Bayern Munich’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Villarreal led to the Rekordmeister being bounced unceremoniously from the Champions League in a quarterfinal round that will leave fans wincing for weeks (months?) to come.
For the Spanish side, a strong, disciplined effort in the first leg set the stage for Villarreal to put all of the pressure on Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the second match. While many expected the Bavarians to pull through, it turns out that Unai Emery’s squad fed off of everyone doubting them. In fact, Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann stoked the fire even more during his press conference earlier in the week (ESPN):
Nagelsmann said in last week’s pre-match news conference that he expected his team to get the job done in Villarreal ahead of the return leg at the Allianz Arena.
That did not sit well with Villarreal at all.
“I think their coach, who I don’t know personally, showed a lack of respect towards Villarreal and towards football by saying that he wanted to kill the tie in the opening leg,” Villarreal’s Dani Parejo. “For us, that was a lack of respect and I think in the end, when you spit up at times it comes down and hits you.”
Gerard Moreno echoed his teammates sentiments.
“We played very well at home but they said we made a mistake by not finishing it off,” Moreno said. “Those comments served as motivation. Since we found out that we were facing Bayern, we said to ourselves that it was possible, that we could do it. We knew it would be a very difficult challenge as they are amongst the best teams in the world, but faith moves mountains.”
Finally, Villarreal manager Unai Emery is using the old “nobody believes in us” tactic to keep his squad fired up. Can the manager go to the well one more time in the next round?
“We are going to enjoy the semifinals,” Emery said. “We are not here to be told how nice we are, that we come from a small town. We are here because we have a solid project. We have to continue to work and remain humble.”
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