Bayern Munich beat Sevilla 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Here are three takeaways from the match.
After a rough first half, Bayern Munich were able to come from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Sevilla. Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s game.
Jupp Heynckes got his starting XI wrong
Jupp Heynckes doesn’t make many mistakes as Bayern manager, but he got his starting XI wrong. Heynckes decided to start Arturo Vidal and Juan Bernat on Tuesday, leaving James Rodriguez on the bench.
Vidal was a question mark entering the game but Heynckes started him over Rodriguez, who had one of his best games of the season against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Within the first 10 minutes, Vidal was clearly bothered by his injury. However, Vidal motioned to the bench to stay on. Heynckes abided, allowing Vidal to stay on another 20 minutes. Vidal looked a step slow, struggling to get back as deep as required defensively and having a minor impact moving forward. In the 36th minute, Heynckes was forced to bring off his Chilean midfielder after he further aggravated his injury. On came Rodriguez, and Bayern almost immediately scored. Rodriguez fed Franck Ribery, whose ball towards goal deflected off of Sevilla’s Jesus Navas before squirming in at the near post.
Heynckes’ decision to start Bernat over Alaba was a result of an injury sustained by Alaba. Still, Bernat struggled. He was caught sleeping on Sevilla’s opening goal, allowing Pablo Sarabia to run free, easily beating Sven Ulreich. Two minutes after the goal, Bernat picked up a yellow card for a dumb tackle that he should never have made. Bernat was out of position and had little hope of winning the ball back. At halftime, Heynckes brought on Rafinha to replace Bernat.
Sevilla failed to capitalize on their first-half chances
Sevilla scored once in the first half but they probably should have had scored more. The Spanish side had their opportunities but couldn’t take advantage of Bayern’s first-half mistakes. Sevilla looked faster than Bayern for most of the first half, using quick passes to keep possession. If not for Sevilla’s mistakes, they could have scored three first-half goals.
Sarabia scored the lone goal for Sevilla but it should have been the second of his game. A few minutes before scoring, Sarabia had another chance to score inside of the box. Sevilla played a ball into the box that Mats Hummels was able to get a foot on to get it away from the attacker. However, the ball deflected right to Sarabia, putting Ulreich out of position. All Sarabia had to do was hit the net and he likely would have scored. Instead, Sarabia missed badly, putting the ball several feet wide of the goal.
Joaquin Correa had his chances to create goals throughout the game but took too made touches or made a poor decision, squandering Sevilla’s chance. The Argentina international played well in the middle third of the field but he struggled whenever he got closer to goal. Correa was far from the only Sevilla player who made poor decisions, as the Spanish club often tried making one too many passes instead of taking a shot.
Bayern controlled the second half, a preview of the second leg
The second half of the game was controlled by Bayern, who looked faster and controlled possession. Virtually all of the scoring chances in the second half belonged to Bayern, as Sevilla struggled to get the ball over half. Whenever Sevilla did get forward, Hummels and Jerome Boateng did well to shut down the attack and play it forward so Bayern could launch another attack. As the half dragged on, Bayern looked more energized, while Sevilla looked tired, continuously chasing the ball.
The decision to bring on Rafinha paid off, as the full-back made several strong tackles and continuously made overlapping runs. Sevilla struggled to deal with the runs by Rafinha, who opened up more space for Ribery. Bayern’s second goal was the result of a cross from Ribery to Thiago, who headed the ball into the ground, deflecting off of Sergio Escudero and into the goal.
Sevilla were lucky to only give up one goal in the second half. Keeper David Soria played well and made an incredible save to prevent Javi Martinez from scoring. Thomas Muller sent a perfect cross into the box for Martinez, who found himself all alone inside of the box.
The second goal proved to be the winner and gave Bayern an all-important second away goal. The German giants will likely be able to sit back, control possession and protect their lead in the second leg. Bayern haven’t lost at home this season. Robert Lewandowski has been incredible at the Allianz Arena. The Polish striker has scored 24 goals at home this season. After an unspectacular performance on Tuesday, he could seal a place in the semifinals for Bayern if he scores an early goal.