Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich
Final score: 1-1
In a game where United seemed to be doomed even before kickoff as they were drawn to play the already crowned Bundesliga Champions in the Champions League Quarter finals. Though many (including this writer) would have considered this game to be way out of United’s reach and would have bet on a Bayern blowout, United were able to prove the majority of people wrong and show the world that they were capable of competing at a high level.
As most Football fans know, United’s season this year has been a little bit of an underachieving one. In their game against Bayern, United’s defense for the first time this season looked professional. Although Bayern maintained a vast majority of possession against United, the reigning champions weren’t able to create anything with this possession. The first real chance of the game actually fell to United’s Danny Welbeck who was set up nicely by a good through ball from his striker counterpart Wayne Rooney. With a bit of luck and a slip from Jerome Boateng the ball ended up in Welbeck’s feet setting him up for a one on one with Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Welbeck’s shot was a weak chip that Neuer was able to save with his quick reactions. It was a chance that United should have taken much better.
The rest of the first half provided more of the same, Bayern possession with no really dangerous chances from either side. The second half of the game was to provide more of the entertainment neutral fans had been waiting for. After having put in Shinji Kagawa for Ryan Giggs, United looked a lot deadlier when moving forward. Kagawa who has had a few good games recently, showed up against Bayern by aiding United in moving the ball down the wings and up behind the striker.
It was United who struck first blood in the 58th minute when a beautifully placed Wayne Rooney cross was met brilliantly by the head of United skipper Nemanja Vidic and the ball sailed into the bottom left hand corner of the net. 1-0 United. Old Trafford went mental and produced a cheering sound that I hadn’t heard on television since Ferguson was in charge. Though the lead gave the United supporters and players a real sense of optimism, their lead only lasted eight minutes as United were met by the well oiled machine that is Bayern Munich.
As United fans watched the combinations between Robben, Rafinha, Mandzukic and finally Bastian Schweinsteiger. It was clear to see why this was the team that had won the Bundesliga seven weeks before their final league game of the season. A brilliant little through ball by Robben was hit by Rafinha into Mandzukic who expertly direct his header down into space for Schweinsteiger to smash the ball into the top left corner of the net. For one of the first times this season, United had done little wrong defensively; it was just the sheer strength of Bayern.
From here on out United fans watched nervously hoping for another United goal and praying to not concede again, seeing as a second away goal would surely make United’s task in Germany impossible. The rest of the second half was a mixture of Bayern chances and United half chances. When Bayern attacked they looked lethal and likely to score every time. United had chances of their own but they lacked the same vigor and the fear factor that Bayern brought with their attacks. The game ended on an extremely high profile decision by the referee. The decision was to send off Bayern’s goal scorer Bastian Schweinsteiger for his tackle on Rooney in the 90th minute. Though the sending off did little to affect the rest of game seeing as there was minimal time left, it does mean that Bayern will be without one of their world-class midfielders for the second leg in Munich. Whether Schweinsteiger deserved another yellow and was right to be sent off is up for debate. Although the red card gave a scare to the Bavarian giants, in the end the two clubs would have to settle for a draw.
Man of The Match: In my opinion the man of the match award would have to go to United’s captain and goal scorer Nemanja Vidic. Vidic was dominant in every aspect of the game. He blocked shot after shot and was very rarely caught out of position. He was a rock at the back and in my opinion was one of the reasons why the United’s defense functioned so well as a unit. In addition to his defensive contribution Vidic also scored a great-headed goal, which proved to be United’s only goal of the night. It’s a huge shame that Manchester United have to say goodbye to such a talented player when it still looks as if he has two to three good years left in him.
What did you think of the game? Leave your opinion in the comments below.