Bayern Munich Overwhelms Juventus 2–0 in Champions League
In the cold chill of Munich’s Allianz Arena, a rampant Bayern was too much for the “Old Lady” Juventus in Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal action. The German leaders took the advantage after only 26 seconds with a goal from young defender David Alaba and closed the match in the second half through Thomas Müller.
On both Bayern goals, it was Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who didn’t look good. First, the harmless shot from the young 21-year-old Alaba deflected and snuck in and on the second goal, Buffon parried the ball poorly.
“We knew it would be a tough match, definitely hoping for something better,” said Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini in an interview with Sky. “We are convinced that in the return we’ll play until the end … our dream continues.”
“The qualification is not yet done, the second leg will not be easy, because Juventus are a great team,” said Bayern winger Franck Ribery, the star of the evening.
“We are a great team and we showed it tonight. Now we just have to look forward.” Ribery dominated the game with his frenetic pace. He pressed on every ball and in every area of the field.
On the wings raged Müller and Ribery, supported by the tireless backs Philipp Lahm and Alaba. Mario Mandzukic, the lone striker for the Germans, sacrificed himself for the team. Effective up front, he provided the assist for the 2–0 lead. He never left the quiet Juventus defenders to set the game.
In midfield dominated the pair Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luis Gustavo, their precision canceling Juventus maestro Andrea Pirlo.
The director of Juventus failed to emerge from the opposition’s tight network, which hampered all trajectories and locked every offensive suggestion. Only fellow midfielder, Arturo Vidal, sometimes fought on par with the German mastiffs, engaging in battles of force.
Already cautioned, the Chilean will miss the return match in Turin. His companion Stephan Lichtsteiner, was annihilated by the force of the opponents, especially from the wing of Alaba and Ribery.
The Frenchman was a perpetual thorn in the side for the Juventus defense. Swift as an arrow he entered the area repeatedly with the same ease as a hot knife through butter.
After the worst possible start, Juventus raised their game and attacked and surprised the Germans somewhat. But after15 minutes, however, the German locomotive accelerated.
Toni Kroos, who from the beginning had followed like a shadow Pirlo, was injured and gave way to Arjen Robben.
Unlike Juventus, Bayern proves technically superior in ball possession and more capable of winning the individual battles. The combination of Muller and Ribery struck in the 32nd minute to set up Robben who somehow missed the short side of the net when hitting the net seemed far easier.
The first half ended with a visibly suffering Juventus. The Italians had nothing going on in front, where Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri were non-existent, and in the rear, where errors in the key channels triggered lethal counterattacks.
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In the second half Bayern did not let up and in the 63rd minute, they doubled their advantage. Buffon failed to hang onto a shot from Luis Gustavo from the edge of area. In fact he palmed it to Mandzukic who centered to Müller for the easy tap-in with the goal wide open.
A minute later, Juve manager Antonio Conte tested the attacking pair of Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco instead of inconclusive Matri and Quagliarella. Nothing significant came of the change.
Despite the tremendous effort put forth, the brilliance of the Bayern players was always impressive. The second leg will be played in Turin on April 10.
Juve will hope to overturn the result, which in the Champions League is not impossible. They will try and pull off what Barcelona did against their Italian rival AC Milan. After losing the first match on the road 2–0, they won 4–0 at home with a masterclass performance.
In other Champions League action on Tuesday, the current leaders in Spain Barcelona gave up a 94th minute goal to settle for a 2–2 tie with Ligue 1 leaders Paris St. Germain.