Tuesday's heavyweight clash between FC Bayern and Liverpool ended in a goalless draw. The two sides cancelled each other out, Bayern's experienced defending frustrating the hosts, and the German record champions were probably more pleased with the result as they sealed a good position for the return leg.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Thiago and Javi Martínez anchored a midfield featuring Serge Gnabry, James and Kingsley Coman, with hitman Robert Lewandowski up front. Franck Ribéry, Renato Sanches and Rafinha took over from Coman, James and Gnabry in the closing stages.
No goals in a tense first half
The full house at Anfield saw an enthralling battle of wits. The two sides felt each other out for a few minutes, but the game soon sprang to life. The first chance fell to Liverpool, Mohamed Salah connecting with a 50-yard pass but firing too close to Neuer. LFC's Joel Matip diverted a Gnabry cross towards his own goal but netminder Alisson was on hand. Bayern let the ball do the work, their slick passing neutralising Liverpool's early pressing at first.
Coman hit the side-netting before Salah glanced a header wide at the other end. The hosts enjoyed a spell in command towards the end of the first half. Naby Keita saw an effort blocked, Sadio Mané miscuing the rebound. Gnabry warmed Alisson's hands before Matip fired just wide, and the absorbing contest between two contrasting sides was goalless at half-time.
Strong defence frustrates Liverpool
Bayern upped the pace after the restart. Fabinho thwarted a good opportunity for Lewandowski with a fine tackle before Gnabry rifled over the bar. A fine Hummels challenge put an end to a solo run by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
James fired off target before Neuer tipped a Mané header around the post. Taken altogether Liverpool had the better chances but none of the goalkeepers was beaten on Tuesday, and match official Gianluca Rocchi blew for full-time
The German record champions will be back in action on Saturday, when they entertain Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga. Bayern and Liverpool will meet again on 13 March, and spurred on by their home fans, the men from Munich will be looking to seal a spot in the last eight.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson – Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita (Milner 76) – Salah, Firmino (Origi 77), Mané
Mignolet – Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Shaqiri
Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Thiago, Martínez – Gnabry (Rafinha 90+1), James (Sanches 88), Coman (Ribéry 81) - Lewandowski
Ulreich – Davies, Mai, Shabani
Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
Henderson / Kimmich