Misfiring Mane Headlines Bayern’s Woes Ahead Of Leverkusen Clash

Munich’s Sadio Mane (l) in action against Augsburg’s Andre Hahn (r). Photo: Tom Weller/dpa


Bayern Munich’s history of success in German football can often see the term “crisis” thrown around the moment points are dropped, but with the team sitting fifth in the Bundesliga after seven games, there is little doubt all is not well.

Bayern host Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night winless since mid-August, an unfamiliar position for a club which is vying for 11 titles in a row.

Bayern’s struggles are mirrored by those of the misfiring Sadio Mane, with the summer arrival goalless in five matches after scoring five times in his opening six games.

Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic has backed the summer arrival to rekindle his early season form, saying the former Liverpool striker “needs a bit of time to get used to the Bundesliga”.

“I know what it’s like to arrive as a newcomer in a team, in another country, another city, a slightly different football culture,” Salihamidzic, who moved from his native Bosnia to play for Hamburg as a 15-year-old, told Germany’s Sportbild.

“Sadio is in this process, everything will soon be more familiar to him and we will soon see that on the pitch.”

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Bayern president Herbert Hainer promised on Wednesday “we’ll see a whole different team on Friday – and a winning team too”, saying his side “will step on the gas” against the visiting Leverkusen.

Munich’s opponents on Friday are also going through a rough patch, with the visitors having won just one from seven to start the season to sit in 15th alongside an early German Cup exit.

Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann hailed as a potential 10-year coach at the club even before winning the Bundesliga title last year, is going through the toughest time, overseeing Bayern’s longest winless run in more than two decades.

Never a good omen, Salihamidzic told the media on Wednesday that Nagelsmann “is under no internal pressure at all” at the club despite the team sitting five points behind leaders Union Berlin.

However, the looming presence of the suddenly jobless Thomas Tuchel – born just an hour away in the Bavarian town of Kulmbach – will give the trigger-happy Munich hierarchy plenty to think about.

One to watch: Urs Fischer (Union Berlin)

Typical of the Swiss coach’s understated nature, Fischer extended his contract with Union Berlin on Wednesday to limited fanfare.

Fischer, who extended for an undisclosed period alongside assistant coach Markus Hoffmann, took over Union in the summer of 2018, with the never-promoted club sitting in the middle of the second division.

Fischer, who won the Swiss league twice and the cup once with Basel, took Union to the first division in his first season in charge, before guiding them to 11th, seventh and fifth in subsequent top-flight seasons.

After seven matchdays, Union currently sit first in the Bundesliga table.

“What we have been able to experience together over the last few years is incredible,” said Fischer.

“I find it hard to put into words. As I have often said, I feel very much at home at Union.”

Union Berlin play away at Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon.

Key stats

Three in four – Bayern Munich have only won three points from their last four games – the first time that has happened in 21 years.

Zero – The amount of German titles won by Bayer Leverkusen in their history. They’ve been second on five occasions (1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02, 2010–11) and also lost the 2002 Champions League final to Real Madrid.

19 March, 2022 – The last time top-of-the-table Union Berlin lost a Bundesliga match, going down 4-0 away at Bayern Munich. They are the only unbeaten side in this year’s Bundesliga.

Bundesliga Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)


Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen (1830)


Freiburg v Mainz, Cologne v Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg v Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt v Union Berlin, RB Leipzig v Bochum, Werder Bremen v Borussia Mönchengladbach (1630)


Hertha Berlin v Hoffenheim (1530), Schalke v Augsburg (1730)


Erling Haaland’s Goal Sees Man City Seal Victory Over Bayern Munich

Manchester City’s players celebrate after Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland (3rd L) scored a goal during the international friendly match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Munich at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on July 23, 2022. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP)



Erling Haaland launched his Manchester City tenure with a goal as Pep Guardiola’s men beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in a weather-disrupted friendly at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin on Saturday.

Two delays because of lightning in the area — one before kickoff and one in the first half — saw the contest shortened to 80 minutes.

