After a difficult first and a better second half, Bayern won 2-1 with a goal from Thiago in the end and thus have an excellent chance of making it to the semi-finals.
In case you missed it:
Somewhat surprisingly Jupp Heynckes left James Rodríguez out, and Arturo Vidal started instead. Furthermore, Arjen Robben was merely sitting on the bench, Thomas Müller moved to the right and Thiago was included. David Alaba had to be dropped by Heynckes due to injury, and instead Juan Bernat played from the beginning.
The Bavarians immediately started punchy. Among the loud cheers of the Sevilla fans for their team, Bayern tried to bring calm into the match with possession of the ball; a quite clear 4-3-3 formation emerged. After a good opening and a clean switch of sides, Bayern had their first corner kick followed by a chance from Hummels.
The first five minutes quickly showed how the two teams wanted to tackle the game. The Bavarians were keen on control, while Sevilla tried to switch over quickly. However, Sevilla was also able to gain space when a counterattack didn’t work with smooth passes.
Bayern’s orientation in ball possession was characterized by an asymmetry: Kimmich worked the right side completely alone, Müller pushed into the middle as a second striker, while Arturo Vidal stayed up in higher central zones. On the other hand, the individual players did not hold their positions so strictly, but changed their positions from time to time. Thiago regularly swung into the space next to Mats Hummels, at the same time Juan Bernat pushed forward, while Ribéry moved into the half space. But also a wider position of Ribéry was observed from time to time, Bernat then occupied the half space for a short period.
In a heated initial phase, Sevilla arrived in dangerous zones from time to time. The Bavarians did not always look well staggered after losing the ball, especially in the centre, but this did not result in anything worth mentioning for Sevilla, as Bayern was able to defend this well. In keeping with the heated mood, Ribéry once again let himself be provoked, but got away with yellow.
The first prolonged period of ball possession by Sevilla immediately resulted in a huge opportunity. Bayern did not manage to put pressure on N´Zonzi, and the ball came into the sixteenth via the left side. The rebound landed near Sarabia, but he missed the goal from seven meters. Bayern’s right-wing defensive side did not always look perfectly attuned even before that.
However, in the 20th minute Sevilla managed to take control of the game. In their 4-4-2, they were pressing the game structure of FC Bayern. Above all, the Bavarians had their problems with the changing height at the start. In this phase Jupp Heynckes’ team did not manage to bring the ball into the opponent’s half. Bayern also had problems developing the necessary penetrating power in Sevilla’s half. One of the reasons for this was the compact defense of Sevilla, but it was also due to Bayern’s suboptimal structure in possession of the ball.
In the 31st minute, the Bavarians again failed to prevent the cross on their right side. At the far post Bernat was once again at fault and Sarabia finished 1-0 for Sevilla.
5 minutes later the Bavarians equalized the score. James, who had come in for Vidal, who was injured, received the ball in the half space after a shift by Müller and took Ribéry with him. Ribéry’s shot was then deflected and goalkeeper Soria was unable to avert it.
After James’ substitution, the Colombian occupied the right half, where Bayern had previously been particularly lacking in presence. After the equaliser, the Bavarians first tried to calm the game down again. Furthermore, it was noticeable that Bayern lacked solutions in its attack. Mostly one tried to free Kimmich by shifting to the right, who could then cross. But Sevilla usually defended this very confidently.
At the break Heynckes introduced Rafinha for the weak Bernat, as was to be expected. Sevilla had the chance to take the lead again right at the beginning, but Martínez managed to save the day with a slide in the sixteenth. Sevilla’s opportunity was symbolic of Bayern’s problems this evening. Due to fewer options for Hummels, he played a risky pass between the lines, but the Bavarians did not occupy the corresponding position and therefore could not go into counter-pressing. After a long ball Boateng let himself be scorched and so Sevilla was given a chance.
