Initial reactions and observations
- What did we say? Villarreal are a good team? Turns out they’re better than Bayern Munich, at least for tonight. Julian Nagelsmann’s men were second best. It was barely a contest.
- The defense got seriously lucky that it wasn’t more than 1-0. Horrendous defending overall, but Villarreal will be kicking themselves for not going to the Allianz with a bigger lead.
- Pretty much everyone in the offense bar Coman had a horrible game. Lewandowski was pocketed by the Villarreal setup and barely had a chance to shoot on goal. This was a systemic failure, not just on the players.
- Was starting Alphonso Davies a mistake? In hindsight maybe, but he also had zero support from the wingers on his flank and the tactics seemed to not accommodate him.
- Bayern have it all to do at the Allianz now. Foresee a valiant effort only to lose by the thinnest of margins. Same story over and over again.
Full time: Villarreal beat Bayern 1-0.
90’ — Only a few mins left. Bayern are almost out of this.
61’ — Subs: Gnabry and Muller come off for Sane and Goretzka.
52’ — It’s not getting better. Villarreal get a hit on the post.
45’ — The second half kicks off. Let’s hope we’ll be better.
Halftime: Bayern Munich are lucky to escape the first half only 1-0 down.
42’ — The goal is ruled offside. This is horrendous by Bayern.
40’ — Goal. Horrible. How did that even happen? Coquelin scores to make it 2-0???
35’ — Almost zero clear cut chances for Bayern so far. Poor game by them, Villarreal look better.
7’ — Goal. Disaster for Bayern, Danjuma makes it 1-0.
Kickoff: We’re underway in Spain!
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Julian Nagelsmann has never heard of the word “caution”, so he’s lining up Bayern Munich in a standard 4-2-3-1 with Alphonso Davies returning to the side for the first time since being diagnosed with myocarditis. Jamal Musiala starts ahead of Leon Goretzka in midfield while Serge Gnabry comes in for Leroy Sane on the wing. Niklas Sule has been benched for Dayot Upamecano.
So here we are — the quarter finals. This the the stage is where the Champions League separates the good from the truly elite teams, and Bayern Munich must to progress to keep hold of their position as one of the best in Europe. Standing in our way is Villarreal CF, a Spanish side hailing from a town whose entire population would fit inside the Allianz Arena.
As Juventus found out in the Ro16, they are not to be underestimated. Villarreal are no Bundesliga team — they’re Europa League champions, and their coach Unai Emery is one of the most underrated tactical minds in the business. As one of the youngest coaches in the Europe, Julian Nagelsmann has never progressed further than the SFs in his career. Today, he’ll need to bring his A game if he wants to change that.
Luckily for him, Bayern Munich have the tools required to do it. The attack boasts the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman, and Leroy Sane — the highest scoring front line in the entire competition. The midfield is bolstered by the return of Leon Goretzka to partner Joshua Kimmich, with the young Jamal Musiala waiting in the wings if Goretzka happens to be unavailable. And the defense — well, there’s a strong chance Alphonso Davies could play, which changes the complexion of the tie further.
Nagelsmann has everything he needs to make it to the semis. Now all he has to do is get Bayern off the right start. It would be a shame if things had to be left for the second leg in Munich, because that’s not how Liverpool or Man City played their games. No, we need to perform to our standard today.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: El Madrigal, Villarreal, Spain
Time: 9:00 pm local time, 3:00 pm EST
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