It was plenty of time for City’s new $61 million striker Haaland to make an impression in his first appearance after Guardiola declared him over the injury “niggles” that kept him sidelined during City’s 2-1 victory over Mexico’s Club America in Houston on Wednesday.

Manchester City had threatened twice before a close-range strike by Bayern’s Serge Gnabry’s was disallowed by a narrow offside call in the seventh minute.

Five minutes later Haaland struck. After Riyad Mahrez’s free kick was blocked Kevin De Bruyne managed to corral the ball and slip a pass-through for Jack Grealish, who whipped it across to Haaland to connect from close range.

Frustratingly, another round of electrical storms brought proceedings to a halt, with players exiting the field and the near-sellout crowd of 78,128 at the iconic home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers instructed to seek shelter in the concourses.

The start of the match had already been delayed almost 20 minutes because of dangerous weather conditions.

The disruptions didn’t dampen the festive atmosphere for the first professional soccer match ever held at Lambeau, with a few hardy fans even braving the pounding rain and risk of lighting to remain in their seats during the stoppage.

Play resumed with 27 minutes left to complete a 40-minute first half and Haaland quickly energized City fans in attendance, bursting through behind the Bayern defence.

But before he could unleash a shot a charging Dayot Upercampo booted the ball away.

Although Manchester City controlled the pace, Bayern had a golden opportunity in the 38th minute when a cross from the right found Alphonso Davies at the far post, but his pass across the goal face didn’t quite make it to Gnabry.

A minute later Haaland almost made it 2-0, but his left-footed shot from inside the area was disallowed for offside.

Haaland departed after 40 minutes of action, giving way to newly signed striker Julian Alvarez who nearly doubled the score in the 43rd.

Despite a stream of substitutions in the second half, tension remained high between the Premier League and Bundesliga champions until the end of the truncated contest as Bayern — who opened their brief tour with a 6-2 drubbing of Wayne Rooney’s DC United, sought in vain for an equalizer.

Both clubs were flying home after the match, with Manchester City due to take on Liverpool in the Community Shield next Saturday, when Bayern face RB Leipzig in the SuperCup final.

Sadio Mane Signs Three-Year Contract With Bayern Munich

Photo Credit; Bayern Munich


FC Bayern have confirmed the signing of Sadio Mané from Liverpool. The 30-year-old attacker has agreed on a contract with the German record champions until 30 June 2025.

Herbert Hainer, FC Bayern president disclosed this on Wednesday  “Sadio Mané is a global star, who underlines the appeal of FC Bayern and will increase the attractiveness of the Bundesliga as a whole.”

“Fans come to the stadiums to see such players. It’s great that our board led by Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidžić have managed to sign a player like Sadio Mané for FC Bayern.”

The Senegalese expressed his elation at arriving at a club he had long admired

“I’m really happy to finally be at FC Bayern in Munich. We spoke a lot and I felt a big interest from this great club right from the beginning, so for me, there were no doubts” Mnae said.

“It’s the right time for this challenge. I want to achieve a lot with this club, in Europe too. During my time in Salzburg, I watched a lot of Bayern games – I really like this club!”

Photo Credit” Bayern Munich


In 2016 Mane signed for Liverpool, with whom he won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019.

He also played a leading role in the English giants’ long-awaited Premier League title in 2020. Last season Mané collected the EFL Cup and FA Cup, as well as being a runner-up in the Champions League and Premier League.

The forward made a total of 269 competitive appearances for the Reds, scoring 120 goals.

Mane Poses In Bayern Shirt During Munich Medical Check

Sadio Mane posed in a Bayern Munich shirt to sign autographs on June 21, 2022.
Sadio Mane posed in a Bayern Munich shirt to sign autographs on June 21, 2022.


Sadio Mane signed autographs wearing a Bayern Munich shirt Tuesday after flying to Germany for a medical check before the Liverpool forward completes a move to the Bundesliga champions.

Broadcaster Sky showed footage of the 30-year-old touching down at Munich airport before being taken to a hospital in the city centre for a medical exam by Bayern’s team doctor.

During a break in the medical test, Mane appeared in a red Bayern training shirt and signed autographs for waiting fans.

According to media reports, Mane’s transfer will cost Bayern around 41 million euros (£35 million, $43 million).

“I am happy he has landed,” Thomas Mueller said while attending a golf tournament in Munich on Tuesday.

Bayern’s German international forward joked that he soon hopes to see Mane hit “lots of birdies” on the city’s courses.

The Senegal forward is expected to sign a three-year contract and is set to hold his first Bayern press conference Wednesday.

Mane would be a replacement for wantaway Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, who has been linked to a Barcelona transfer, or winger Serge Gnabry, who is stalling over a contract extension.



Liverpool Agree To Sadio Mane’s £35m Bayern Munich Move – Reports

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane reacts after losing the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, in May 28, 2022. FRANCK FIFE / AFP


Liverpool have agreed to allow Senegalese player, Sadio Mane, to make a move to Bayern Munich for a fee worth £35 million.

Bayern had two early bids of  £25 million and £30 million rejected for the Reds forward after losing out on a chance to sign Erling Haaland.

According to Sky News, Mane’s switch to Munich is now a ‘done deal’ after Liverpool accepted an improved offer from the Bundesliga champions.

Bayern are expected to pay an initial £27.5 million and an additional £5 million based on appearance. There is also a clause of  £2.5 million that will be paid to Liverpool, which depends on the individual and team achievements.

While Bayern have reportedly rejected offers from Barcelona’s offer of €32 million plus €5 million in add-on for Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, the German side are hopeful he will stay and pair with Mane.

The deal, when finalised, is expected to draw the curtain on an iconic six-year Anfield career for the Senegalese which saw him produce 120 goals in 269 games while winning every major honour available.

Pep’s Perfect 10 The Tonic For Man City’s Euro Woe

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola goes for the Premier League trophy as he prepares to celebrate their title during the award ceremony after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 22, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP


Pep Guardiola may not yet have delivered the Champions League crown Manchester City crave, but four Premier League titles in five years demonstrate a period of dominance to match his time at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Catalan now has 10 league titles to his name in just 13 seasons as a senior coach across three of the toughest divisions in the world.

Few of those have been as hard-fought as City’s latest title triumph.

Guardiola’s men were pushed all the way by a Liverpool side he described as the best he has faced in his managerial career.

The Reds could still complete a treble of League Cup, FA Cup, and Champions League should they see off Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.

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However, just as in the engrossing title tussle between the same two clubs three years ago, City’s squeaked home by a point thanks to a dramatic fightback from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on the final day.

Recognition of Guardiola’s achievements at City often comes with the caveats of the huge resources at his disposal and consistent failings to convert domestic dominance into European success since leaving Barcelona a decade ago.

“If we don’t win it in my final period here, I will be a failure,” Guardiola said last month, speaking about his Champions League record.

But his ability to construct sides capable of rising to the relentless demands of winning a title over 38 games is unmatched.

The 51-year-old has laughed off suggestions he could match former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson’s longevity.

But only Ferguson’s haul of 13 Premier League titles in 27 years at Old Trafford comes close to matching Guardiola’s strike rate in Europe’s toughest leagues.

“Pep is the best coach in the world,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp last month. “I think we would all agree on that and it might be a coincidence that it didn’t work out in the Champions League so far.

“If anybody doubts him, I have no idea how that could happen.”

City infrastructure 

City’s long-term strategy of building the infrastructure of the club around Guardiola, even prior to his arrival, has been thoroughly vindicated.

Director of football Txiki Begiristain and CEO Ferran Soriano were plucked from Barcelona with the aim of luring Guardiola to England.

Guardiola was burned out by the demands of the job at Barcelona after four seasons and cut short his time at Bayern after three years.

By contrast, he has stayed at City now for six seasons and will be around for at least a seventh.

Backed by the state wealth of Abu Dhabi, Guardiola has been given the money to assemble one of the most expensive squads in football history.

However, there are limits to that spending power as City found out last year.

Tottenham would not let Harry Kane go despite City’s interest and the England captain’s desire to leave.

