Bayern Munich have bowed out to Manchester City in the Champions League at the quarter-finals stage, in an intriguing coaching matchup between heavyweights Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel. Despite the defeat, Bayern players and staff — and even the opposing coach — have struck a positive tone about their performance as the Bavarians turn their attention to the last remaining competition for this season, the Bundesliga.
So, how did Bayern do? Here’s how German media outlets Bild and kicker rated the proceedings:
- First, the obvious positives: Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Kingsley Coman had strong matches. Leroy Sané too — the playmaker once again looked like Bayern’s most potent offensive threat, and the chance he missed, by the slightest of margins, was not quite a sitter.
- Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is getting dinged but maybe unfairly. The Athletic’s Raphael Honigstein noted the Cameroonian star’s strong contribution to Bayern’s build-up. It was a typically savvy performance from an underrated player who is more than a box striker only...but as Honigstein also points out, it was that critical dimension where Choupo was MIA on the day.
- This is turning out to be more than a striker problem for Bayern Munich. Under Tuchel, it’s the defenders who are scoring lately, an uncomfortable parallel to his admittedly different situation at striker-bereft Chelsea. But more than once against City, and in more than one recent game, Bayern have managed to get their speedsters in behind on the wing only for a promising cross to be delivered to nobody. Whither the far post runners?
- Pep’s four center-back setup left City vulnerable to Bayern’s verve on the counter, and he knew it. From the same Athletic analysis, Mark Critchley quotes Guardiola’s pre-game instruction to his team: “Control the transition in every circumstance because the pace they have is unbelievable.”
- Did City achieve that? Arguably not, in either leg. The number of times Bayern got vertical fast and saw four attackers cut swathes through City territory bodes well for the Tuchel era. It’s just that the translation to an end product has amounted to a comedy of errors...and that, too, is starting to look like a Tuchel signature. But with more time and rhythm, maybe it can get sorted by the same group of players.
- Calls for Tuchel to bench Dayot Upamecano feel awfully premature. Upa’s fantastic pace is an asset that’s hard to replace in the squad, and Bayern could be opening up fresh vulnerabilities to the opposition without him. The Frenchman will assuredly have better days than he could show in these two legs against City.
- Bayern’s bench delivered some real spark. Mathys Tel brought an eagerness to shoot that the starters seem to lack — and he also arrived for a back-post tap on a play where a teammate was offside. Sadio Mané won the penalty that produced Bayern’s only goal.
- Lastly: it’s a touch harsh on the fullbacks from both Bild and kicker. As per usual.
Can’t get enough analysis of the game? Then why not check out our postgame podcast? We break down what worked and what didn’t as Bayern Munich succumbed to another Champions League elimination to Manchester City. Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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