Analysis: FC Bayern München – Atletico Madrid 2:1 (1:0)

Christopher Separator May 4, 2016

Despite an impressive performance, Bayern’s European journey has ended because of the away goals rule. Several scoring chances, including a penalty, couldn’t be converted. While Manuel Neuer managed to save a penalty himself, the Bavarians didn’t find a way to score the crucial third goal.

Formations FC Bayern - AtleticoThe starting formations – Bayern dominated space.

3 things we noticed:

1. Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso continues to be a man for the big moments.

In minute 31, Bayern’s pressure of the opening phase finally paid off. Alonso’s free kick from right outside the box was deflected in a deadly manner by Gimenez – the important lead for the home team.

At 34 years old, Alonso proves that he can still be the engine of a European top team. 12 of his 16 long balls were successful. His offensive-minded passes prevented the feared U-shaped pattern that the Bayern build-up has shown too often in recent weeks. Xabi Alonso tried to turn the game into a vertical one.

Furthermore, he was up to the task defensively. Atletico struggled to create anything, due to Bayern’s midfield dominance. That being said, he and Boateng made the wrong choice that led to the equalizer. Both attacked the ball carrier, the pressing wasn’t effective. The rest is history.

After the final whistle, Alonso could be seen sitting on the pitch by himself. It looked like he was aware of the opportunity that his team couldn’t take advantage of. He played an excellent match and proved the coach right for choosing him over Thiago.

2. Jérôme Boateng

It was the big question mark prior to the game: will Jerome Boateng be fit enough? The good news: he was. His key role in the Bayern game was visible from the first minute on. 9 of 14 creating passes found their target, the situation leading to the opening goal was created by a Boateng long ball. Eventual worries that he could be forced into difficult races for the ball against Torres and Griezmann turned out to be irrelevant. Boateng didn’t lose a single sprinting duel, he won 100% of his tackles.

The decisive tackle prior to the goal against, however, he didn’t make. After a misplaced long ball, he counter-pressed too late. It would’ve been smarter to fall back and look for a tactical foul instead. This one action turned into that one scoring chance for Atleti.

Still, the hope remains that Boateng will continue to be a key player for years to come.

3. Counter-pressing

Not even 45 seconds after the kickoff and Bayern had won their first tackle of the game. Countless direct and indirect ball-winning moves followed. Atletico never managed to really remove themselves from the pressure – they ended up with a passing accuracy of 57% and 28% possession, numbers that didn’t only have tactical reasons.

The counter-attacking team from Spain didn’t take a single shot from inside the box until the 75th minute, an incredible fact. Alonso, Vidal, furthermore Lahm and Alaba had several strong counter-pressing moments. Even Lewandowski, Ribery and Costa managed to stop Atleti’s attacks early. This effective counter-pressing was the key to getting into attacking situations against an Atletico that was temporarily lacking its defensive structure. Scoring chances, solid passing options and crosses caused many problems for the team from Spain.

When you combine both legs, the team of Diego Simeone took only 18 shots, while Bayern managed to take 53 shots. A huge and impressive difference. But in football it’s not always enough.

FC Bayern Neuer – Lahm, Boateng, Martínez, Alaba – Alonso – Costa (73. Coman), Müller, Vidal, Ribéry – Lewandowski
Subs Ulreich – Tasci, Thiago, Rafinha, Götze, Kimmich
Atlético Madrid Oblak – Juanfran, Godin, Giménez, Filipe Luis – Saúl, Gabi, Augusto (46. Carrasco), Koke (90.+3 Savic) – Torres, Griezmann (82. Partey)
Goals 1:0 Alonso (31.), 1:1 Griezmann (54.), 2:1 Lewandowski (74.)
Cards Yellow: Vidal / Giménez
Referee Cüneyt Cakir (Turkey)
Attendance 70.000 (sold out)

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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