But after the return matches on Tuesday evening, they were warned. The alleged walk-over AS Rome overcame a 4:1 first leg defeat to FC Barcelona and made it into the last four.
It was clear for Bayern that FC Sevilla should not be underestimated either. And so Heynckes offered the best possible team at the moment.
In case you missed it
In front of Ulreich Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels and Rafinha made up the back four. Alaba was not yet in the squad after his back injury. In midfield, Heynckes chose Martínez, James and Müller this time.
Although Vidal was missing and the tandem Thiago-James worked well in the first leg, the coach decided against it again. Ribéry, Robben and Lewandowski completed Jupp’s 4-1-4-1.
Six players were burdened with yellow cards before the game: Kimmich, Lewandowski, Boateng, Ribéry, Tolisso and Rudy.
Sevilla, on the other hand, had to do without Kjaer, who was replaced by Mercado. But the dynamic Banega returned to the first XI. Before that match Correa was questionable, but the Argentinian could play. So Vincenzo Montella was almost able to line up his best team. The flexible 4-4-2 from the first leg was expected.
And that’s what happened. Sevilla began with high pressure to put the Bavarians under pressure as early as possible. But they didn’t let themselves be impressed at first, and played around the first pressing line for the first time in the third minute. James set up Lewandowski, who could only be stopped by Mercado by a foul.
Despite the concentrated initial phase, there was also room for the guests to counterattack. In the 12th minute they came into their first dangerous shoting position, but the ball almost flew out of the stadium.
After a few fouls, the Bavarians lost some of their rhythm. Sevilla did not take advantage of the second good opportunity that arose (16th). It was now for a short time an open exchange of blows between two teams, which immediately disturbed each other. But this inevitably led to them neutralizing each other in the long run.
After a little over 30 minutes, Bayern had only six shots, only one of which resulted from a dangerous position in the penalty area. Moreover, there was only a hint of danger when someone pulled the trigger from distance. Sevilla also had a good finish, and two, three half chances. However, not much happened in the middle of the first half.
The speed should only increase again shortly before the break. Robben (40.) and Müller (42.) did not manage to successfully complete the last action after promising counter-attacks.
The game continued very lively after the break. Lewandowski (49th) and Ribéry (51st) missed the lead, as did Correa on the other side, who only hit the crossbar after a header (59th).
Again and again, the Bavarians did not manage to use their counter attacking opportunities. The lack of coordination between Robben and Lewandowski in particular was a recurring reason for poor closing positions. After about 70 minutes, Robben shot from a sharp angle instead of looking for the Pole in the centre. Lewandowski clearly showed his team-mate how he felt about it.0
Jupp Heynckes substituted Sandro Wagner for the striker in the 77th minute. He thus resolved this dispute – consciously or unconsciously. The final phase of the game was characterized by uncertainty. Although the Bavarians often enough had the situation under control, a Sevilla lead was not completely unlikely.
And yet they did not manage in time to punish Bayern for their unfocused phases. They, in turn, retreated a bit in order to counter from a more compact position. The ugly end was set by Correa with an incredibly hard foul against Javi Martínez. Red was almost not enough.
Three things we noticed
1. Good tackles don’t win you games
After losing the ball, the Bavarians immediately followed suit. Often Hummels, Boateng and Martínez could tackle in the last second. The counter-pressing also took effect again and again at decisive moments. Against the ball, the team has largely developed to make it difficult for the opponent to score goals.
And yet there are these phases in which all this temporarily sinks into chaos. Then Martínez wanders alone between midfield and defense, trying to save what can be saved. Then Hummels must come out and save spectacularly. Then, for once, Boateng unfolds his slide tackle, which he usually hates so much. After all, the Bavarians have these qualities. And if necessary, they could also rely on a strong Ulreich.
Nevertheless, it is these phases that destroy an otherwise sovereign performance to some extent. Sevilla had at least at four occasions in the first half alone opportunities to create big chance. That they were not really successful once was pure luck.
Such situations must not happen to the Bavarians in the semi-finals. Then the quality of the opponent is different again. Teams like Liverpool are just waiting for phases like this to turn two chances into three goals. Heynckes and the team of coaches are well advised to work on the defensive transitions in the next few weeks.
This is exactly when the distances are often incorrect. It would also help to minimize the turnovers. Since these are not lacking, however, both construction sites will probably be the focus of attention in the near future.
