Chris Williams – Munich, Germany
Bayern München vs Liverpool ended in victory to the visitors, but there was a feeling of missed opportunities and unheeded warnings Thursday morning in the city of Munich.
FC Bayern München 1-3 Liverpool
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
13 March 2019 – 20:00 GMT, 21:00 CET
Goals:0-1 (Mane, 26′), 1-1 (Matip OG, 38′), 1-2 (Van Dijk, 69′), 1-3 (Mane, 83′)
Bayern München vs Liverpool: Bayern’s mistakes
From Manuel Neuer to Robert Lewandowski, mistakes on the pitch to those off it – Bayern had an evening to forget in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Even though Niko Kovac defended his goalkeeper, there is no doubt that the Bayern shot-stopper was at fault for racing out of his goal to try and intercept an in-form Sadio Mane.
The Senegalese forward turned on a sixpence to fire the visitors into a lead that put Jürgen Klopp’s men on the path to victory. Speaking post-match the Bayern head coach would not be drawn into blaming his ‘keeper – quite the opposite.
“I thought Neuer did the right thing, Sadio Mane was in a position that the goalkeeper had to come out. The goal showed the quality of Mane, the decision from Neuer was correct.”
Whether Rafinha had the possible trajectory of Mane covered or not, there was little the defender could do once the Liverpool striker had opted to shoot – his finish was world class.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the pitch, Lewandowski had an off night – this didn’t stop the Bayern forward from raising a complaint about Kovac’s tactics though. The 30-year-old ended the competition with eight goals from eight matchdays but had fired a blank in both legs against the Merseyside club.
“In both games, I think we played too defensive. We didn’t try to push forward to create situations – in the first game and today. We didn’t risk much, we were playing at home it was our game but that’s why I think Liverpool beat us.” he told Jan Åge Fjørtoft after the final whistle.
It seemed a criticism of the Croatian coach, how Kovac responds will be interesting to watch – Lewandowski spent a large part of the fixture complaining at the referee, while for the remainder he was fully policed by both Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.
Bayern München vs Liverpool: Sadio Mane
With a brace in the Allianz Arena, the Liverpool forward took his tally to 19 goals in 37 games this season. He was a constant thorn in the right side of Bayern’s defence from the first whistle to the last.
Embarrassing Neuer for the opening goal, the 26-year-old then completed a wonderful evening for the Reds on 83 minutes as he beat Mats Hummels to a Mohamed Salah cross – heading Liverpool into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
It was Mane’s sixth goal in four games and showed that on the biggest of stages he knows how to find the net. Scoring in the final against Real Madrid last season, and now adding two important goals away from home has shown just how important the forward is to Liverpool:
“Sadio Mane is in a good moment – long may it continue.“ Klopp said after the game.
Bayern München vs Liverpool: Bayern fail to heed their own warnings
On Tuesday afternoon Neuer and Kovac both spoke at length about the danger that their English visitors posed. However, for all their talk pre-match, it was their actions on the field that defined this fixture.
Bayern’s coach had identified Liverpool’s strength when in transition, and Neuer singled out the difference Virgil van Dijk could make:
“We can’t sit back and defend without any plan. We have to get into the match rhythm and we know Liverpool are the strongest team in transitional play. If we don’t get this balance it could be all over” Kovac said.
“Liverpool can score from anywhere – Van Dijk, Matip from set pieces“ – Neuer said when asked about Liverpool’s striking options pre-match.
James Milner picked out the Dutch centre back with ease and his presence frightened those around him, from the minute he lept from the ground there was only going to be one outcome – Liverpool’s second goal ultimately deflated Bayern and the question became when the Reds would score again, not if.
Kicker described Bayern’s exit as a ‘German disaster’ on Thursday morning, following on from Dortmund and Schalke’s failure to get past their own Premier League opponents.
The Bavarians now must focus on the remaining two competitions they are involved in. The Pokal and Bundesliga are easily within their grasp, but they will have to pull together and not let this defeat at home to Liverpool fracture their harmony – or cloud what has been an excellent few weeks, domestically.
Bayern München vs Liverpool – Line-ups
FC Bayern München:
Neuer – Rafinha, Sule, Hummels, Alaba – Javi Martinez (Goretzka, 72′), Thiago – Gnabry, James Rodriguez (Sanches, 79′), Ribery (Coman, 61′) – Lewandowski
Coach: Niko Kovac
Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson – Milner, Wijnaldum, Henderson (Fabinho, 13′) – Mane, Salah, Firmino (Origi, 82′)
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFAís European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UKís Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams