Beating the Best
Wednesday 21st October 2015
We have a decent side. One that can be hard working, marvellously entertaining and victorious most weeks but bordering on naive, calamitous and incredibly frustrating on occasion.
And we are a long way from bring able to claim to be the best club side in Europe. You know that, I know that and i’m pretty sure our great club’s players and staff know that.
Bayern Munich however, can claim to have that right. They are arguably the best side in Europe right now. The vast majority will agree with that statement.
Yet last night, with correct tactics, guts, desire, ability and a little bit of luck we turned them over. And on a night where a positive result was crucial to any chance of survival in this year’s Champions League.
Roughly ten years ago we also beat them. But on that occasion we were to go home disappointed, Thierry’s winner at Highbury not quite enough to overturn the 3-1 defeat we endured at a freezing cold Munich Olympic Stadium a couple of weeks previous.
Against a side containing the likes of Oliver Kahn, Michael Ballack and a young Bastian Schweinsteiger I felt there were similarities to last night when I remember I felt we got our tactics right. Conceding would have been a disaster so we concentrated on that for large chunks of the game. Thierry’s goal past one of the world’s great goalkeepers at that time meant we needed one more to progress but it wasn’t to be.
It would have been slightly naive to go into last night’s encounter actually confident of victory I feel but we all new we have been in good form and if we got things right on all fronts we certainly had a chance.
Each time we have shown our colours before kick off at our new stadium, by means of a planned and combined effort, it has preceded a disaster on the pitch. So although I knew it would look impressive this time round, I wasn’t convinced it would be a good idea.
Nobody could argue however, along with that very special night game atmosphere, it looked absolutely fantastic as the spine tingling Champions League music blared out. A massive congratulations to all those involved in organising it…….especially as we won this time! 🙂
We started well I thought, looking dangerous each time we went forward but then there was a 20 minute spell where we hardly touched the ball!! It was a period that included the first of Bayern’s 2 clear cut chances on the night and of course the first of Petr Cech’s great saves.
Defensive shape is talked about a lot and last night was a perfect example of why it so critically important, especially against the world’s best passing and possession based teams. Had we shown the kind of concentration we showed last night I am convinced we would not have lost to either Zagreb or Olympiacos.
The whole game was depending on a combination of our collective defensive concentration and application and our ability to be dangerous on the break.
Munich’s goalkeeper demonstrated just why he is considered the world’s best with his incredible save from Theo’s header shortly before a quite breathless first half came to a close.
Before a ball was kicked I genuinely stated if it was nil nil after 70 minutes I would be happy. And that is what we got.
Because I felt if we could hold out for that long I would really fancy us in the last 20 minutes.
And that was some jostle! However messy the goal appeared!!
The noise inside the ground was phenomenal. Right up there with some of the loudest I have heard. And like it or hate it, the Giroud song sounds incredible when the whole stadium sings it with gusto.
The late second was the icing on the cake of course and completed a memorable night that just about keeps us in with a shout.
Football dictates however, we now need to get the whole night out of our system as Everton come to North London with their fans and staff demanding a positive reaction to their home defeat last week.
Home games should be about us though and we need to put in another performance to keep our League challenge on track.
Come on you reds!!