At the second time of asking after some technical difficulties from what UEFA called a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider,” Bayern Munich has been drawn to face RB Salzburg in the Champions League round of 16. In the initial draw, Bayern had drawn Atletico Madrid, but those initial results were voided due to the external service provider error that didn’t correctly divvy up the teams that were not eligible to face one another.
Bayern last faced Salzburg in the group stages of the 2020/21 season, beating them in both encounters; 6-2 away and 3-1 at home. For Salzburg, this is their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of the Champions League, having made it out of what was a truly unpredictable group alongside VfL Wolfsburg, Lille, and Sevilla.
After the draw, Julian Nagelsmann and the rest of Bayern’s front office shared their thoughts on drawing the reigning Austrian Bundesliga champions in the round of 16. Having been someone who’s very familiar with the RedBull/RasenBall Sport footballing style from his time at RB Leipzig, Nagelsmann referred to Salzburg as a “positively disgusting opponent” that can cause Bayern lots of problems.
“Salzburg is a positively nasty opponent who plays classic RB football with a lot of high pressing situations. It’s an extremely young team that is greedy. It’s uncomfortable to play against them. You are playing a good round internationally. In Matthias Jaissle you have a very good trainer. He always hires the team well. They are top opponents who will demand everything from us. You play with a lot of young talent. We have to be very focused from the start in both games because they will put us under so much pressure that we need good solutions,” Nagelsmann said (FCBayern).
Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic echoed Nagelsmann’s sentiment that Salzburg are a well-managed, well-structured side. He also added that he feels the score lines of last season encounters didn't necessarily reflect the overall balance of the two matches. “Salzburg has a very interesting concept with a very good coach. They have performed well in recent years and are the first team from Austria to qualify for the knockout round. That shows how well and consistently they work. In the Champions League you always have to deliver top performances. Last year we had difficult group games against Salzburg and the results were higher than the course of the game showed. We have to perform well,” he explained.
RB Salzburg is a young team and Oliver Kahn feels that the youthfulness of the squad will help them stay extra motivated, despite Bayern being the clear favorites to progress to the quarter-finals. “It wasn’t an everyday draw today, and we are now looking forward to our duels with FC Salzburg. Salzburg showed what they can do in the preliminary round and qualified for the first time for the first time in the Champions League. There is great euphoria there, it’s a young, highly talented team. Of course we are favorites in these two games. We look forward to these duels,” he said.