Bayern Munich backline, take a bow!
Football is a funny sport. 2020/2021 was a season which saw defense emerge as Bayern Munich’s feeblest and most inconsistent component. Coach Hansi Flick’s men have been robust upfront, with an equally well-placed supporting cast in midfield. Yet, aside from luck, it was the company of Lucas Hernandez that kept a respectable scoreline. The midfield was left searching for control, the record-smashing offense turned up a one-dimensional display and Paris had no problem dealing with either of those.
Lucas Hernandez’s game by numbers vs. PSG:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 13, 2021
100% aerial duels won
87% pass accuracy
4 tackles won
An outstanding individual performance. pic.twitter.com/Bydyr5eRNT
But when it came to defense, Hernandez put in a valorous efforts, 32-year-old and physically regressed Jerome Boateng was razor sharp in his duels and Manuel Neuer presented a wall in front of the goal. Bayern were, by no means, a better side than Paris but the defenders didn’t deserve to go out for their brilliant showing.
Yes, football is still 50% luck
This game was another example of just how much knockout competitions are impacted by “randomness”, not just on the pitch but also the off field activities leading up to the match. The 0-1 scorline doesn’t depict the true picture, at all. Neymar and co. had terrific chances to kill the game but missed the final touch. On the other side, Bayern had only two shots (zero on target) up until the 40th minute mark and scored a goal in the unlikeliest of times.
xG map for PSG - Bayern— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) April 13, 2021
somehow PSG didn't score, but "somehow Bayern didn't score more" from the first leg worked out for them pic.twitter.com/d4G6h2R991
Neutrals might roll their eyes, but this time, it was (*sighs*) the international break that did the most damage to Hansi Flick’s squad. Bayern’s Germany internationals Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane and Leon Goretzka played and played and played for a Euros tournament that’s not going to last for more than three games for them. Robert Lewandowski, Die Roten’s MVP, was forced to miss out on the entire quarter-final clash because of a knee injury. Kingsley Coman and David Alaba too, were as much involved with their national teams. When the time came for the most important game of the season, not only they didn’t have the legs to run, the gruesome schedule visibly took a toll on their once-immense mental resilience. In the end, everything needs to click together at the right moment when it comes to UCL knockouts unlike last season, Bayern’s attack and midfield suffered at the hands of the club’s tough luck. Heads up, boys!