Fighting spirit and passion unrewarded
One goal! FC Bayern needed just one more goal to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. In the quarter-final second leg, the Munich side beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 but were still eliminated on away goals after losing 3-2 at the Allianz Arena the previous week. "The disappointment is great. We put a lot of heart into it but scored one goal too few," Thomas Müller said shortly after the final whistle.
Bayern had set their sights high in Paris, and that was evident from the start. Up front, the defending champions wanted to put PSG under pressure and repeatedly won the ball back. In the first half, however, there was a lack of goal threat. "We didn't have that much pressure on the goal in the early stages," Müller admitted. However, Hansi Flick's team's indefatigable effort earned them a slice of luck when Neymar hit the woodwork twice in quick succession (37' and 39') and was denied several times by Manuel Neuer (9', 27' and 34').
Goal willed into the net gives cause for hope
FCB were not discouraged by these chances, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (40') forced in the opener before the break, a goal of pure persistence. "Then we had the situation we wanted. In the second half, our effort and commitment were superb, but the game was very disjointed. We never really got into a phase of continued pressure," Müller continued. "PSG defended well and we weren't quite as resolute. We lacked that final punch in front of goal," Flick said, summing it up.
Munich ran up again and again but were unable to prise apart the defence. Paris were dangerous on the break but no distance was too far for the Bavarians, backpedalling again and again to stifle counters and keep their hopes alive.
First leg the key
"We saw what quality Paris have up front. However, I must still pay my team a compliment even though we're leaving empty-handed. They were very focused and gave everything," said Flick, explaining: "The decisive factor was that Paris' ruthlessness in the first leg was superior to ours. Nevertheless, I would like to emphasise again that my team tried everything over both games, fought and showed great mentality."
"The 1-0 is deserved, but the result last week was not good. It should have been better. It's annoying," Manuel Neuer put his disappointment into words. Thus, the dream of defending the title ended in the quarter-finals. Based on their performance last week and on Tuesday evening in Paris, Bayern can definitely leave the competition with their heads held high. Commitment, will and enthusiasm were clearly evident across the 180 minutes and will be the basis to go for it again next year.
The match report: