Bayern Munich were left to rue several missed chances and Thomas Muller’s penalty failure in the first half after Atletico Madrid pipped them to qualify for the Champions League final on away goal rule.
Atletico carried a 1-0 lead from the leg but knew Bayern Munich would come hard at them and that is exactly what happened. The Bavarians were relentless going forward and registered 33 efforts on goal.
On the half-hour mark, Xabi Alonso’s deflected shot brought the tie on level terms at 1-1. Javi Martinez was then fouled in the box and Muller stepped up to take the penalty kick, only to be denied by a brilliant save from Jan Oblak.
Bayern were then hit with typical Atletico sucker-punch when Antoine Griezmann broke free from Torres’ perfect through ball to score the crucial away goal. From there on, Bayern needed two goals to go ahead in the tie but could only manage one from a Robert Lewandowski’s headed effort on 74th minute.
From that point on, it was Atletico’s dogged approach which saw the game off with Oblak pulling off some incredible saves. In the end, Bayern fell short of their goal and were knocked out at the semifinal stage for second season in a row.
Following the incredible game at Allianz Arena last night, we take a look at the key talking points and things learned from Atletico’s progression to the Champions League final.
Atletico’s defiance is unmatched
When it comes to protecting a lead, there is no better team in Europe at the moment than Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone prides on not giving oppositions enough room to score goals. Although Bayern managed to score twice, Atletico ensured they had a upper hand n the tie and they progressed to the Champions League final.
Pep Guardiola failed with Bayern Munich
By all means Pep Guardiola was seen as the man to continue Bayern Munich’s European success after Jupp Heynckes led them to the treble in 2012-13. Since then Guardiola has tried and failed to reach Champions League final in each of his three seasons at Allianz Arena.
Given the squad he had and Bayern’s recent form, Guardiola’s tenure with Bayern will be deemed a failure as compared to his time in Barcelona.
Torres-Griezmann are one of Europe’s finest
When Fernando Torres received the ball on half-line, there was a degree of inevitability that he would find Antoine Griezmann with his through ball and the French striker will score the typical counter-attacking goal we have seen from Atletico all season.
Their partnership has been getting better this season and seeing their current form they have to be one of the finest striker pair in European football. Much of the credit must go to Simeone who somehow found a way to reinvent Torres after his horror spells with Chelsea and AC Milan.
Robben’s absence was evident
Frank Ribery delivered one of his best performances for Bayern in recent seasons, however, he was left to do all on his own. Arjen Robben’s absence was a telling one as Douglas Costa could not influence the game that much and it ended up being the key factor in Bayern’s semifinal defeat.
Can Atletico go all the way this time?
After their heartache in 2014, Atletico have got another shot at Champions League glory and regardless of their opponent, Simeone’s men will not repeat the same mistake. Their determination levels have gone higher since 2014 and in a way it seems destined for them to go on and complete the task which was left incomplete back in 2013-14 season.
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