The English champions have already swooped to fulfil their need for a striker for next season by beating off competition from other leading clubs in Europe to sign Erling Haaland.

But Guardiola had to make do without a natural finisher this season and still conjured up the top-scoring team in the Premier League.

Most importantly, he also held onto the trophy he values more than any other.

“I would say it’s more difficult,” said Guardiola on Premier League glory compared with winning the Champions League.

“There’s a lot of weeks and games, struggles with injuries, good and bad moments with different situations, tough opponents.

“It’s satisfying because it’s every day. When you fight for the Premier League and have success right at the end, it gives you a sense that you enjoy a lot. We are happier in our lives when you win.”

The fear for the rest of the Premier League is that with Haaland’s arrival, City look likely to get even stronger.

After three league titles at Barca and Bayern, Guardiola has a fourth in England and his grip on the Premier League is only getting tighter.


Bayern Munich Confirm Lewandowski Wants To Leave

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Dynamo Kyiv in Munich, southern Germany, on September 29, 2021. CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP


Robert Lewandowski banged in his 35th league goal on the final day of the Bundesliga season Saturday as Bayern Munich confirmed their top-scoring striker wants to leave, amid reports he could join Barcelona this summer.

Lewandowki scored for the Bundesliga champions in a 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg.

Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic insists Lewandowski will play for them next season, pointing out: “‘Lewy’ has a contract until June 2023.”

But German media outlets claim the 33-year-old has refused to sign an extension and wants to join Barcelona for next season.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo, Mane Missing As EPL Unveils Player of The Season Nominees

Salihamidzic confirmed that Lewandowksi wants to leave. “During conversations, he informed me that he did not want to accept our offer to extend the contract and would like to leave,” he said.

A crisp Lewandowski header from a Thomas Mueller cross put Bayern 2-0 up after defender Josip Stanisic netted his first Bundesliga goal for the visitors.

Wolfsburg clawed their way back as Danish forward Jonas Wind scored, then veteran striker Max Kruse levelled for the hosts.

Erling Haaland signed off his final appearance for second-placed Borussia Dortmund in a 2-1 home win over Hertha Berlin.

The Norwegian star is set to complete a long-awaited move to Manchester City for next season.

Haaland equalised from the penalty spot in the second half to cancel out Ishak Belfodil’s early goal for Hertha at Signal Iduna Park.

Dortmund’s 17-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko came off the bench and grabbed the winner, just seconds after replacing Axel Witsel.

Haaland applauded home fans after the final whistle while Dortmund also said goodbye to sports director Michael Zorc.

The defeat pushed Hertha into 16th, which means a two-legged relegation play-off against the team which finishes third in the second division, currently Hamburg.

“The boys are totally exhausted and worked up,” said Hertha sports director Fredi Bobic.

“They must now have the belief to pull it together in these two games.”

Endo rescues Stuttgart

There were dramatic scenes in Stuttgart where Japan midfielder Wataru Endo scored a stoppage-time winner to seal a 2-1 win over Cologne.

The win saw Stuttgart claw their way to 15th and guaranteed survival next season.

Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic made amends for having a first-half penalty saved by heading in the resulting corner 26 seconds later.

Cologne equalised when veteran French striker Anthony Modeste headed in his 20th goal of the season until Endo struck.

Stuttgart fans stormed the pitch at the final whistle to kick off the celebrations.

“It feels good, but I have a sore head from all the shouting and celebrating,” said head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.

“It was a great moment. I’m so happy for the boys. You never forget a moment like today.”

Cologne finish seventh to qualify for the Europa Conference League.

Union Berlin will play in the Europa League next season after finishing fifth after Nigeria striker Taiwo Awoniyi netted twice to seal a 3-2 win.

Union raced into a 2-0 lead as Grischa Proemel gave the hosts an early lead before Awoniyi converted a penalty.

Bochum roared back as Simon Zoller headed in a goal, then Eduard Loewen levelled before Awoniyi grabbed a late winner.

