With 58 clean sheets, Manuel Neuer holds the Champions League record as of Wednesday afternoon. No goalkeeper has kept the so-called “clean vest” for more than 90 minutes. But in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal at the Allianz Arena Neuer not only intervened several times in his main role as a goal preventer, but also showed his football skills.

As in the first leg played at the Emirates Stadium a week ago, which ended 2-2, there was FC Bayern They sometimes struggle to break down Arsenal's tight 4-4-2 defensive formation when building play from the back. Bayern often found themselves under pressure close to their own area or at the latest on the flanks, so that last night, for example, full-backs Joshua Kimmich and Noussair Mazraoui could not find a place to pass.

Already in the first leg, Arsenal skillfully blocked Bayern's stars, so Neuer was forced to switch to left back Alphonso Davies (lost in the second leg due to a yellow card suspension). When that was too much for the goalkeeper, he balanced the ball over attacker Kai Havertz to Kimmich on the right side. Bayern managed to free themselves from the space created surprisingly and Leroy Sané was able to dribble. A foul and a penalty later, it was 2-1 for Münch.

The danger comes from Neuer

When Bayern became dangerous, the boost usually came from Neuer. The 38-year-old participated as usual in the opening match and took a lot of risks in some scenes. Because Neuer remained with the ball at certain points until one of Arsenal's forward pressing players moved in his direction and the english people In general, we made a little more progress.

However, before Neuer lost the ball, he made a sideways chip pass to one of the Bavarian central defenders or directly diagonally to the full-back, as shown in the graphic below. In this way, he not only set up the penalty for Bayern in the first leg, which Leroy Sané finally managed to win, but also created several dangerous scoring chances in the second leg last night.

Bayern's left back is stable

Otherwise, Bayern remained relatively harmless in attack. The success against Arsenal and the subsequent qualification to the semi-finals of the premier class was possible mainly thanks to a surprisingly stable defensive performance. Especially Bayern's left flank, with Mazraoui, Raphaël Guerreiro and Konrad Laimer, largely impeded Arsenal's attempts to advance down this flank. As in the first leg, Arsenal often overloaded the team around Bukayo Saka, supported by Gunners captain Martin Ødegaard, at the Allianz Arena.

What also worked in favor of the now dethroned German champion was the general dynamics of the duel with the second-placed team in the Premier League. Arsenal wanted to shape the game at times, which meant that Bayern had fewer possession times than normal. Especially in the first match he was able to prove his worth. Bundesliga-The representatives concentrate on counterattacks, in which the speed of Sané, Musiala and company stands out. In the second leg in front of their home crowd, Bayern also did not constantly prepare for the game, which without Neuer would have been considerably weakened.

In the semi-finals, Real Madrid awaits an opponent who, like Bayern, despite all its class, is stronger when it does not have to define the game itself, but knows how to react and wait for mistakes. For Bayern the duel will be eternal Spanish The opponents are therefore even more difficult and captain Neuer, in his dual role as goalkeeper and game designer, is even more important.


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