st minute to have their first chance via a glorious run by Jamal Musiala.
Tale of Two Halves (Again)
In what seems to be a more routine aspect of these matches, Bayern started extremely slow and somewhat sloppy. While they were solid for large chunks of time, they also gave up a relatively easy goal and were consistently forced to track back with speed to stop Atletico’s counterattacks.
That being said, a good chunk of that could be down to numerous youth players making their European debuts, and a contingent of players who are not used to playing competitively with each other. Once Müller and Serge Gnabry came on; however, Bayern started to feel more like, well Bayern, creating more chances, being more dangerous and actually forcing Jan Oblak to work a bit. Müller is quite literally the heartbeat of Bayern and if it was not for my own bias towards Neuer being the captain, Müller would be the next best choice.
Late luck saves Bayern
Müller, what can I say? He had to save the draw for Bayern all by himself didn't he? Taking the penalty in place of the resting Lewandowski, Muller slotted it past Oblak’s outstretched arm to make it a late 1-1 tie for Bayern. And to think Joachim Low thinks Germany’s National Football Team is somehow better without him.