A Night to Remember: Manchester United vs Bayern Munich in the Champions League
The Enthralling Encounter
The echoes of the Champions League anthem had barely faded when the Allianz Arena was treated to a spectacle. Bayern Munich, with their enviable legacy, took on Manchester United, the pride of English football, in a night that witnessed seven goals hit the back of the net.
Manchester United might have felt the weight of the occasion as Bayern Munich eventually clinched victory in the Group A curtain raiser.
The Rollercoaster Begins
It was the German side’s Leroy Sane who, courtesy of an oversight by Andre Onana, drew first blood. Not long after, Serge Gnabry added another, amplifying the home crowd’s ecstasy. Rasmus Hojlund, however, found his name on the scoresheet for the Red Devils early in the second half, offering a glimmer of hope for the visitors. But Harry Kane’s fifth for Bayern seemed to quash those dreams.
United’s Casemiro emerged as a beacon of hope, taking the score to 3-2, only for Mathys Tel to reinforce Bayern’s dominance, restoring the two-goal gap. With time slipping away, Casemiro displayed incredible resilience, netting a second to make it 4-3. But alas, time wasn’t on United’s side.
A Tale of Two Halves
In the game’s infancy, Christian Eriksen tested Sven Ulreich with a tantalising shot, suggesting United’s readiness for the contest. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford, with a low-driven attempt, kept the German goalkeeper on his toes.
But, as the story often goes, Bayern found their groove. A seemingly innocuous interaction between Sane and Kane culminated in the first goal, more due to Onana’s misjudgement than Sane’s brilliance.
The momentum clearly shifted. Gnabry’s goal bore testimony to Jamal Musiala’s talent. Leaving Diogo Dalot in his wake, he expertly found Gnabry who executed the finish with aplomb.
Hojlund’s goal, however scrappy, signalled United’s refusal to bow down. Yet, a cloud of controversy hung in the air when Kane got his goal, thanks to a VAR-aided penalty decision involving Eriksen.
Bayern’s sheer class continued to threaten. Sane, Musiala, and Kane displayed footballing prowess that, at times, seemed otherworldly. United’s Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro did breathe life into their side, but Tel’s strike was the ultimate dampener. And as the game neared its conclusion, Casemiro’s last-minute effort was just that – too late.
- Sven Ulreich (6/10) – Consistent, though Hojlund’s goal may leave a bittersweet aftertaste.
- Defenders: Laimer’s struggles (6/10), Upamecano’s astuteness (8/10), Kim’s assuredness (7/10), and Davies’ dominance (8/10) combined for a solid backline.
- Midfielders: Kimmich (7/10) and Goretzka (7/10) took a while to warm up but were imperious thereafter.
- Forwards: Sane’s pace (8/10), Musiala’s creativity (9/10), Gnabry’s precision (7/10), and Kane’s versatility (8/10) were the cynosure.
- Andre Onana (6/10) – A mixed bag; heroics marred by that early error.
- Defenders: Dalot (5/10) looked shaky, Lindelof (5/10) and Martinez (5/10) were off-beat, while Reguilon (7/10) played with intent.
- Midfielders: Casemiro (7/10) showcased grit, Eriksen (5/10) faded, and Pellistri (5/10) seemed trapped.
- Forwards: Fernandes (6/10) tried rallying his troops, Rashford (6/10) showed flashes, while Hojlund (6/10) made his mark.
Managerial Insight: Erik ten Hag’s decision to start the second half early was notable, but he’ll rue the defensive lapses. His team can dazzle upfront but vulnerability at the back remains a concern.
Star of the Show: Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich) – A maestro in action.