Bayern Munich faced Manchester United at the Allianz Arena in a blockbuster clash on match-day one of the Champions League. The Germans were heavy favourites as many felt the Erik Ten Hag’s Men had it all to do. The away side tried to mount a comeback with a first goal for Rasmus Hojlund but a mixture of VAR controversy, Harry Kane and Matthys Tel made sure this did not happen. The English side were left reeling about what could have been.
Group-stage matches can often not live up to their potential but this blockbuster clash certainly did. Manchester United came into this after a humiliating defeat to Brighton at home and were not given much hope.
However, the three-time winners started off brightly and should have been ahead after just four minutes. The ball was played across the face of the goal and somehow Alphonso Davies got a vital touch ahead of Facundo Pellistri. Christian Eriksen followed up and his rebound was smartly saved.
After a good opening 25 minutes, the visitors were caught cold. Bayern hadn’t been their free-flowing selves. Leroy Sane was looking most likely out of anyone to do something and he did. A smart link-up play with Kane on the edge of the box resulted in the German letting fly from 20 yards out. What followed was a moment to forget for Andre Onana. At best, it was a routine stop, but the Cameroonian fumbled into his own net and it was 1-0. The hard start continues for United’s new keeper.Embed from Getty Images
It was bang bang. Just four minutes later, the six-time winners were at it again. A scintillating run from 20-year-old star Jamal Musiala had ended with Serge Gnabry doubling Bayern’s lead. A relatively quiet end to the half saw no change and the team from Manchester had it all to do.
The ‘Red Devils’ started the second half as they did the first. They got their reward this time. New Danish striker, Holjund fired a deflected shot into the bottom right corner and it was game on in the 49th minute. Bayern did not allow this to last and immediately went up the other end. Step in VAR. The technology had its first say in the game. What looked to be a harsh handball on Christian Eriksen was given and the referee overturned his original decision.Embed from Getty Images
Harry Kane despatched the penalty, giving Onana no chance, making that five in as many games for the Englishman. As soon as this went in, the German giants began to show their swagger. The following 30 minutes were dominated by the home side. Onana made a fine save to deny Kingsley Coman from making it 3-1.
Drama at the death
The game looked to be fizzling out with Bayern looking good value for the three points. Then, from absolutely nowhere the game sparked into life. Manchester United put together a good team move with Martial setting Casemiro up for an improvised finish. The Brazilian managed to score while falling to the floor and the deficit was halved with just two minutes of normal time to play. United pushed for an unlikely equaliser leaving themselves open on the counter.Embed from Getty Images
Thomas Muller nearly sealed the victory but his effort hit the post. The ball was then recycled and Mathys Tel fired a rocket into the roof of the net. You would think the drama was over but it wasn’t. The away side made it 4-3 after Casemiro headed in a Bruno Fernandes cross. Any hope was soon wiped away as the referee brought an end to a thrilling game.
What’s next for the two teams?
Despite the scoreline suggesting it was a close game, Thomas Tuchel will be happy to start their campaign with a win. They will be aiming to carry on their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga as they face VFL Bochum at home. A win is required as Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen are going toe to toe with the defending champions.
Erik Ten Hag faces a huge battle. With the media on his back and the pressure mounting, the Dutchman must rally his places. Positives such as Hojlund grabbing his first goal and scoring three goals away at the German giants can be taken from the game. However, nothing but a win away at Burnley will be enough to lessen the pressure. It is a huge game that needs to kickstart Manchester United’s season or fans will continue to wonder what is going wrong for Ten Hag.
Andre Onana came out voluntarily to speak to the press and took responsibility for the loss. United’s fans will be happy that a player has recognised his mistakes but will now demand the Cameroonian to back up his words with performances on the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
Bayern Munich sits pretty at the top of the table in group A and will be looking to extend this when they face FC Copenhagen away on the 3rd of October. Manchester United face Galatasaray away, which is never an easy place to go. A win will see them move off the foot of the table.