Julian Nagelsmann got his defining win in the Champions League on Wednesday. Even though Bayern Munich clinched comfortable wins against FC Barcelona in the group stages, they needed a statement knockout victory after disappointment in the last two seasons.
Die Roten booked a place in the quarter-final of the Champions League by clinching a 2-0 win against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, courtesy of goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Serge Gnabry. The French club lost the tie by an aggregate score of 3-0 as Die Roten had clinched a 1-0 win away in Paris two weeks ago. The victory in Munich on Wednesday can act as a springboard for the rest of the season, so let us look at the key aspects of the performance against PSG.
Resilience in the defense
Bayern lacked intensity against Villarreal last season, which eventually led to their downfall in both games. Julian Nagelsmann made sure that his team didn’t make the same error and defended with great intensity. From minute one, Die Roten showed incredible resilience and intensity to PSG from opening the scoring.
The proactive and resilient approach of the team was summed up well when Matthijs de Ligt cleared the ball off the line to protect his team’s lead. Yann Sommer made a mistake in the build-up, but the team regained shape to stop PSG from finding the net, and De Ligt was at the right place to make the clearance.
Bayern’s collective defensive work on Wednesday had a great balance of skill and temperament. They hardly looked flustered, even when PSG looked threatening in the final third. Die Roten needs to keep using this template in the next rounds if they want to bring the Champions League trophy back to Allianz Arena.
Efficiency in both boxes
The 2-0 win against PSG on Wednesday was not a vintage performance from Bayern. However, it can be considered the most effective performance of the season. The knockout phase in the Champions League has a lot of variance, as one poor day can lead to elimination. To minimize the variance, a team needs to show better efficiency at both ends of the pitch.
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Bayern found great success at converting big chances against PSG on Wednesday. They created and converted high-quality chances to put the tie past the French club. At the other end of the pitch, Die Roten won every crucial aerial and ground duel to keep Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi quiet on Wednesday. Nagelsmann will like to see his team emulate similar efficiency across big games in the next couple of months.