Pep Guardiola almost got everything right tactically on the night and yet ended up losing the tie, thanks to one stroke of genius by Diego Simeone. Atletico Madrid never looked at their steely best at the back and could’ve lost the tie by half-time, but Muller and Simeone had other plans.
How they started
Bayern made 3 changes to the lineup that started and lost the first leg. Thomas Muller came in for Thiago
Atletico Madrid knew they need to either score or avoid defeat to make it to the San Siro final, later this month, and made only one change to their winning lineup last week. Diego Godin was back to his full fitness and displaced Stefan Savic from the starting XI. With
Pep does everything right, Muller not so much
Bayern Munich struck all the right notes in the first half. High-tempo football, quick transitions, moving the ball wide on every possible
(Vidal roaming around freely)
But even more than Muller, it was Arturo Vidal whose license to roam free caused Atletico a lot of trouble. With
(Vidal (top) and Xabi Alonso (bottom) passing)
The substitution that turned the tie on its head
Diego Simeone is an elite coach and if you were looking for any testament, his second half substitution to bring on Yannick Carrasco might be the perfect fit. The Belgian came on for Augusto Fernandez and Atletico changed to a 4-3-3, or rather a 4-5-1, to add more bodies to the middle of the pitch--partly to counter the increasing threat of Frank Ribery, but mostly so that the Atletico midfield does not get outnumbered by Vidal, Xabi and at times Muller. The change in formation saw Saul Niguez drop deepest in a 3-man midfield, with Koke and Gabi flanking and supporting the Spanish international.
(Saul Niguez touches in the first half (top) and second half (bottom)
The move immediately paid dividends for the Spanish club, who took the lead after Torres put Griezmann through on goal. But that wasn’t all there was, the change
The first response by Guardiola was to push Vidal higher up the pitch, almost shadowing Lewandowski, and even running beyond him at every possibility. Vidal’s movement was reminiscent of a role perfected by Frank Lampard at Chelsea, and even by Vidal himself at Juventus.
By now the Bayern formation was almost a 2-3-3-2 with only Martinez and Boateng sitting in the
When Bayern’s summer recruit was justifiably substituted by Kingsley Coman, Atletico had a new beast to deal with. Coman unlike
Coman would later himself get a glorious chance to put Bayern 3-1 up, but his shot flew wide. Despite the missed chance, Coman’s impact did ruffle more than a few Atletico feathers, but Simeone’s men weathered the storm and came out on the top at the end of it.
(Coman (top) and Costa (bottom) touches in the match)
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