Villarreal showed tonight that their ceiling in this Champions League is not the quarterfinals. Or at least it is in a position to fight to reach the semifinals for the second time in its history after defeating (1-0) in a La Cerámica stadium given over to an entire Bayern Munich that had gone 22 straight games away from home without losing in Europe.
The last defeat of the Bavarian giant in the Champions League went back to September 2017, when PSG, led by Unai Emery, defeated him 3-0. Today the Gipuzkoan again stopped a rival who was facing the tie as a favorite and now he will have to come back in Munich.
Danjuma marks after great collective action
Emery opted for a more physical and experienced midfield with the entry of Francis Coquelin and Yeremy Pino and the coach’s aim of shutting down Bayern’s passing lanes was aided by Villarreal’s swift goal.
It was in the 8th minute when a great collective action at the first touch led to the 1-0. Gerard Moreno, from the right wing, put a deep ball to Giovani Lo Celso, whose cross from the by-line was finished off in the first instance by Dani Parejo and Arnaut Danjuma appeared to deflect into the net against the misplaced Manuel Neuer.
With the score in their favour, Villarreal defended perfectly and, with a very committed Giovani Lo Celso, did not concede any gaps to a Bayern that felt uncomfortable to the point that Robert Lewandowski barely entered the game.
In their few arrivals, on the other hand, Villarreal brought danger thanks to the mobility of Gerard Moreno and Danjuma. Thus, shortly before the break, the VAR annulled the 2-0 in a center shot by Coquelin for starting offside after receiving from Dani Parejo.
Exciting second part
In the second half the match changed completely. Bayern came out decisively, gave a sense of danger from the first moment and prowled the area. But Villarreal did not shrink, they continued to defend with intensity and did not neglect the attack. The occasions followed one another although the clearest were of the ‘groguets’.
In the 53rd minute, Bayern allowed Gerard Moreno to control, who unleashed a left-footed shot from the edge of the box that repelled the post. And, in minute 62, Neuer played with fire when he went out to the center circle and handed the pass to Gerard Moreno, who tried to score with a shot from the midfield line at an empty goal and the ball, after bouncing on the grass, went out for very little.
No word on Lewandowski
Lewandowski hardly appeared but Serge Gnabry, with a cross shot that Thomas Müller missed by millimeters, Alphonso Davies, who in his reappearance after three months out tested a safe Gerónimo Rulli, and Kingsley Coman, whom a providential Pau Torres avoided scoring, they put their hearts in a fist to the ‘grogueta’ fans.
Villarreal completed a great game, adapting at all times to the circumstances to stand up to a Bayern team, and for now they are making their fans dream of completing one of the greatest feats in their history in Munich.