Freiburg finished sixth and punched their Europa League ticket despite losing 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen, whose Argentinian defender Exequiel Palacios scored the winner seven minutes into stoppage time.

Arminia Bielefeld joined Greuther Fuerth in being relegated from Germany’s top flight despite a 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig, who finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League.

Germany midfielder Jonas Hofmann scored twice as Borussia Moenchengladbach thrashed Hoffenheim 5-1.

Brazil defender Tutu and Colombia striker Rafael Borre hit the net as Eintracht Frankfurt tuned up for Wednesday’s Europa League final against Rangers with a 2-2 draw at Mainz.



Bayern Munich Win 10th Straight Bundesliga Title

Bayern Munich's German midfielder Jamal Musiala (2nd L) celebrates scoring the 3-1 goal with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v BVB Borussia Dortmund in Munich, southern Germany on April 23, 2022. KERSTIN JOENSSON / AFP
Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Jamal Musiala (2nd L) celebrates scoring the 3-1 goal with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v BVB Borussia Dortmund in Munich, southern Germany on April 23, 2022. KERSTIN JOENSSON / AFP


Bayern Munich were crowned Bundesliga champions for the 10th consecutive season on Saturday after a 3-1 home win over second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

First-half goals by Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski put Bayern in control at a sold-out Allianz Arena before Emre Can converted a penalty after the break for Dortmund.

But teenager Jamal Musiala fired in a late goal to spark early celebrations in the home crowd.

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This is the first time a club has won 10 straight titles in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

The Bavarian giants’ eighth successive win over Dortmund leaves Bayern an unassailable 12 points clear with three games left.

Bayern dominated the opening half and Gnabry fired a magnificent volley into the top corner from the edge of the box to give them a 15th-minute lead.

Gnabry had a second effort disallowed before Lewandowski doubled the advantage 11 minutes before half-time.

It was the Poland striker’s 27th goal in 26 matches against Dortmund, who he left for Bayern in 2014.

Dortmund responded early in the second half as Can converted a penalty after Marco Reus was brought down in the area.

The visitors had their appeals for another spot-kick waved away with 30 minutes left when Lucas Hernandez brought Jude Bellingham down in the area.

Lewandowski won the battle of the Bundesliga’s star strikers as Erling Haaland, who has been linked with big-money move to Manchester City, failed to score despite forcing Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into two late saves.

Musiala put the result beyond doubt when he slotted home seconds after his initial shot was saved by Dortmund keeper Marwin Hitz.

Late Union goals stun Leipzig

Earlier, Union Berlin scored two late goals to poach a 2-1 win at RB Leipzig, which kept alive their Champions League qualification hopes.

Bayer Leverkusen thumped bottom club Greuther Fuerth 4-1 to take third place from Leipzig and move three points clear of fifth-placed Freiburg in the race for the top four.

Freiburg missed the chance to draw level on points with Leipzig, conceding a late equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Union are just two points further back in sixth, with five clubs, including seventh-placed Cologne, separated by just six points with three games remaining in the battle to reach next season’s Champions League group stage.

Yussuf Poulsen put Leipzig ahead early in the second half to put the hosts on course for their second win in four days over Union, who they beat 2-1 in the German Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

However, Union avenged the cup defeat as substitutes Sven Michel and then Kevin Behrens scored in the 86th and 88th minutes.

The defeat ended Leipzig’s unbeaten run of 15 games in all competitions, ahead of their Europa League semi-final, first leg at home to Rangers on Thursday.

Union are bidding to reach the Champions League for the first time in just their third season since being promoted to the Bundesliga.

Freiburg, also hoping for a maiden appearance in Europe’s premier competition, looked set to pile the pressure on Leipzig as they fought back from 2-0 down at half-time to lead Gladbach.

But Lars Stindl struck for the away side in the third minute of injury time.

Fuerth were finally relegated after their loss to Leverkusen, having been last in the table since September.

Eintracht Frankfurt, who visit West Ham on Thursday in their Europa League semi-final first leg, conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at home to Hoffenheim.



