The Old Lady outfoxed by younger model

Bayern Munich are fast becoming the bridesmaids of the Champions League. Their history proves they know exactly what's involved with going up the aisle, but saying, "I do" at the end of it is a different matter.

They said the weekend was an after thought but 27 seconds into the game and Bayern looked as if they hadn't stopped playing. A poor clearance from Andrea Pirlo found its way to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who in turn passed to his Austrian left back. David Alaba then unleashed a bamboozling, slightly deflected 35-yard effort to give the home side the lead. Gigi was distraught. Bayern were jubilant. Premature confetti?

As if they hadn't conceded, Juventus took charge of the ball but efforts from Pirlo and Arturo Vidal were nothing but poor imitations of Alaba's opening minute rocket. Toni Kroos pulled up and his discomfort allowed the highly motivated Arjen Robben to strut his stuff. Strut he did, with an air of confidence that suggests he knows he has done enough to stay after this campaign. A good, low save from Buffon denied him supporting that theory with a goal moments later.

Gradually that Juventus comfort disappeared as the home side attacked aggressively. Mario Mandzukic's season gets better and better. His work ethic was fantastic and his attacking slide tackle 20 minutes in allowed Franck Ribery a run at goal. Juventus defended well again though, denying Bayern that two-goal cushion.

Leader Buffon couldn't be heard. Pirlo's aim was just short of his immaculate best. It was Bayern's leaders who were loudest and the reasons for which were all too evident. Arturo Vidal scythed down Ribery to the fury of the Munich crowd, Schweinsteiger's free kick nearly proved the perfect anecdote. The Italian champions were struggling to get out of their own half. Taking notes Jogi?

Thomas Mueller's persistent drifting right put Robben centre stage for a deserved second. The spotlight skewed his angles and Juventus breathed again. They could afford to because they were still very much in the game. Alaba had started the party but it was as if the music had come to an end. Their composure in front of goal had become the elephant in the room.

Mark Clattenburg was under some real pressure. The game was increasing in tension as the Italians flew into the challenge and Bayern responded in due course. Munich was becoming a coliseum and the thumb was beginning to turn downwards. In a rare roam forward, Matri headed narrowly over from a Pirlo corner. For all of the fuss surrounding Clattenburg's first half, Bayern should have added to their solitary goal. All part of the Antonio Conte master plan? Possibly. One cheer doesn't put the ring on the finger.

Juve were out early. There was work to be done. Buffon started it with another fine save from a Mandzukic strike from the angle. Ten minutes later and he was back saving Juventus on another night in Europe, diving to his left to parry Alaba's low free kick. There was an underlying feeling that to take a true lead to Turin, Bayern needed another goal. Their dominance certainly warranted one although obviously, the same couldn't be said for their composure in front of goal.

The game turned into a descriptive passage in a chapter. There were hints as to where the story might go next but whether it would be a happy ending was yet to be seen. Then the familiar cheering sound returned and it looked like the union might be back on. Buffon parried Luiz Gustavo's low, curling effort but this time, the ball fell to Mandzukic. Bayern's number nine was on hand to square the ball to Mueller who tapped into the empty net to score the deserved second.

Mandzukic had been rewarded with an assist and the scoreline finally looked comfortable for Heynckes' men. Juventus roamed, Neuer twice said no. It set the tone for Bayern's performance in the second half as well. For all of Juventus' possession, the home side looked as stable in defence as they had done all season.

Unlike their last European evening, Bayern didn't have to contend with any late drama from their visitors. In fact, it was Bayern who were causing all the drama and had Mueller kept his shot down, the score might have been even more handsome.

Bayern handed Juventus their first Champions League defeat of the season and although the tie isn't over, there's still every reason to pack their bags and do their hair. They already know the venue.

Bayern Munich: Neuer - Lahm, van Buyten, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Gustavo - Mueller, Kroos (16' Robben), Ribery (90+3' Shaqiri) - Mandzukic (90+1' Gomez)

Juventus: Buffon - Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini - Lichtsteiner ,Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Peluso (75' Pogba) - Matri (65' Vucinic), Quagliarella (65' Giovinco)

Goals: 1-0 Alaba (1'), 2-0 Mueller (63')

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 68,000

German Engineering Jobs
Write a comment ...
Post comment