On Wednesday night Bayern faced Juventus in the first small final of the Champions League season. With the 2:2 draw in Turin, Bayern had a good starting position for the second leg and had everything in their own hands.
Thus the roles were clearly defined before the game. Juventus had to prevent a defeat at all costs and needed to score at least one goal to increase the chances of progressing to the next round. Bayern would have been fine with a low scoring draw.
3 things we noticed
1. Alaba with a bad start
David Alaba got off to a remarkably bad start this evening. As weak as in the first half of this Champions League game and even over long periods of the second half, the Austrian has not been seen in a long time. He was directly involved not only in the two goals conceded, but also created further big chances for Juventus. His first error in the 6th minute, which led to Pogba’s goal, Alaba was not able to defend against a rather common, relatively uncomplicated long ball. He in fact complicated the situation. At the half-time whistle the Austrian had a passing accuracy of only 78%, which is remarkably bad compared to his usual performances. Throughout the game he looked uneasy and rushed in tight situations, something that you rarely see in his game. After Guardiola moved him to the center-back position, it was slightly better. Nevertheless, it was not the evening of David Alaba.
In many situations Alaba was lacking the necessary cleverness. He could, for example, have made a tactical foul after he lost the ball just befor the 0:2, but decided to go into the sprinting duel with Morata, which he eventually lost. Alaba won only 38% of his duels and only had 93 ball contacts (including extra time), which is also very little for him. In offense his actions too often failed due to inaccuracies in his ball handling and also his interactions with Franck Ribery did not harmonize as usual. All in all, an used evening for the Austrians, which is quite remarkable since he is known to be one of the most consistent players otherwise.
2. Vidal and Coman as game changers
It is often way too easy to credit the turning of a game on one or two players. But on this evening two players really made that difference. On the one hand is Arturo Vidal, who showed an almost incredible willpower and was able to stop many Juventus counter-attacks in the counter-pressing in the important minutes of the game. Secondly Kingsley Coman, who had a foot in three of the four goals.
As Arturo Vidal shone in Dortmund with a very good performance, there were many who thought that Bayern have signed him for exactly these games. At the beginning of the game the Chilean was not precise enough with the ball. However, this was true for the entire team. Paired-up with Alonso he often looked redundant. His positioning was much too low for long periods of the game and thus he created only few vertical relief passes for Bayern. When he positioned himself much higher in the second half and ultimately after the substitution of Alonso, the Bayern game improved.
Against the ball he was the most important man on the field for Munich. Five tackles, four interceptions and a passing accuracy of 95% show how important he was for the team. Especially when Bayern started their comeback, it was Arturo Vidal with his accuracy in the counter-pressing who prevented many counter-attacks for Turin and instead initiated another Bayern wave in offense. He also won the descisive duel and thus created the chance for Thomas Müller to score the 2:2. One could also say that the Chilean pulled his teammates emotionally out of their slump.
Kingsley Coman was the second decisive player. With him there was not only more drive towards the Juve goal, but also the players around him improved. Especially Douglas Costa was in harmony with the Frenchman from a lower position on the field and provided some dangerous crosses in the final minutes. Leading up the 1:2, Coman won the ball at the baseline and then passed it to Costa. He makes a good cross to Lewandowski, who then started the furious final minutes of the Bayern game. Coman was even directly involved at the equalizer. Also in the extra time he confirmed his strong form and scored the 4:2 himself. Three key passes, two successful dribbles and two shots complement his strong performance.
The Frenchman proved that he could shine in the future not only as a “super sub” but certainly as an alternative for the starting lineup. Even in big games, if he can keep this level of performance.
3. Strong improvements conceal a weak performance
Bayern displayed for around 70 minutes the perhaps weakest performance under Guardiola since the second leg against Real Madrid. Bayern had a lot of possession, but in most phases of the game no real access to the game. Juve defended high in their 5-2-3 formation and so partly pushed up to a 3-4-3. Bayern had their problems with that and also with Juve’s man marking, because the build-up game lacked any structure. Alonso and Vidal were both positioned too deep and Alaba on the wing was rarely capable to produce good opening balls for the offense. Also Kimmich only rarely managed to get a pass through the holes of Juve’s first pressing line. Juventus played that very clever and moved back into their deep sitting defensive shape quickly, when their pressing was bypassed.
When Bayern was in the half of Juventus, it was the aim of Allegri team to keep Bayern as central as possible. For over 70 minutes Ribéry and Costa had hardly any access to the game, because they were always covered by Juve’s man marking. Juventus showed how to defend against Bayern in width and revealed that the team of Guardiola that night could find no significant solutions without their wing focus. That two crosses created the first two Bayern goals, is symbolic for the weak offensive performance by Bayern today.
The inaccuracies in the last third remain an issue for Bayern. David Alaba (11 of 15 passes in the attacking third), Douglas Costa (46/54) and Franck Ribéry (32/38) are the negative highlights. Many Juve counter-attacks were initiated because Guardiola’s team did not play the ball patiently and with the necessary accuracy in attack. Especially the two wingers lost their dribblings, played an inaccurate pass or were not focused enough in their counter-pressing. Franck Ribéry confirmed the impression that he is not at 100%, yet.
The improvements and the high morale of the team were outstanding. Led by Arturo Vidal and motivated by two goals shortly before the end of the 90 minutes, Bayern charged at Juventus and found their game. The eventual tiring of the Turin players of course played into the hand of Bayern. In extra time Bayern showed everything they lacked in the 90 minutes before. Quick and clever ball circulations form side to side and focus on the goal.
After the 2:2 equalizer one had the impression that there can only be one winner tonight: Bayern.
|FC Bayern – Juventus Turin 4:2 AET (0:2, 2:2)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Lahm, Kimmich, Benatia (46. Bernat), Alaba – Alonso (60. Coman) – Costa, Müller, Vidal, Ribéry (101. Thiago) – Lewandowski|
|Bench||Ulreich – Rafinha, Götze, Rode|
|Juventus Turin||Buffon – Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Evra, Alex Sandro – Cuadrado (89. Pereyra), Khedira (68. Sturaro), Hernanes, Pogba – Morata (72. Mandzukic)|
|Bench||Neto – Zaza, Asamoah, Rugani|
|Goals||0:1 Pogba (6.), 0:2 Cuadrado (28.), 1:2 Lewandowski (73.), 2:2 Müller (90.), 3:2 Thiago (108.), 4:2 Coman (110.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Kimmich, Vidal, Lewandowski, Thiago, Bernat / Khedira, Morata, Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Cuadrado, Pereyra, Sturaro|
|Attendance||70.000 (sold out)|