Write them off at your peril! Despite their first-leg defeat, Bayern Munich have every hope of taking out Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. From Bayern's incredible home record, free-scoring attacking stars and Thomas Tuchel's tactical nous, bundesliga.com is making the case for a stunning comeback from the six-time European champions.....
1) Absolutely flawless at the Allianz Arena
Make no bones about it, Munich was the one destination everyone wanted to avoid in the quarter-final draw. Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen have all come a cropper at the home of the record German champions in this season's competition, shipping 11 goals. Bayern have not conceded a single goal at home in the Champions League this season.
Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski and Lisandro Martinez have all failed to find the net in Bavaria in front of Bayern's assured defence. Sure, City have Erling Haaland, who scored five times across seven meetings with Bayern as a Borussia Dortmund player - but he lost every single one of them. One way or another, Bayern invariably find a way to make even the very best flop. If they can keep Haaland and his mates quiet at the Allianz Arena, then the semi-final dream is still on - as it will purely be a question of how many Bayern's stunning assembly of attacking might can net at the other end.
2) The Tuchel factor
Tuchel's appointment as Bayern head coach during the March international break may have come as a surprise, not least given Julian Nagelsmann's 100 percent record en route to this term's Champions League quarter-finals. The defending Bundesliga champions arguably saved their best under Nagelsmann for Europe, encapsulated by the ease with which they beat PSG 3-0 over two legs in the round of 16. But if there is a person you want to call on when the your chips are down in the Champions League, it has to be Tuchel - perhaps the most esteemed of the competition's experts.
It was Tuchel who took PSG to their first Champions League final in 2019/20, eventually losing 1-0 to Hansi Flick's Bayern following a goalkeeping clinic by Manuel Neuer (remember that point about Bayern finding a way?). A year later, he went the distance in charge of an unfancied Chelsea team, overcoming Real Madrid in the last four and Guardiola's Man City in the final. The ex-Mainz and BVB strategist masterminded a dogged 1-0 victory, just as he had earlier in the season in the FA Cup semi-finals, whilst restricting the reigning English Premier League champions to one shot on target. No wonder they call him 'Pep's Kryptonite'. Ah, but has he ever won by three goals or more in a Champions League tie? You bet - no less than 12 times in 54 matches in the competition, including against such illustrious names as Juventus, Real Madrid and Benfica.
Watch: Thomas Tuchel's Bayern - tactical analysis
3) Comebacks and thrashings
Dramatic comebacks have become a regular part of the Champions League story in recent years, and as powerhouses of the competition, Bayern have had more than their fair share of magical nights. Things looked similarly precarious for Bayern at the exact same stage of the 2014/15 Champions League as a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of the quarter-final in Porto left them teetering on a competition exit. Any fears of elimination proved to be unfounded, with two assists and a goal from Thomas Müller putting them 5-0 up by half-time in the return fixture on the way to a 6-1 win.
The knockout stages were mostly switched to single-leg affairs in 2019/20, when Bayern last won the competition, but the Bavarians showed their propensity for runaway wins on the way to the crown - most famously in an 8-2 win over Barcelona that sent shockwaves through the European game.
That has very much been the pattern rather than the exception for a club that simply loves stamping their authority on European opponents with dramatic effect. A 7-2 win over Tottenham and 6-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade were taken in the winning 2019/20 campaign. A 4-0 win over Atletico Madrid, 6-2 and 7-1 wins over Red Bull Salzburg, 5-0 win against Dynamo Kiev, 4-0 triumph against Benfica, three 3-0 victories over Barcelona and a 5-0 triumph over Viktoria Plzen have all been notched up since!
Watch: Leroy Sane - aiming for consistency
4) Bayern stars = goals galore
Bayern's all-star cast was a big part of the reason Tuchel opted to join Bayern. That and their in-built winning drive that has yielded over 60 major titles, including Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League trebles as recently as 2012/13 and 2019/20.
The Reds have scored more goals than anyone else in the Bundesliga this term (78), with 56 percent of those (44) coming on home turf. Furthermore, only Napoli hit the net more often than Bayern in this season's Champions League group stage (20 goals to 18), while it shouldn't be forgotten that the 2020 continental kings have scored 11 without reply at the Allianz Arena across their four home games to date in the competition.
And the goals can come from anywhere. A total of nine different names have been on the Bayern scoresheet in the Champions League so far in 2022/23. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Sane lead the way with four each, Sadio Mane has three, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and Banjamin Pavard two apiece with Kingsley Coman, Lucas Hernandez and Thomas Müller all registering once.
Not only that, but Bayern boast more players in the top 10 for assists than any other team. Joao Cancelo tops the pile with five (although four of those were for City), Goretzka has four, and Joshua Kimmich and Gnabry three each. And all of that without even mentioning the boy wonder that is Jamal Musiala, who has the ability to unlock even the tightest of defences.
Bayern tend to rise to the big occasion and have the players to do so - do not be surprised if their name is in the hat for the semi-final draw.
Watch: Musiala in focus
5) Reliable record vs. nervous City
City's first-leg success may have given them the overall advantage in terms of the head-to-head record against Bayern, taking them to four wins compared to the Bavarians' three, but it is a different story in Munich. Bayern have won two of the three meetings at the Allianz Arena: 2-0 in September 2011 and 1-0 in September 2014.
City did emerge victorious in the other game, coming back from 2-0 down to triumph 3-2 in December 2013, but there is a significant asterisk next to that result. Bayern were already assured of top spot in Group D ahead of that Matchday 6 assignment in 2013/14, making it essentially a dead rubber for the reigning European champions at the time.
Furthermore, City have previous when it comes to getting stage fright at the wrong time. As recently as last year's semi-finals, they led Real Madrid 5-3 on aggregate as the second leg entered the 90th minute. The away goals rule was still in force at the time, meaning the Spanish side needed to score three to go through. They duly did so, striking twice in stoppage time and again in extra time to reach the final, which they eventually won.
In addition to losing the 2021 final to Tuchel's Chelsea, City were beaten 3-1 by an unfancied Lyon side in the 2020 quarter-finals, knocked out on away goals by Tottenham at the same stage in 2019, and 5-1 on aggregate by Liverpool in the last eight the previous year. How heavy will that weight of history be for Guardiola's players on Wednesday?
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