When the final whistle sounded, Bayern Munich walked off the pitch at Estadio de la Cerámica with the weight of a 1-0 Champions League loss on its shoulders.
It might only have been one defeat, but it must have felt like 1,000 after how Villarreal imposed its will on the match. Even the most optimistic Bayern Munich fans could not muster much positivity from the effort. The coaches and players were equally inept and Villarreal played with an intensity and spirit that the Bavarians were unable to match.
In a lot of ways, that was the most disappointing aspect of the match. Villarreal played with a fire inside of it and an urgency that Bayern Munich could not match on any level. Sometimes football is an easy game to assess: Villarreal was better prepared than Bayern Munich and just wanted it more.
That said, the return leg could become quite uncomfortable for the Spaniards.
The Bavarians played about as poorly as they possible could in every aspect of the match from the coaching to the performance on the pitch. It was ugly and extremely difficult to watch, but there is still a return leg and Bayern Munich has the ability to turn this tie on its head.
Nothing will be easy, but there should be more focus, attention to detail, and urgency.
There is that word again — one that has often come up in Bayern Munich’s defeats this season. Too often, the squad has looked complacent on the pitch during its losses and not realizing that its opposition is bringing its best effort. Tactics aside, Villarreal manager Unai Emery had his boys ready for a fight and that is exactly how the Yellow Submarine played.
Fights can work both ways, however, and we are only in Round 6 out of 12 in this match. Bayern Munich might be behind on the judges’ scorecards, but there is nothing to say the Bavarians cannot still land the knockout blow.
If Die Roten can find a way to dig deep and force Villarreal into a state of discomfort, the tactics in the next match will not matter much. Bayern Munich’s talent alone can assure that the Spanish side will be tested in a major way.
Bayern Munich also has a chance to remember who it is (the Rekordmeister!), where it is at (the Allianz Arena!), and what is at stake (the Champions League!). While some issues might persist, the Bavarians will undoubtedly be ready for Villarreal the next time around.
Onward and upward...right?
Tell us what you think the biggest issues were: Offense? Defense? Coaching? Preparation? Fatigue? We’ll take them all...
Also, if you missed our Initial Analysis, Match Awards, Observations, or Postgame Podcast, give them a look and/or a listen: