Thomas Muller has insisted that his Bayern Munich teammates have nothing to be ashamed about following their elimination from the Champions League semi-finals at the hands of long-time European rivals Real Madrid.
Bayern’s 2-2 draw in Tuesday’s second leg of the tie at the Bernabeu was not enough for the Bavarians, as Jupp Heynckes’ side went out 4-3 on aggregate. Muller, according to Marca, insisted that the nature of the game left Bayern with plenty to be proud of, although it was their own mistakes which handed Madrid the killer blows.
Will we see Bayern Munich lift the Champions League trophy again? pic.twitter.com/uQPk5jvbbI— Goal (@goal) May 2, 2018
“We played better than in Munich but we gave them a goal again”, Muller said after the game. “And you can’t afford to do that over the two games."
A sloppy back pass was misjudged by Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, missing the ball and allowing Karim Benzema to tap into an empty net for Madrid’s second goal of the night.
That goal would prove decisive in the tie, as James Rodriguez’s reply for Bayern against his parent club was not enough to overturn the aggregate deficit.
“It was a crazy game and we invested everything into it. But in the end we were a little unlucky. Their goalkeeper Navas had a great game”, Muller continued.
“Luck and misfortune are closely intertwined. This hurts a great deal, but we shouldn’t be ashamed”.
Muller’s admission that luck was not on Bayern’s side in the tie seems to ring true not only of Tuesday’s second leg in particular, but also of their common misfortune in their recent semi-final record in the Champions League.
Bayern have been eliminated from the last four of the competition four times in the last five seasons, having not lifted Europe’s elite trophy since 2013, and Muller admitted his side’s failure to convert potential into results at that stage.
“A lot was possible”, a regretful Muller continued. “We had a super chance to progress but we missed out again.
“We have so much quality in our squad, but we have to ask ourselves why we have missed out a lot, why we keep making these mistakes in the semi-finals”.
Bayern’s dominance during Tuesday’s clash at the Bernabeu was clear. The Bavarian side enjoyed almost 60% of possession, having 22 shots on Keylor Navas’ goal compared to Madrid’s nine, with ten of Bayern’s on target.
The sense of a missed opportunity is reflected by the stats and overall direction of play throughout that match, with Madrid’s opportunistic capitalisation on Bayern’s costly mistakes ultimately proving the decisive element in the tie.