Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues
The opera music came on the television “We are the Champions….”(not the Queen version) just before Bayern Munich’s home tie and second-leg match with F.C Porto (that ended 6-1) took place in the Champions League. It looked promising as well with F.C Porto being 3-1 up from the first leg of the last eight Champions League knockout stage. Bayern Munich are of course known as a team to turn first leg deficits or draws in to wins. While there was the 4-0 drubbing at home to Real Madrid last season, things looked like they would turn around for Bayern Munich this season. A 0-0 draw away in the first leg to Shakhtar Donetsk turned in to a 7-0 aggregate win in the second leg of the tie for Bayern Munich. Yet F.C Porto’s 3-1 win in the first-leg looked promising, at least from the optimists point of view. It looked like the second leg of the tie would be more interesting than that of Shakhtar Donetsk’s visit to Germany, Bayern Munich would have to win by two clear goals to go through.
Yes as mentioned Bayern Munich beat Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 at home in the second leg of the Champions League to get to this stage. Yet that is less surprising than their very recent mauling of F.C Porto. Ukrainian football has come a long way as of recent; the very fact that Shakhtar Donetsk made it through the group stages of the Champions League is testament to that. Yet Ukrainian football is still a long way off being at the level of English, Spanish, Italian, German and even Portuguese football. Shakhtar Donetsk’s ground is known as a very temperamental ground to visit for away teams. A 0-0 draw in the first leg to Shakhtar Donetsk was not surprising despite Bayern Munich’s superior footballing skills. Neither was it surprising in the second leg. A 7-0 win to Bayern Munich on their home soil without the daunting atmosphere from the first-leg in Ukraine.
F.C Porto being 3-1 up from the first leg looked more promising though, as they looked a team that were capable of giving Bayern Munich a game with a two goal cushion from the first-leg. F.C Porto could go to Bayern Munich’s ground with a real chance of progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Yet what happened? Yes as mentioned Bayern Munich can certainly score goals at home and are capable of overcoming a first-leg deficit but F.C Porto being completely steamrolled after thirty minutes? 1-0 to Bayern Munich, 2-0 then 3-0. Even at 3-0 the match still looked promising as a goal from F.C Porto would change the dynamics of the tie. Yet 4-0 then 5-0 followed before half time. All the hope of Bayern Munich battling it out to the end faded away. F.C Porto would have to score three more goals to go through to the semi-finals. This was extremely unlikely and the match proved that with a 1-1 scoreline in the second half.
There was slight optimism when F.C. Porto’s goal went in making it 5-1 but this was against a Bayern Munich team who could afford to concede two while being 5-0 up. The match prior to kick-off did not look like the formality that was Barcelona vs Paris St Germain that ended 5-1 on aggregate to Barcelona. It was always likely that Bayern Munich could recover from the first-leg defeat. The assumption was though that this would take most of the match despite Bayern Munich’s impressive goal scoring record at home. The Portuguese top football league is far from the standard of other countries including Germany’s, yet F.C Porto are not pushovers in this competition and won this very competition in 2004.
The promise of an interesting contest that would have you watching the screen until the final whistle was not to be. This particular surprise was unfortunate and sometimes in football the high scoring matches are not all they are cracked up to be either. A balanced game is far more interesting to watch. Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid’s second leg tie will hopefully be more interesting given the record between these two teams and the first leg carefully poised at 0-0. Although going on this result a tedious Real Madrid drubbing of Athletico Madrid may follow, though fortunately unlikely.
Oliver Wilson, (2015)