Champions League prelude: A downer for the voracious FC Bayern

EFor many years, it has been a practice at FC Bayern to end a Champions League trip in good company on the evening of the game in a hotel. With an opulent buffet, good wine and the chairman’s speech, which, depending on the outcome of the game, was either humorous or rather critical.

Of course, there cannot be a big banquet in times of the pandemic, but the people of Munich did not want to completely do without the tradition on their trip to Barcelona. “We’ll take a little sip,” said Julian Nagelsmann after his first Champions League game as Bayern coach.

Even a whole glass of fine Spanish wine would have been appropriate, after all, at the start of the premier football league, the Munich team not only managed to expand a few of their considerable success series, but also with the 3-0 win against FC Barcelona, ​​the former Measure of all things in European football, “a very important signal”, as Thomas Müller put it, sent to the competition. Captain Manuel Neuer called it an “exclamation mark” when you exude “such dominance” against a team like Barcelona.

Bavaria set a benchmark

Since the 2003/2004 season, Bayern have always won their first games in the Champions League and have not lost any of the last 19 away games in Europe. However, Nagelsmann did not yet attach too much importance to the triumph at Camp Nou. “It was the first game,” he said. In addition, the Catalans, who have lost their radiance after the departure of Lionel Messi, are in upheaval, far from the playful brilliance of bygone days and also cannot be compared with the team that won the Champions League final in Lisbon a good year ago Had suffered a 2: 8 defeat against the German record champions.

But at that time Barcelona were not as inferior to Bayern as they were on Tuesday, despite the many goals they conceded and disastrous defensive performance. Which is why the Munich coach didn’t want to appear too modest in the end. “If we always do it like we do today and keep developing, we’re sure to be one of the favorites,” he admitted.

Only in the first few minutes did FC Barcelona, ​​which started somewhat surprisingly with a three-man defensive, manage to achieve a halfway balance. “In the first seven or eight minutes we weren’t brave enough,” said Nagelsmann. “Then we made some adjustments,” and Bayern took control of the game and opponents. “The only downer” in the first half for the Munich coach was the small number of good chances given the superiority.

Leroy Sané missed twice, once Jamal Musiala, the only hit resulted from a deflected shot from 20 meters by Thomas Müller in the 34th minute. “A little happy,” he admitted after scoring his seventh goal in the sixth game against Barcelona.

The Catalans coach Ronald Koeman saw the Munich leadership as a turning point. “The goal we conceded changed the game a bit,” he said. Barcelona, ​​once known for its rousing offensive appearances, has now withdrawn even more. But Koeman only corrected the tactics in the course of the second half, after Robert Lewandowski’s first of his two goals that evening (56th and 85th minute), switched back to a back four in defense and sent Philippe next to the former Bayern player Coutinho brought three teenagers from his own talent factory onto the pitch, who caused a stir than the established ones before.

Bayern have set a standard at Camp Nou, but without being perfect. Joshua Kimmich addressed “a few simple mistakes”, “lack of concentration,” as he said. In addition, the midfielder thought, you could have “won even higher”.

Only little things, for the coach this evening in Barcelona gave little cause for criticism. Nagelsmann liked the “calmness with own ball possession”, that worked out much better than in Leipzig, in the sometimes wild 4-1 victory in the Bundesliga last Saturday.

He described the defensive performance as the “key” of success, especially Dayot Upamecano and Niklas Süle, and later also the substitute Lucas Hernandez fulfilled the tasks in the central defense in an exemplary manner. “It is important to me that we have this greed to eat up the opponent’s strikers,” said Nagelsmann. And at the front, in attack, Bayern can’t get enough of them anyway.

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