Chukwueze Scores As Villarreal Dump Bayern Out Of Champions League

Villarreal's Nigerian midfielder Samuel Chukwueze celebrates scoring the 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, second leg football match FC Bayern Munich v FC Villarreal in Munich, southern Germany on April 12, 2022. Jose Jordan / AFP
Villarreal’s Nigerian midfielder Samuel Chukwueze celebrates scoring the 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, second leg football match FC Bayern Munich v FC Villarreal in Munich, southern Germany on April 12, 2022. Jose Jordan / AFP


Villarreal dumped Bayern Munich out of the Champions League on Tuesday, Samuel Chukwueze’s 88th-minute strike at the Allianz Arena giving the Spaniards a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their quarter-final tie that took them through 2-1 on aggregate.

Robert Lewandowski had put Bayern ahead on the night to level the tie on aggregate after Villarreal’s 1-0 first-leg win, and extra time loomed until Chukwueze struck.

The result means Bayern Munich exit the Champions League in the quarter-finals for the second year running.

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Villarreal are into the semi-finals for the first time since 2006 and will play either Liverpool or Benfica in the last four. The English side take a 3-1 lead into Wednesday’s second leg at Anfield.

Unai Emery’s Villarreal soaked up everything Bayern threw at their defence, aside from Lewandowski’s strike early in the second half.

It was a heart-breaking night for Bayern, who dominated for most of the match before Chukwueze scored just four minutes after coming on.

Bayern started with urgency, but the Villarreal defence was alert to every threat.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann changed formation, opting for a three-man defence instead of a back four.

Villarreal were pinned in their own half for most of the first half as Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez dictated play from the back.

Yet for all their domination of possession, a header by Jamal Musiala straight at Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli was Bayern’s only clear chance of a goalless first half.

Lewandowski, who was largely well marshalled, earned the first booking of the game.

The Villarreal back four worked tirelessly throughout, but left-back Pervis Estupinan had a particularly busy first half as Leroy Sane constantly probed down the flank.

Bayern finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute.

A loose pass out of defence only got as far as Kingsley Coman, who moved the ball to Thomas Mueller.

The Germany star slipped the ball into the path of Lewandowski, who managed to get his shot past two defenders and the diving Rulli.

The Poland striker let out a primal scream to celebrate his 13th goal in 10 Champions League games this season.

Bayern kept up the pressure as Mueller went close with a diving header and was left with his head in his hands, as was Coman when he fired over soon after.

Nagelsmann sent on some fresh legs in a bid to get a decisive second goal inside the 90 minutes by bringing on Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies.

However, Villarreal stunned the home crowd when Gerard Moreno broke down the left.

He put in a low cross which Chukwueze sent spinning over Neuer to send the Spaniards through.

Emery’s Villarreal Eye Another Giant-Killing At Bayern Munich

Villareal’s players celebrate at the end of during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg football match between Villarreal CF and Bayern Munich at La Ceramica stadium in Vila-real on April 6, 2022. Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP


“We’ve beaten one of the best teams in the world,” said captain Dani Parejo after Villarreal secured a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final last week. But he knows it might not be enough.

Villarreal enjoyed one of the finest nights in the club’s history with a superb performance at La Ceramica that caught the six-time European champions cold.

Unai Emery’s side will take a one-goal lead into Tuesday’s second leg in Germany, yet the overriding feeling was regret as a series of missed chances kept Bayern alive.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Face ‘Incredibly High’ Challenge To Stay In Champions League – Tuchel

“We produced a tremendous performance and if we’re honest we should have won by more,” said Villarreal midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

Instead, a one-goal deficit is far from insurmountable for a team that has scored 17 goals in their last five games at home and 20 in their last four European matches at the Allianz Arena.

Villarreal have made a habit of neutralising glamorous opponents, even if their La Liga position of seventh shows they can struggle against modest opposition.

While Emery’s forensic analysis and in-depth video sessions might stifle the spontaneity needed to beat limited sides, it means his team are tactically astute and difficult to break down.