Afterwards the game calmed down a bit for the first time. Sevilla were noticeably worn out, while Bayern tried to get Sevilla moving by longer periods of ball circulation, forcing them to make mistakes. Most of the time, however, Bayern’s attacks were carried out on the wings, far from Vincenzo Montella’s goal.
Sevilla’s problems with strength showed when Martínez’s chance came in the 65th minute; Bayern let the ball run low while Sevilla tried to clear the ball. However, they were not as successful as in the opening passage, and Bayern managed to free themselves over a longer ball and attack the free space. In the end, Müller found Martínez at the long post, but Soria reacted well.
Just two minutes later Thiago secured the lead for the Bavarians. After one of the countless shifts that Bayern used, Ribéry was able to cross unimpeded and found Thiago at the back post.
After the goal, Bayern got a bit more space, but didn’t manage to find any more chances. Sevilla’s final attack also looked quite meagre. Partly because Montella’s team no longer had the strength. So the game ended with 2:1 for Bayern without any further highlights.
3 things we noticed
1. Weak counter-pressing
Especially in the first half Sevilla regularly found themselves in dangerous areas, as Bayern were unable to gain access by counter-pressing. Sevilla was able to free itself accordingly and Hummels, Martínez and Boateng had to position themselves correctly again and again in order to intercept any passes.
A counter-pressing with holes is usually due to the fact that the structure in possession of the ball is not correct. In plain language this means that Bayern’s players were either too far apart when the ball was lost or that several players were positioned on the same line, which made a successful counter-pressing difficult. The Bavarians usually lost the ball in situations where they were too far apart. On the one hand they tried to pass forward quite early, on the other hand they were badly staggered to recapture the ball. In the second half, Bayern’s structure improved due to the arrival of James, which meant that the Bavarians were only vulnerable at the beginning of the second half.
2. Martínez’s Problems
This evening Martínez’s defensive strength was evident time and again, he managed to clear ahead of Ben Yedder at the last second with a strong slide. He was repeatedly left alone in the middle and could not prevent many counterattacks. All in all, however, he gives the team the necessary stability on the defensive.
However, his weaknesses were also evident time and again. Martínez does not play a role in possession of the ball and can also hardly provide any momentum. At the beginning he positioned himself between the two Sevilla strikers and served as a connection and passage station, where he helped the team the best. If Sevilla pressed higher, however, he did not manage to help in the build-up game. That was one of the reasons Thiago pushed between the central defenders, while Martínez positioned himself further forward. Also in the second half there was a lot going on with Thiago and James in the half-spaces. Martínez can only serve as a safeguard in these situations. That is perhaps why he doesn’t play a role in the Spanish national team.
3. Thiago, the Man for structure
Thiago was able to play against Sevilla right from the start and immediately showed his influence. The little Spaniard was very present and managed to counteract Bayern’s problems in the build-up game by his positioning. Thiago was particularly clever on the left side. His instinct for the correct positioning in particular is always remarkable. He is also one of the few players in the Bayern squad who almost always accepts the ball correctly and can thus put himself in advantageous positions. Another player with Thiago’s profile would not harm the Bavarians.
Rafinha is also to be praised, as he closed the left side in the second half not only on the defensive but also supported Ribéry well in the match.
|FC Sevilla – FC Bayern 1:2 (1:1)|
|FC Sevilla||Soria – Navas, Kjaer, Lenglet, Escudero – Pizarro, N’Zonzi – Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa (78. Ramirez) – Ben Yedder (80. Muriel)|
|Bench||Rico, Geis, Pareja, Nolito, Arana|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Bernat (46. Rafinha) – Martínez – Thiago, Vidal (36. James) – Müller, Ribéry (79. Robben) – Lewandowski|
|Bench||Starke, Wagner, Süle, Rudy|
|Goals||1:0 Sarabia (31,), 1:1 Navas (37./own goal), 1:2 Thiago (68.)|
|Yellow Cards||Correa / Ribéry, Bernat|
|Referee||Daniele Orsato (Italy)|