Dennis Melzer reports from the Allianz Arena
After the premature exit, the disillusion was great, coach Julian Nagelsmann struggled to put into words what he had experienced before in a press conference. There were several reasons why the ambitious German record champions ultimately did not prevail against the underdog.
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The Spanish guests, who had shone in the first leg with an impressive system of play, were limited almost exclusively to defending in Munich. While FCB have kept things under control throughout the season, the top-flight offense has regularly found its teeth in Villarreal’s wall. Only Kingsley Coman has managed to scratch cracks in the Yellow Submarine stable a few times.
Three things that stood out.
1.) A Fateful Change Raises Questions
While the majority of the public had already prepared for an extension, FC Villarreal, until then completely stuffy, struck coldly. Out of nowhere, Gerard Moreno snuck into the Munich back line, which had been defending with such concentration and rigor until then, and handed the ball to substitute Samu Chukwueze, who only had to put the ball in the goal (88th). .
Alphonso Davies became the equally involuntary and sad protagonist of this same scene. The Canadian, who had been stopped 99 seconds earlier for Hernández, first called off a possible offside position and then couldn’t catch up to intervene.
Of course, after the game, the big question arose as to why Nagelsmann decided to remove the Spanish ruler from the pitch and replace him with the much more attacking Davies. “The change was not voluntary – Lucki got injured,” the Bayern coach gasped at all attacking points during the press conference.
Alphonso Davies replaces Lucas Hernández – FC Bayern Munich against FC Villarreal
Photo credit: Getty Images
He was faced with the decision to bring in Davies or Tanguy Nianzou. In the end, the strong Canadian was preferred because Villarreal coach Unai Emery had brought a fast player to Chukwueze.
Yet: When he was substituted, Hernández didn’t necessarily give the impression that he couldn’t play the remaining three minutes. The former Atlético defender had no problems with Villarreal’s attacking squad, even taking the liberty of continuing forward himself.
If Hernández does suffer from an acute injury, Nagelsmann certainly can’t be blamed. Shortly before the withdrawal, however, the 26-year-old looked fully fit. His stability and aggressiveness in the closing stages of the match would have done Bayern good.
Davies would have been a viable option in extra time as well.
2.) Only an offensive artist convinces
Especially in the first round, the very talented quintet found nothing. After all, Coman seized a useful day and was able to convince.
Nevertheless: Bayern took refuge in a pattern that was always the same: ball on the wing, slowdowns and crosses from the midfield, which were gratefully executed outside the penalty area by the defensive giants of Villarreal.
In the first moments after the change of sides, there was a lot more flexibility in Munich’s attacking play. The balls were conquered higher, there was more movement and even Leroy Sané, who in the first 45 minutes always looked his way through the middle to cross with his strong left foot, managed to dribble all the way to the bottom line and served exemplary Dayot Upamecano (50. )
Meanwhile, Kingsley Coman, Bayern’s best attacking artist, puts his opponent Juan Foyth in order, prevailed several times with quick dribbling and thus provided the most danger in attacking play. The Frenchman, who was partly responsible for the header in winning the ball before the 1-0, fought 17 duels and won more than half of them (58.8%).
However, promising individual campaigns regularly ebbed because his colleagues rarely positioned themselves. Müller and Lewandowski were both in good hands with Villarreal’s physically strong back line and were ineffective except for the 1-0 which resulted from a co-production between the two.
3.) Villarreal park the Yellow Submarine
Long after the Bayern players disappeared from the locker room, a yellow crowd cheered on the lawn, and the battle-lovers who had traveled with them sang their songs in the upper floor. Boundless ecstasy of the outsider who had knocked out the big favorite.
It didn’t look like this for long on Wednesday night, Bayern acting too dominant, the Spaniards too inoffensive. Unlike the first leg, Emery had apparently instructed his side to completely isolate themselves and only disband the basic order when there was a chance.
“If the opponent defends with eight people in the penalty area, it will be difficult,” Nagelsmann said afterwards. It’s not easy to “get into the groove” when, as a strong team, you are up against an opponent who only focuses on defense.
Samu Chukwueze propels Villarreal to the semi-finals
Photo credit: SID
In the end, it must be said that Emery’s wall tactic was the right decision. Waiting for 88 minutes, playing for time and then striking cold at the crucial moment was exactly what Emery envisioned.
“If you question our tactics, he must have forgotten our first game. We surprised them,” Emery said, eyeing Kahn’s criticism. He certainly wasn’t wrong about that. A stationary submarine is difficult to sink.
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