In the past year, Villarreal have beaten the Europa League champions, the Coppa Italia winners, the Bundesliga champions and the FA Cup winners. They also defeated Manchester United to win last season’s Europa League.

In Spain, they are unbeaten this season against defending champions Atletico Madrid and leaders Real Madrid.

After the stunning 3-0 victory in Turin that knocked out Juventus in the last 16, Villarreal will believe they can complete the job in Germany and reach the club’s first Champions League semi-final since 2006.

Win or lose in Munich, the win against Bayern in the home leg will go down in the Villarreal history books.

‘Biggest challenge’ 

While Bayern were winning a third consecutive European Cup in 1976, Villarreal were being relegated to the fourth tier in Spain. When Bayern won their fifth in 2013, Villarreal had just been promoted back to the top flight.

The population of Vila-real, at just over 50,000, could fit inside Bayern’s stadium with 25,000 seats to spare. No smaller town has produced a team to win a European title.

For the majority of their history Villarreal lay in the third division until Spanish billionaire Fernando Roig took over in 1998.

Roig has improved the stadium, the training ground and the team. Villarreal signed players such as Riquelme, Diego Forlan, Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla.

They have been a fixture in the top flight for all but one of the 22 seasons this century.

With stability secured, Emery was hired to take the team to the next level, challenge for trophies and La Liga’s top four.

They have disappointed in the league but cup success has kept Emery’s stock high. He was tempted by the Newcastle job in November but turned it down, the prospect of a European run too tantalising.

Similar reasoning kept local-born star defender Pau Torres at the club he joined as a five-year-old, despite interest last summer from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

The only question now is whether the momentous win over Bayern Munich will be remembered as the pinnacle of an incredible run, or the basis for something more.

“Tuesday will be the biggest challenge of my career as coach,” Emery said. “And for the club as well, for the players, for lots of people here.”


Lewandowski Fires Bayern Into Champions League Last Eight With 7-1 Win Over Salzburg

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League last-16, second-leg football match FC Bayern Munich vs RB Salzburg in Munich, southern Germany on March 8, 2022. CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP
Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League last-16, second-leg football match FC Bayern Munich vs RB Salzburg in Munich, southern Germany on March 8, 2022. CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP


Robert Lewandowski scored a record-breaking 11-minute hat-trick to send Bayern Munich sailing into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 7-1 win at home to Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday.

The Polish striker had three goals to his name by the 23rd minute — the earliest anyone has ever completed a hat-trick in a Champions League game — as Bayern shook off their early nerves to crush Salzburg.

The Austrian champions had held Bayern to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but their hopes of an upset in Munich were left in tatters when Lewandowski scored a tap-in and two penalties to send Bayern on their way to a famous victory.

With just ten minutes and 27 seconds between Lewandowski’s first and third goals, it was the fastest of the six hat-tricks the Pole has now scored in the Champions League.

Bayern started with an attack-heavy 3-5-2, but they looked nervy at the back and there were chances at both ends in the opening minutes.

Lewandowski forced a sharp save from Philipp Koehn with the first attack of the game, while Nicolas Capaldo was denied at the other end by a brilliant block from Kingsley Coman.

Lewandowski gratefully tucked away a penalty to give Bayern the lead on 12 minutes after he was brought down by Maximilian Woeber in the box.

Initially, the lead didn’t seem to calm Bayern’s nerves, and Salzburg almost equalised as Nicolas Seiwald fizzed a fierce shot over the bar at the other end.

But Lewandowski was in a predatory mood, and he soon added two more to complete his hat-trick and put the tie beyond the Austrian side.

Having smashed a second penalty into the bottom corner to double the lead, he added a third on the counter-attack, chasing a loose ball over the line after a one-on-one with Koehn.

Bayern were now purring, and Serge Gnabry drilled home a crushingly inevitable fourth after an elegant passing move on the half-hour mark.

Thomas Mueller curled a brilliant shot into the bottom corner to make it 5-0 shortly after half time, before Bayern switched on cruise control.

The guests grabbed a consolation goal with a clinical counter-attack 20 minutes from time, 18-year-old Dane Maurits Kjaergaard smashing a Geoff-Hurst-like finish into the top corner past Manuel Neuer.

