The Bayern dream in a quick check: Kimmich’s brains and Tuchel’s promises

The dream is alive: FC Bayern can still win a title this season. Because Joshua Kimmich becomes a header monster because chess expert Thomas Tuchel and his team don’t sacrifice a pawn. This is increasingly embarrassing the club.

What actually happened in Munich’s Allianz Arena?

The good news: Arsenal fans aren’t the only ones coming together in the stadium this evening dressed in red and white. Unlike in the first leg, the Bayern supporters can also provide a backdrop again. Dressed in red and white, of course. They were locked out in London because UEFA wanted it that way. Pyrotechnics in the game against Lazio Rome was the reason. UEFA can probably take action again straight away. Because: To make their protest against the European association clear, the fans used what? Sure, pyrotechnics. And the banner: “We don’t like you either. Exclude UEFA. Get out of our stadium.”

A feud away from the most important game for FC Bayern, Thomas Tuchel and Harry Kane this season. A bankruptcy – and the last straw collapses, as the newfangled paper things tend to do in cold drinks. Then FC Bayern is finally without a title this season and the last five Bundesliga games are almost irrelevant. This hasn’t happened since the 2011/12 season.

Bayer Leverkusen has secured the championship trophy, the cup is no longer possible – Tuchel has long since received his notice. But until April 17, 2024, one last dream remains: that FC Bayern will repeat history. The Champions League final will take place on June 1 at Wembley Stadium, the same venue where the club lifted the trophy at the end of the 2012/13 season.

The fact that the opponent at the time is now back in the semi-finals – meaning a repeat of the final is possible – is also part of the story of this evening. Borussia Dortmund in the competition longer than Bayern? That too would be a disgrace. German supremacy in Europe must be there, that is what the self-image on Säbener Strasse demands. The last time was a long time ago: the last time a German club came further in the premier class than the German record champions was in 2010/11: FC Schalke 04. With coach Ralf Rangnick and Manuel Neuer in goal. One could soon be at FC Bayern, the other will probably keep the goal for the next ten years.

And Kane? The striker is the focus of the whole misery. He’s the one Arsenal fans are rumored to be gossiping about, saying that all he can win is the top scorer, which looks just like the Gunners’ logo. The eternally untitled and his curse. But: Everything written is purely hypothetical. Kane’s curse at least postponed. The team from his home country, the rival of his long-time club Tottenham Hotspur, is not keeping the lousy running joke alive.

Kimmich heaves his team into the semi-finals, the first since winning the title in 2020. And thus puts everything back to square one. Because the 1-0 win means: The most important game of the year is followed by the most important game of the year in the semi-final first leg against Real Madrid on April 30th, before the most important game of the year in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid on May 7th pending.

Teams and goals

Munich: Neuer – Kimmich, de Ligt, Dier, Mazraoui (76th Kim) – Sane (89th Upamecano), Laimer, Goretzka, Musiala, Guerreiro – Kane; – Coach: Tuchel.
Arsenal: Raya – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu (86th Nketiah) – Odegaard, Jorginho (68th Jesus), Rice – Saka, Havertz, Martinelli (67th Trossard); – Coach: Arteta.
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Goal: 1:0 Kimmich (63.)

Click here for the match report!

What was good?

Center forward Joshua Kimmich! 1.77 meters of concentrated header power in the penalty area. In the 63rd minute, he rushes at full speed to receive a cross from Raphaël Guerreiro, who, after a cross from the left that was barely stopped, has all the time in the world to place it perfectly. Kimmich is the perfect center forward, hits the ball with his head, the ball hits the top left corner. Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya is beaten.

Bayern are the better, more offensive team in the second half. And this in a game that DAZN expert Sami Khedira said in the first half that it was “chess of lightweights” as an analogy to the “chess of refrigerators” in American football. Both teams are well staggered, giving the opponent little to no space to develop. That’s good from Bayern’s point of view, after all national players Kai Havertz and Bukayo Saka cannot make a decisive start towards Neuer. Leon Goretzka works towards the back, Konrad Laimer is once again faster than the competition’s attackers. And then it is the one whose move to the full-back position caused so much excitement both at Bayern and in the DFB team and who hits right in the heart: Joshua Kimmich. Harry Kane stands next to it, looks and cheers. His title curse could still break. He should be very grateful to Kimmich.

