Bayern Munich: Predictable attacking approach led to Champions League exit

Bayern Munich head coach disappointed after the Champions League exit against Villarreal. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich head coach disappointed after the Champions League exit against Villarreal. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images) /

A promising Champions League campaign for Bayern Munich came to a very timid end. The Bavarian giants were knocked out of the competition by Villarreal on Tuesday as Samuel Chukwueze came off the bench to score a late equalizer at Allianz Arena. The Spanish side ended up winning the tie 2-1 aggregate.

Die Roten lacked composure across the pitch in the first leg last Wednesday. They were lucky to come away with a 1-0 defeat. Villarreal had numerous chances to get a healthy lead in the first leg. The second leg on Tuesday in Munich saw an improvement from Rekordmeister in terms of intensity, but the lack of alternative plans in the final third eluded them from the crucial second goal.

Nagelsmann decided to go with Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman as wing-backs on Tuesday. The wide players kept on peppering the crosses in the box without making much of an impact. In the entire game, Die Roten had 23 shots in the game with only four on target. Most importantly, they managed to complete ten crosses after attempting more than 30 crosses across 90 minutes (Accuracy- 26%). (Stats courtesy: Fotmob)

It was not a surprise to see that Die Roten’s only goal came in the tie when they tried to break down Villarreal from central areas. After a turnover in the midfield, Die Roten executed a swift move that was finished by a clever strike by Robert Lewandowski. Barring this opportunity, the Bavarian club never tried to break down Villarreal from central zones.

Villarreal deserves enormous credit for resolutely defending the central zone. They managed to win all the second ball in the box and deny the Bavarian forwards from taking optimum shots. The Spanish side managed to frustrate Die Roten and force them to take difficult shots from outside the box.

Despite seeing crosses were hardly working for Rekordmeister, Nagelsmann hardly made a change in approach as the game was coming to an end in the normal time. The Champions League exit against Villarreal should be a big learning curve for Nagelsmann. Every successful team in this competition needs to adapt and alternate approaches depending on the game situation. Rekordmeister struggled to adapt on Tuesday, which eventually led to their elimination.

Along with lacking an alternate plan in the final third, Bayern also managed the game very poorly on Tuesday. With less than five minutes to go for the final whistle, Die Roten could have taken an easier route and seen out this phase. A gamble to commit so many players higher up the pitch late in the normal time left them vulnerable on the break.

Next. Top performers from second leg against Villareal. dark

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The exit from the Champions League is going to sting the Bavarian faithful and Nagelsmann in the next few weeks. Bayern was the favourite to reach the semi-final, but a lackluster display at both ends of the pitch led to an upset.