Champions League

Villarreal 1-0 Bayern Munich: Player ratings as Yellow Submarine sink Die Roten

Max Parsons
Arnaut Danjuma puts Bayern to the sword
Arnaut Danjuma puts Bayern to the sword / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/GettyImages

Bayern Munich fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Villarreal on Wednesday night, getting their Champions League quarter-final tie off to a less than ideal start.

It could have been worse, however. The Spanish outfit put in a brilliantly rigid and firm defensive showing while continuously maintaining a dynamic attacking threat throughout the game and indeed should have ended the night with more than one goal.

A sixth Champions League strike of the campaign for Arnaut Danjuma, though, was enough to secure a gargantuan result for the Yellow Submarine who, in the process, became the first side to keep a clean sheet against the German champions since Liverpool in 2017 - 30 games ago.

It was in fact Bayern that assumed control as soon as the referee's first whistle blew and looked certain to notch the opener - although Villarreal talisman Danjuma evidently had other ideas.

It took the Dutchman just eight minutes to create a euphoric atmosphere at the Ceramica, showing good instincts to divert Dani Parejo's effort past a rooted Manuel Neuer after Giovani Lo Celso and Gerard Moreno had combined beautifully down the right flank.

Die Roten's spirits looked to have taken a real hit after that goal as they struggled to get their early rhythm back. And, after some unproductive probing by the visitors, the hosts thought they'd found a second five minutes before half-time.

Francis Coquelin wheeled away in ecstatic celebration after seeing his mis-hit cross loop straight into Neuer's far corner, although Julian Nagelsmann's men soon breathed a sigh of relief after the former Arsenal man was adjudged to have been offside.

The Germans looked slightly more awake after the break, but it was the Villarreal who went closest in the second half's early stages. Moreno looked to have added to Villarreal's lead in the 52nd minute with a rasping long-range strike, only to see his effort crash off the woodwork and squirm to eventual safety.

Unai Emery's men continued to attack while Bayern committed more and more bodies forward, and should really have doubled their lead before the hour mark. It took an incredible last-gasp challenge from Alphonso Davies to deny Moreno a certain goal from around six yards out, before the Spaniard passed up an open goal (albeit from about 60 yards out, this time) after Neuer had gifted him the ball with a misplaced pass.

Nagelsmann's side appeared more dynamic and threatening with the introduction of Leon Goretzka in midfield, but the Villarreal defence never looked like being compromised, seeing out a magical 1-0 win to the chorus of raucous chanting from a sea of yellow in the stands.

A combination of Robert Lewandowski's anonymity up top, Guillermo Rulli's composed goalkeeping and the admirably regimented yellow-shirted defensive lines ensured that the home fans (half of the city of Villarreal's population, by the way) left the bouncing stadium happy.

Their inability to take the majority of their chances and not grab a second - or third - on the night could be costly as they head to the Allianz Arena for the second leg of this tie but, given their capabilities at the back, a semi-final spot is very much in their reach.

Bayern Munich player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Juan Foyth, Alphonso Davies
Alphonso Davies made his long-awaited return / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Manuel Neuer (GK) - 5/10 - No chance of keeping out the opening goal and wasn't actually called to action that much thereafter.

Benjamin Pavard (RB) - 5/10 - Hadn't a clue where Danjuma was as he steamed in from the back post to grab the opener, but was otherwise generally solid.

Dayot Upamecano (CB) - 3/10 - Looked lost in the box for the hosts' opener and was subsequently caught out by speedy breakaway moves on a couple more occasions.

Lucas Hernandez (CB) - 6/10 - Brought the ball out of defence nicely and remained resolute at the back, making five ball recoveries for his side.

Alphonso Davies (LB) - 7/10 - The CONCACAF Men's Player of the Year defended brilliantly to make seven tackles and was sharp from the off, doing some excellent work upfield. His side's best performer, looking as though he'd never been away.

2. Midfielders

Joshua Kimmich (CM) - 6/10 - A typically satisfying all-round performance, although uncharacteristically blurred the line between style and substance all too often, not really producing anything decisive.

Jamal Musiala (CM) - 6/10 - A threateningly creative spark and elusive presence when venturing into advanced areas but failed in his defensive duties for the early opener, not tracking Lo Celso's run into the box

Thomas Muller (AM) - 3/10 - Failed to do what he does so well against such a compact and disciplined defensive shape - marshalled to perfection.

3. Forwards

Robert Lewandowski
Strangely anonymous / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Kingsley Coman (RW) - 6/10 - Once again looked likeliest to make something happen for the hosts, but couldn't pierce through the hosts' staunch back line.

Robert Lewandowski (ST) - 1/10 - A grand total of nothing to report before the break, and didn't liven up too much for the second period. A truly disappointing showing.

Serge Gnabry (LW) - 5/10 - Occasionally bright and wiry but wasn't consistent enough to put his mark on proceedings.

4. Substitutes

Leroy Sane (LW) - 5/10 - A few promising moments in good positions, but couldn't turn the game around.

Leon Goretzka (CM) - 5/10 - Introduced some tenacity and physicality in midfield and did well to carry the side upfield at times, but was another that struggled to influence proceedings against such a good defence.

Niklas Sule (RB) - 4/10 - Not sure why he was brought on, to be honest.

Marc Roca (CM) - N/A