On paper, Bayern Munich were the favorites to beat Villarreal over two legs and advance to the Champions League semi-finals. That wasn’t the case, however, and despite dominating most of the second leg at the Allianz Arena, Bayern lost 2-1 on aggregate and squandered the chance to face Liverpool in the semis. -final. In both matches, Julian Nagelsmann’s side simply weren’t good enough and played particularly poorly in the first leg at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Club captain Manuel Neuer recently reflected on how Bayern might have slightly underestimated their La Liga opponents in the Champions League and were perhaps a bit overconfident that they would overtake them. “In the cup competitions, we weren’t there in the important phase. Unfortunately, it was a fact, we have to do better. As Bayern Munich, we can never assume that we will progress to the next round. But we have to take every opponent seriously and we have to take them with us into the new season,” explained Neuer (Sport Bild).
Of course, the same concept also applies to Bayern having been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal early on at the hands of Borussia Mönchengladbach, but in recent seasons Gladbach has genuinely proven to be a bit of a bogey side for Bayern. on a national level. Bayern’s recent history against Die Fohlen lends itself some breathing room to digest a loss, but the 5-0 score line that night with a very solid starting XI made the pill even harder to swallow.
All things considered, the evidence was on the ground for all to see. It looked like Bayern already had their eye on the Champions League semi-finals before taking care of business against Villarreal. In the end, Liverpool showed what a beatable team they were despite Unai Emery’s side salvaging first-half goals in the second leg to make things temporarily nervy for Jurgen’s side Klopp. Liverpool eventually won 5-2 on aggregate and are set to face Real Madrid in the final in Paris on May 28.
Club CEO Oliver Kahn also commented on the Villarreal encounter and said he was surprised at how well the Spaniards were shining for themselves. “We were surprised at the quality Villarreal played with, how they played from the back. We assumed they would prefer to play with long balls. Then they played from the back, that was the best “, he explained.