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Back Bayern Munich to score over 1.5 goals in the first half
Julian Nagelsmann’s side were poor last time out, but Villarreal could struggle to cope if Bayern make a fast start on home turf.
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Julian Nagelsmann did not pull any punches. “We deserved to lose,” the Bayern Munich boss told DAZN after his side’s 1-0 defeat by Villarreal last Wednesday:
We were not good today. In the first half, we lacked power in defense and had too few chances. The second half was a completely wild game. We gave up control because we were desperate to score, but we could have conceded two more.
It was an honest and accurate assessment. Bayern, the third-favorites to win the Champions League before the quarter-finals got under way, were second best at the Estadio de la Ceramica. Arnaut Danjuma put the home team ahead after just eight minutes and Villarreal had several opportunities to increase their aggregate advantage. The Yellow Submarine had the ball in the net a second time, only for the goal to be chalked off by VAR.
Bayern did not land a single shot on target in the first half. They were more of a threat after the interval, but – as Nagelsmann conceded – they were also more open defensively. It was not the sort of performance that suggested Bayern are ready to win the Champions League.
The club’s fans will hope it was an off-day, but it was not the first time in 2022 that the Bavarians have underwhelmed. Dropped points in meetings with Bochum, Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim will not prevent Bayern winning the Bundesliga title, but each game showed they can be vulnerable at times. A vast improvement will be necessary if Nagelsmann’s side are to turn this time around.
Before the first leg, Villarreal would no doubt have settled for a 1-0 win. After it, they were probably a little disappointed to hold such a slender lead at the midway point of the quarter-final.
Emery will be under no illusions about the difficulty of Tuesday’s return fixture. It is telling that, despite a one-goal deficit, Bayern remain the favorites to advance to the next round. Villarreal may come to regret Alfonso Pedraza’s miss in the 87th minute of the first leg.
Yet Emery’s side are in a better position than most people envisaged. Their victory last week was yet another brilliant night for the Spanish coach in continental competition. Excluding his time at Paris Saint-Germain, a club which has proved extremely hard to manage in recent years, Emery has won 21 consecutive two-legged knockout ties in Europe. He has won four Europa Leagues (three with Sevilla and one with Villarreal, last season) and reached another final.
The Spaniard thrives in knockout tournaments. His side are not even in the top six of La Liga and look set to miss out on next season’s Champions League unless they win this year’s edition. Before the first leg, Villarreal lost back-to-back league games against Cadiz and Levante, both of whom are fighting against relegation.
Yet in the Champions League, they were able to keep a clean sheet against a Bayern Munich side that had scored in 111 of its previous 112 outings in all competitions. Emery always seems to be more at home in the Champions League or Europa League than anywhere else.
Bayern almost lost 1-0 to Red Bull Salzburg in the away leg of their last 16-tie, but a late goal from Kingsley Coman spared their blushes in Austria. In the return leg Bayern ran riot: they were 4-0 up at half-time and went on to win 7-1.
Villarreal are a better team than Red Bull Salzburg and it is hard to imagine them shipping seven goals on Tuesday. Even so, they may struggle to halt a Bayern side that will come flying out of traps. Nagelsmann’s side have a remarkable home record this term: Bayern are averaging around three goals per league game at the Allianz Arena, and have scored 20 times in their four Champions League matches in front of their own fans.
Villarreal, by contrast, have lost each of their last three away matches in La Liga. They did beat Juventus on the road in the round of 16, but the Italian outfit are not in Bayern’s class right now.
Villarreal will have to strike the right balance between defense and counter-attack, but there is a distinct possibility of them being overwhelmed by a Bayern side that will play on the front foot from the first whistle. Back the home team to score at least twice in the opening 45 minutes.
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|Bayern Munich vs Villarreal Information|
|Teams||Bayern Munich vs Villarreal|
|Location||Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany|
|Time||Tuesday, 12 April 2022, 03.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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