But the hosts had the last word as Mueller stroked home his second and Lewandowski set up Sane for Bayern’s seventh a few minutes from time.


‘Like A Dream’: Bayern Slump To Shock Defeat At Bochum

Bayern Munich's German forward Thomas Mueller (C) reacts to a missed chance during the German first division Bundesliga football match between VfL Bochum and FC Bayern Munich in Bochum, western Germany on February 12, 2022. Ina Fassbender / AFP
Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (C) reacts to a missed chance during the German first division Bundesliga football match between VfL Bochum and FC Bayern Munich in Bochum, western Germany on February 12, 2022. Ina Fassbender / AFP


Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich said his side need to question their mentality after they slumped to a shock 4-2 loss at Bundesliga minnows Bochum ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Red Bull Salzburg.

Bayern conceded four goals in the first half for the first time in a Bundesliga match since 1975 as promoted Bochum rampaged to victory, leaving the perennial champions stunned.

“This was our worst performance of the season. We need to ask ourselves whether this is the mentality which Bayern Munich embodies,” a dejected Kimmich told Sky.

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“Luckily it’s happened in a Bundesliga match this time, but we have a Champions League game on Wednesday,” he added.

Bayern had not lost to Bochum since 2004 ahead of this game, and beat them 7-0 when the two teams last met in September.

When Robert Lewandowski bundled in the opener for Bayern on nine minutes, it seemed it would be a normal afternoon for the perennial champions.

But Bochum equalised quickly through Christopher Antwi-Adjei, before taking control in a frenzied 10 minutes before the break.

Juergen Locadia gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot after a Dayot Upamecano handball, and unsettled Bayern wilted under pressure.

Cristian Gamboa smashed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area two minutes later, before Holtmann curled in another brilliant long-range effort on the stroke of half-time.

“My first Bundesliga goal, and it comes against Bayern. It’s like a dream!” Gamboa told Sky.

Lewandowski pulled a goal back in the second half, but it was too little for Bayern to avoid a fourth league defeat of the season.

After a week in which German football discussed a play-off format to combat Bayern’s relentless dominance, recently promoted Bochum delivered a brutal reminder that the champions are not unbeatable.

Yet Bayern remain nine points clear at the top of the table overnight, ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s trip to Union Berlin on Sunday.

Fuerth grab rare win

In-form Bayer Leverkusen remain third after they eased to a 4-2 win over Stuttgart.

Leverkusen had scored ten goals in their previous two games, but were held at bay by a dogged Stuttgart defence until Moussa Diaby slalomed through the box to score the opener just before half time.

New Portuguese signing Tiago Tomas brought Stuttgart level with his first Bundesliga goal, but Amine Adli immediately restored the lead at a free-kick.

Florian Wirtz extended the lead five minutes from time, threading a crafty low shot through a flurry of legs and into the bottom corner.

Tomas gave Stuttgart fresh hope with an instinctive finish at the other end, before Patrik Schick sealed the win with a tap-in.

Elsewhere, struggling giants Wolfsburg and Borussia Moenchengladbach both pulled away from the relegation zone with timely wins.

Wolfsburg beat former coach Oliver Glasner with a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, a Max Kruse penalty and a late goal from Dodi Lukebakio handing them a second successive win.

Manu Kone and Jonas Hofmann gave Gladbach a comfortable lead, before Iago pulled a goal back for fellow strugglers Augsburg.

Ramy Bensebaini restored the two-goal lead before Alfred Finnbogason snatched a late consolation goal.

Bottom club Greuther Fuerth gave themselves hope in the relegation fight with only their third win of the season against Hertha Berlin.

Branimir Hrgota opened the scoring after just 27 seconds and doubled the lead with a second-half penalty before Hertha’s Linus Gechter scored his first Bundesliga goal late on.

Freiburg leapfrogged Union Berlin into fifth with a 1-1 draw at home to Mainz, substitute Nils Petersen cancelling out Alexander Hack’s first-half opener.