Seville, Andalusia, Spain (Weltexpress). Not that the Sevilla Fútbol Club is only a big player in Andalusia, but a small one outside the supposedly autonomous region of Spain. Even if this soccer club or company won a lot of Andalusian trophies, but only in 1946 the championship in Franco’s Greater Spain. After all, the Andalusian footballers known to us as FC Sevilla has been able to pick up the UEFA Cup on several occasions, namely this century in the years 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Quite different the case of FC Bayern München, the old, reigning and new champions of the Bundesliga, a record champion who has to play for points in one of the world’s most boring leagues.
After all, there is a kind of European first league, which is anything but one of the champions. The draw brought the quarterfinal encounter FC Sevilla – FC Bayern München, and the first match took place yesterday at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, where about 40,000 spectators saw the game.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes knows what 40,000 fans can do in Spain and set his starting eleven more defensive than in the Bundesliga. Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcántara were allowed to be on the field from the beginning. Arjen Robben was brought in when Bayern petered out during the last quarter of an hour. That the hosts won more duels in the first 45 minutes wasn’t the fault of Robben. Above all, the FCB lacked a functioning centre, an attacking midfield where it should be, in the middle of the field and thus ahead of defensive designer Javi Martinez. Best attacker from Bayern was – oh, wonder – Franck Ribéry. He outplayed opponents in the smallest area, gave passes like the one that led to 1:1, when Jesús Navas, untenable for his keeper David Soria, scored an own goal (37.).
The fact that Sevilla did not win against Bayern was mainly due to the fact that men like Pablo Sarabia do not always score, and those like Franco Vázquez only rarely.
At the beginning of the second 45 minutes, the guests came out of the cabin as if transformed. They worried about possession and exerted pressure. Heyncke’s substitutes James and Rafinha also contributed to this. In one of the Bayern attacks Thiago headed to the opposing goal. The goal was credited to him, although Sergio Escudero distracted the ball decisively.
Above all, the will based on ability was the one that brought Bayern München on the road to victory, especially since they were also allowed to make their game after the break. The Andalusian men had to pay tribute to their dangerous counter-play and early defensive work, and got tired.
For the return leg next Wednesday in Munich, Bayern got a good starting position out of the game amidst the roar of the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán and the knowledge that work victories count as well.
Maybe the operetta atmosphere in Munich will be soporific for the footballers from Seville and Bayern will win again.
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Christopher Prescott based on a text by Ralf-Rüdiger Okudera.