After a resounding win in Brussels, normal service was resumed for us yet again in Europe, crumbling 3-0 to Bayern at the Allianz Arena.
Let’s not kid ourselves - we made that far too easy for Bayern. Yes, they were excellent, and Kingsley Coman and Arjen Robben were simply too good for the players at our disposal, but from the off, we looked terrified yet again at this level and the German outfit did not need to work for any of their goals, which was infuriating.
Bayern started the match in devastating fashion, pressing Celtic aggressively and there was a directness to their play clearly missing under Carlo Ancelotti, ruthlessly re-introduced by Jupp Heynckes, and they had a goal disallowed in the first ten minutes, as well as a strong penalty claim denied.
The first goal came from Gamboa and Lustig not tracking Lewandowski, whose header was well saved by Gordon, and our defence stood still with the rebound, allowing Muller to slam home for the opener.
Aside from a couple of counter attacks that came to nothing, we were non existent in Bayern’s half in the opening 45 minutes, and the second goal came after Coman, who was absolutely rapid, skinned Gamboa and put in a superb ball for Kimmich who headed past a helpless Gordon.
At half time , you’d have been forgiven for fearing another mauling, like the recent Barca/PSG matches, and nothing really changed after the restart, when another self inflicted error led to a Bayern corner, and Mats Hummels heading in for a third.
After that, Celtic did improve although it’s fair to say Bayern took their foot off the gas too, and didn’t play with the intensity displayed in the first half, and both teams had goals disallowed. Shoutout to Bayern’s stadium announcer who took a few minutes to clock on that it wasn’t 4-0 and went mental screaming Lewandowski’s name - the true highlight of the game from a Celtic perspective!
The last half hour of the game had a training exercise feel to it, and petered out with no major flashpoints, but it was a very disappointing result and yet again, we weren’t aggressive enough off the ball, and seemed overawed from the start.
Positives : Tom Rogic and Moussa Dembele did alright when they came on, as did James Forrest. Boyata played well enough too, and if we had a top defender next to him, maybe it would have made some difference. We’ll never know, because we neglected to strengthen that position in the summer.
Negatives : The attitude from the team, putting themselves under pressure needlessly, giving Bayern far too much respect and once more, spending the majority of the game chasing the ball, knackering themselves after an hour. Lustig was all over the place, Ntcham had a shocker again in Europe, and Armstrong’s crap song was belted out yet again despite him having another nightmare in the Champions League.
We can play much better, and hopefully we up our game against Bayern at Celtic Park, but Bayern Munich will also feel a counter attacking performance will suit them in Glasgow, and look to punish us as effectively as they did tonight.
We’ll be back to shoot as usual on the blog later in the week, in a different article no doubt.