Thursday, December 7, 2023

Bayern Munich 4-3 Manchester United: What Were The Main Talking Points As Erik Ten Hag’s Men Open Their Champions League Adventure With A Thriller In Munich?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 21 Sep 2023

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Opening their Champions League adventure with plenty of pressure on their shoulders, Manchester United slumped to an action-packed 4-3 defeat away at Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

While Erik ten Hag’s side might have started brightly at the Allianz, the Red Devils entered the half-time break 2-0 down as Leroy Sane and ex-Arsenal star Serge Gnabry bagged a quickfire brace.

Although big-money summer arrival Rasmus Hojlund might have bagged his first United goal just four minutes after returning from the interval, the midweek guests almost immediately came crashing back down to earth as the red-hot Harry Kane converted from the penalty spot just seconds later.

Despite it appearing that the German giants were cruising towards a major opening week statement in Munich, fans were treated to a remarkable ending as Bayern and United exchanged three goals in the final seven minutes.

Casemiro showed real determination to bundle a second in for United to give them a glimmer of hope, but 18-year-old Mathys Tel quickly snuffed that out by hammering Bayern’s fourth in added time.

However, although the former Real Madrid midfielder headed home from close range with essentially the last kick of the game to grab his second of the night, it was too little too late.

On a night when Manchester United know that they will come under even more scrutiny, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Wednesday’s heavyweight battle in Munich.

Bayern cash in on a struggling United

Suffering last-gasp heartbreak at home against Bayer Leverkusen last weekend as they marked their return from September’s international break with a 2-2 draw, Bayern Munich had made it clear that they were seeking an immediate response here.

While the reigning Bundesliga champions might have been without the suspended Thomas Tuchel in their dugout on Wednesday night, the former Chelsea boss would have certainly been excited from what he saw watching on from home.

Overcoming United’s early charge, Bayern put in what was an eye-catching performance here as they opened their Champions League adventure with an early statement on home soil.

Mustering 10 points from their first four Bundesliga appearances since opening the 2023/24 campaign, Tuchel’s squad have also continued to gain a reputation for their free-scoring performances in the final third.

Although Wednesday’s hosts might still be desperately seeking their own defensive stability, Bayern would have simply been relieved to open this season’s European campaign with a memorable scalp at the Allianz.

Ten Hag has a defensive crisis on his hands

Marking their return from September’s international break with a stunning 3-1 loss at home against Brighton, it is no secret that Manchester United are dealing with a public crisis.

Eventually blown away in Munich on Wednesday night and knowing that they face even more scrutiny, it appears that ten Hag has mounting pressure on his shoulders.

Likewise, heading into this month’s fortnight interval with another 3-1 loss away at historic rivals Arsenal, the former Ajax boss will certainly have a major headache over his side’s rather glaring defensive issues.

Although summer arrival Hojlund might have notched his first Manchester United strike here, the Premier League heavyweights have now shipped at least a trio of goals in three consecutive appearances for the first time since way back in 1987.

Recording just a single clean sheet since opening the 2023/24 campaign and still unable to call upon defensive talisman Raphael Varane, ten Hag appears to have a huge job on his hands.

Kane extends on his stellar start to life in Munich

At the heart of one of this summer’s biggest transfer sagas, Kane has certainly hit the ground running since arriving in Munich last month.

Completing a blockbuster £100million move from Tottenham, the England skipper has immediately cemented his spot as Bayern’s latest attacking icon.

While much of the build-up to Wednesday’s showdown at the Allianz might have been focused around Kane’s potential switch to Manchester United this summer, the 30-year-old really came back to haunt his former Premier League rivals here.

Converting from the spot just seconds after the Red Devils halved Munich’s deficit, Kane has now bagged five goals in as many appearances across all competitions since completing his blockbuster move to the German giants.

Making it clear on multiple occasions that the motivation behind his move to the Allianz was in order to finally get his hands on a piece of silverware, the ex-Spurs hitman really couldn’t have wished for a better start to life in Munich.

Match Report

Bayern Munich: Ulreich, Laimer, Upamecano, Kim, Davies, Kimmich, Goretzka, Sane, Musiala, Gnabry, Kane

Subs: Coman, Choupo-Moting, Muller, Tel

Manchester United: Onana, Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Raguilon, Eriksen, Casemiro, Pellistri, Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund

Subs: McTominay, Garnacho, Martial

Goals: Bayern Munich: Sane (28’), Gnabry (32’), Kane (53’ P), Tel (90+2’) – Manchester United: Hojlund (49’), Casemiro (88’, 90+5’)

Yellow Cards: Bayern Munich: Goretzka – Manchester United: Martinez

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Glenn Nyberg


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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