Bayern Munich were dumped out of the Champions League after poor decisions from officials. But poor decisions from Bayern as a club mean they lack the back-up striker they really need, writes DW’s Mark Meadows.Bayern Munich were left to rue bad luck, or more specifically bad officiating, in their dramatic Champions League quarterfinal exit to Real Madrid.
But the club themselves should take some of the blame for recent player recruitment policy.
Yes, Arturo Vidal’s sending off was laughable. For referee Viktor Kassai to dish out a second yellow card for such a tackle in a game of such magnitude will leave Bayern feeling hard done by for many months to come.
Vidal has a reputation as an occasionally overly aggressive player and that probably played a part in the decision. But surely a referee needs to think about the wider context of a game when reaching to his pocket. It was not a dreadful studs-up leg breaker.
Few in the Bernabeu were expecting a second booking and for that reason Kassai ought to have realized what the red card might lead to – both for himself and Bayern.
Offside goals leave Bayern complaining
The fact Cristiano Ronaldo then went on to score two offside goals in extra time only made it worse for Bayern, who had battled so hard to twice take the lead in normal time.
Of course, even if Ronaldo had not completed his hat trick with those two strikes, Real would still have gone through 4-3 on aggregate instead of 6-3 given Marco Asensio also scored in extra time.
Bayern fans will argue though that Asensio might not have had the space to score if Ronaldo’s goals had been disallowed. Ten-man Bayern would not have been pushing forward so desperately if the tie had still been level.
“I think we played the game very well, we deserved more. You have the decisions that penalized us a lot, Arturo’s card was not a card and then two goals for Cristiano were offside,” Ancelotti told a news conference.
“We are not happy about this. In a quarterfinal you have to have a referee with more quality I think. It’s time to introduce videos for the referees.”
Lack of striking options to blame
But Ancelotti and the Bayern hierarchy must take some of the blame for their exit – namely because of the lack of cover for Robert Lewandowski.
Sure, it is impossible to fully replace one of the best players in the world but they missed the injured Poland striker badly in the first leg when the tie really got away from them by losing 2-1 at home.
Thomas Müller is his only real deputy and has endured a torrid season.
He has not developed into the out-and-out goalscorer that Lewandowski is. Müller normally plays on the wing or in the hole and it is tough to expect the Germany man to morph into the main goal threat whenever club and country are desperate.
It is unfathomable that a club of Bayern’s stature could leave themselves so bare upfront.
A Claudio Pizarro in the ranks would have come in very handy. He has twice operated successfully as a back-up at Bayern and although the decision to let him move back to Werder Bremen to see out his autumn footballing years made complete sense, he should have been replaced by a similar sort of player who did not mind playing second fiddle to Lewandowski.
These sorts of strikers are hard to find but a veteran or young up-and-coming forward should be top of Bayern’s post-season shopping list.
What would Pep do?
The issue was also apparent in the second leg. When Lewandowski came off after 88 minutes, possibly still feeling the shoulder injury that ruled him out of the first leg, it was utility man Joshua Kimmich who replaced him.
As Bayern were down to 10 men, it was understandable that Ancelotti wanted to shore up the midfield for extra time. But if there had been a recognized striker on the bench, might he have gone for broke?
Probably not, that is not Ancelotti’s style. There have been grumblings from Bayern fans this season that the Italian is too conservative, too laissez-faire.
What would Pep Guardiola have done in this situation? Would he have allowed himself to have only Lewandowski and Müller as striking options this season? Bayern’s supporters are only left to wonder.