2. Whats missing? A structurer and a frenchman!
What if ? This question is probably asked more frequently in Munich than many people think with these results. It’s working, but somehow the last step is missing. The team also performed well against Sevilla, but not very well. This was mainly due to two to three positions that are currently not optimally occupied and thus lead to the construction sites mentioned.
Many Bavarian fans will hate to read this, but Martínez is not a maestro. The Spaniard wins duels, fills holes and plays especially against the ball as well in Heynckes’ system as probably no other six in the whole world. Against Sevilla he won almost all of his duels in the air and on the ground. In counter-pressing Martínez even conquered four balls. That’s what makes him so valuable to Heynckes, and this added value is likely to become even clearer when his opponent in the semi-final is Real Madrid, for example.
But their opponents could also be Liverpool or AS Rome. Then the Bavarians – like against Sevilla – have to play most of the game themselves. Then Javi Martínez on the six is not the very best option that FC Bayern could have. Probably still the best option in the squad, but one with many disadvantages. Thus, the Spaniard repeatedly failed to shape the structure of the Bayern team.
Martínez often plays lateral passes, and likes to be put under pressure. He is not as big an antibody in ball possession as Arturo Vidal sometimes is, but he is also not effective enough. In total, Martínez only played 37 passes as a central midfielder (31 successfully). Especially against alleged outsiders, the Bavarians need a structurer, a ball distributor – someone who can dictate the pace like Xabi Alonso or Bastian Schweinsteiger. Such a player is sorely missed by the Bavarians at the moment. James Rodríguez is also unable to give Martínez decisive support in this task. Heynckes already missed several occasions to try out Thiago and James together in front of Martínez.
And so it often goes directly to the outer lane, where the next small problem area is. Yes, Franck Ribéry was also very active against Sevilla. He’s still good at times. This has been shown several times. But the Frenchman simply cannot get a grip on his mistakes and lack of concentration either.
On the other hand, Arjen Robben is someone who is increasingly losing his dominance. The Dutchman was also more active than before, but the result was not much productive. Robben had constant adjustment problems with Lewandowski in particular. A problem that seemed to have long since been resolved, but which has returned several times in recent weeks.
To avoid misunderstandings: this should not be understood as harsh criticism of “Robbery”. Both tried hard, had good actions now and then, and animated the game in some phases. And yet in the end it is only enough to have made a good game. Not a very good one. The influence was too inconsistent and prone to errors.
Another Frenchman is sorely missed in Munich. Coman was well on his way to solving these little problems. Robben and Ribéry were also stronger with him. But his injury hit the Bavarians hard. In the attacking third, the team is missing the last, decisive step. For this reason, the following question must be asked in Munich for the time being: What if?
3. The seventh semi-final in nine years
Despite all the criticism, it must also be said that it is complaining at a high level. Even if these construction sites have to be closed down when it comes to the very big games, the positive side must not be swept under the carpet.
Even if everything doesn’t always work perfectly, mentality and attitude are right. This team can be expected to make a decisive leap in the next round. Perhaps it is also a big advantage for FC Bayern that they have never reached their limits or have never had to.
An increase could be seen in the course of the second half of the season. Offensive play, for example, is becoming increasingly fluid and flexible. The rhythm changes have also become a weapon under Heynckes. Of course, the Bavarians did not have a big draw in the Champions League so far, but they were not given anything for free against Besiktas and Sevilla either.
Especially the alleged underdogs proved in this year’s quarter finals that they can annoy the big teams. For this reason alone, the largely concentrated performance of the Bavarians cannot be reduced. They have reached a Champions League semi-final for the seventh time since the 2009/2010 season and are once again at the top of Europe. The club and its fans can be proud of this. How much is still possible depends on how quickly the Bavarians can close their small construction sites.
|FC Bayern – FC Sevilla 0:0 (0:0)|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Kimmich, J. Boateng, Hummels, Rafinha (87. Süle) – Javi Martinez – James – Robben, T. Müller, F. Ribery (71. Thiago) – Lewandowski (77. Wagner)|
|Bench||Starke – Juan Bernat, Rudy, Tolisso|
|FC Sevilla||Soria – Jesus Navas, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero – N’Zonzi, Banega – Sarabia (70. Sandro Ramirez), Vazquez (81. Nolito), Correa – Ben Yedder (68. Muriel)|
|Bench||Sergio Rico – Arana, Daniel Carrico, Pizarro||Goals||–|
|Yellow Cards||Mercado, N’Zonzi, Banega|
|Referee||William Collum (Scotland)|