Atletico Madrid face a nervous shootout against Red Bull Salzburg next week to reach the UEFA Champions League knockouts after they could only draw 1-1 with a much-changed Bayern Munich side on Tuesday evening.
Joao Felix gave the hosts the lead midway through the first period as he clinically converted Marcos Llorente’s low cross, a lead they held until the 86th minute of the game. Thomas Muller was the catalyst as he was fouled by Felipe in the box and then converted from the penalty spot to ensure the teams claimed a share of the points.
Here are three things we learned from Madrid:
Felix reaching potential
After a somewhat indifferent first season with Atleti following his big money move from Benfica, young winger Joao Felix now certainly looks to be a £120m player. The Portuguese already has eight goals and three assists in all competitions this season – just one fewer goal than he managed in the entirety of last season.
He is now showing supreme confidence with the club, leading the line excellently against Bayern, even more impressive considering the absence of regular number 9 Luis Suarez. He led the game for shots having set his sights on three occasions, one effort slamming off of the crossbar.
Felix’s finish for his goal was also one of an accomplished forward as he hammered home Llorente’s ball first time, whilst he also showed extreme pace and skill throughout the majority of the clash. He looks set to have an explosive season, finally delivering on the promise that he showed before his arrival in Madrid.
Atleti rue missed opportunities
Now heading into a winner takes all clash against Red Bull Salzburg next time, Diego Simeone will reflect on a huge missed opportunity against a Bayern side that made a whole host of changes. They also had the majority of chances throughout the game, a lot of them being wasted.
The hosts had 13 shots on goal throughout the entire game, only three of them being on target. Mario Hermoso and Jose Gimenez both lifted what looked like easy headers over the crossbar. Chances continued to come and go in the closing stages with as many as three Atleti bodies queueing up to convert a wicked cross but none of them managed to make meaningful contact.
Should Simeone’s men suffer elimination next week, these missed chances against what was in reality a weaker Bayern side, could be the prime reason.
Bayern’s winning run over but set to stand
You have to go all the way back to March 2019 for Bayern Munich’s last defeat in the UEFA Champions League. Since then, they have won 15 consecutive matches in the competition and lifted the trophy against Paris Saint Germain. It is the longest winning run ever in the competition’s history, at least five more than any other side.
Whilst Bayern boss Hansi Flick and the club’s supporters will of course be disappointed to see that winning run halted, one consolation that they will have is that it appears unlikely to see any side matching that level of dominance any time soon. Having also progressed to the knockout rounds of the Champions League once again, they are unsurprisingly the favourites to lift the trophy and defend their title. They can be backed at odds of 11/4 with Betfair to win the competition come the end of the campaign.
Atletico Madrid: Oblak (7); Hermoso (6), Gimenez (7) (Felipe (6), 67′), Savic (7), Trippier (7); Carrasco (6) (Lodi (N/A), 87′), Saul (6), Koke (7), Llorente (7); Felix (8) (Lemar (N/A), 87′), Correa (6) (Herrera (N/A), 80′).
Bayern Munich: Nubel (6); Hernandez (7), Alaba (7), Sule (6); Arrey-Mbi (5) (Gnabry (6), 61′), Martinez (6) (Muller (7), 62′), Musiala (6) (Stiller (N/A), 76′), Sarr (5) (Richards (6), 62′); Costa (6) (Zirkzee (N/A), 86′), Sane (6), Choupo-Moting (5).
Goals: Felix (26′), Muller (PEN 86′)
Referee: Clement Turpin
Yellow Cards: Sarr (43′), Savic (86′)
Red Cards: N/A
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