What wasn’t quite so good?

FC Bayern once again unpacked their gala suits for the Champions League, it was a high level of play and tactics. The performance bears the clear signature of coach Tuchel. He is clearly relying on security against the fast Saka and the unconventional, non-center forward, unrelatable Havertz and rotates Thomas Müller out of the starting eleven again. Guerreiro is allowed to play, he can break down the London wing decisively. Mistakes are forbidden, mistakes don’t happen. Just chess, no one wants to sacrifice the pawn. A clever game – not just Kimmich’s.

This means that no offensive fireworks are ignited; top-class opportunities are in short supply. Harry Kane doesn’t get the ball decisively to give it to his ex-rival. Suspense is the name of the game, with a decisive outlier and a happy ending. This puts FC Bayern in a strange dilemma. And possibly makes a bad decision that was made weeks ago. What if Tuchel and the team actually win the title? Sure, joy, jubilation, the maximum minimum goal. Just one title, but at least the largest of the possible ones. But Tuchel is still fired. And someone will come along who will probably have won less. The current national coach Julian Nagelsmann, for example. According to rumors, he is about to return to his ex-employer. The 36-year-old has only won the German championship and the German Super Cup twice with FC Bayern. He would have less to offer than Tuchel.

Which, by the way, makes bench warmer Thomas Müller happy after the game. The same Bayern oldie who is said to have had a stuttering relationship with Nagelsmann during his Bayern days. Because Müller – which is not so good for him personally – will be deprived of his 150th game in the Champions League by being moved to the bench, Tuchel made a promise after the game. In the semifinals the hour (or maybe just the minute) strikes: “Now there are two more, then he’ll get it.” Playing time against Real Madrid is quite good for Müller.

What was it like in the cauldron called the Allianz Arena, Mr. Needy?

Peter Schmeichel here, Sami Khedira there. In the middle with a baseball cap pulled low over his face and Mats Hummels’ hood pulled over it. And of course also there: the national coach, who may be on the sidelines again next season. Julian Nagelsmann is (officially) only in Munich today to watch a few of his national players. Schmeichel, on the other hand, only keeps a close eye on Manuel Neuer as the keeper warms up.

In any case, the world football elite doesn’t want to miss out on this footballing treat. Speaking of “bites”. Does FC Bayern have to save money now that they are no longer German champions? When it comes to catering, there are “only” wraps, otherwise a club with the self-image of the record champions will of course serve it up warmly. Because everything remains tasty on paper in terms of football, Hummels, for example, chats with the person sitting next to him for almost the entire game.

Although he doesn’t play, Thomas Müller’s name is shouted the loudest when the team is announced. The original Bavarian had announced that there would be a “crackle” in the stadium because of the special nature of the all-or-nothing game and the last chance for a title. Before kick-off there was a fire, at least in the south curve: The Bayern fans put on a rare pyrotechnic show, which seemed a bit too coordinated in the otherwise rather smooth and quiet Allianz Arena. The Süd creates a good atmosphere and teases people with posters. Afterwards it doesn’t really crackle for a long time, but for once everyone in the group can jump up and cheer. That’s enough for the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The voices about the game:

Joshua Kimmich: “Excellent. The second half in particular was very good. We could have scored one or two more goals and were more determined. The bottom line is that we deserved to go through. We are happy that we are finally in the semi-finals again.” When he scored the goal, he was lucky “that no one really felt responsible for me.”

Thomas Tuchel: Being one of the best four teams in Europe again means “a lot. The semi-finals are an important step. The last four, that was fun.” And further: “I saw us extremely strong in the second half. We showed a little more personality, more courage.”

source site-59