Manchester United 1 Bayern Munich 1 comment: Bayern show rare signs of fallibility at Old Trafford

United battled strongly against the German champions at Old Trafford

Well, well, well, the champions of Germany are human after all. A draw in this environment is as good as a defeat for the esteem of the all-conquering Bundesliga champions.

Reverses are like comets in the Bayern universe, snatched events that send out a flare then disappear without consequence. The Bundesliga title was secured with seven games to go. Some had them winning this tie before kicking a ball. Such is the mythology surrounding this team, none could make a sensible case for the advance of Manchester United.

For eight minutes in the second half, Bayern were in retreat, senses scrambled by the shock of falling behind in a fixture that mattered. It might do them good. Though parity was swiftly restored, Bayern were not the same swaggering presence they were in the opening period.


Of course, events on a night when United conjured something of their glorious past might be rendered a footnote this time next week – even without Bastian Schweinsteiger, but not for those that come next.

Read more: United will go 'toe-to-toe' with Bayern - Moyes
Is 1-1 a good scoreline for United?
Match report: No miracle, but Vidic provides glimmer of hope

It was an anomaly that United should have the best chances of the first half during which Bayern displayed the full depth of their wares, without quite threatening David De Gea in goal. The appointment of Pep Guardiola, high priest of the coaching profession who furnished the football manual at Barcelona with a new set of fundamentals, affected a wholesale grab of football hearts and minds. To be drawn against them in the last eight of the Champions League produced only sympathy.

Guardiola is prefect-like in posture, overwhelming with courtesy and good manners as powerfully as his team is with movement and technique, so  it is impossible to dislike him. There is none of the conceit and hauteur that attach, for example, to Jose Mourinho, whose visceral indulgence of the dark arts elevates Guardiola still further.

Read more: Schweinsteiger red card was 'unfair' - Guardiola
Moyes doubts linger, despite draw with Bayern
Bayern showed rare signs of fallibility

Beneath the impeccable, beautifully tailored exterior, Guardiola exhibits the pathological commitment of serial winners. Even in repose he brings a studied intensity, as any who observed his support of the European Ryder Cup team at Medinah would attest. Guardiola followed the action like an honoury vice-captain, taking from the experience every last ounce of significance lest there be a lesson of value to football.

Compared to Guardiola’s elegant posturing in the technical area David Moyes looked like that bloke in the library struggling to come to terms with the computer in front of him, unsure whether to press the button or not to confirm a purchase. Guardiola’s keyboard was a flutter of co-ordinated movement. The order was already made, it was simply a matter of waiting for the delivery. He must have been delighted by the way Moyes had assembled his team in that opening period. In abandoning the idea that United might contest possession, Moyes handed both ball and initiative to the opposition. It was like a training session of three pots in, two red banks of four pushed progressively deeper.

Underpinning the kaleidoscopic movement and relentless pace is a fearsome belief. It hardly seems to matter who plays where. Philipp Lahm goes forward, Toni Kroos and Schweinsteiger revolve around their captain like engine parts and up front Franck Ribéry  and Arjen Robben floated dangerously around Thomas Müller.

Of course, you would not be so retro as to describe Müller as a centre forward. Guardiola as all-but erased that position from the football lexicon. What a contrast this was to the last time these teams met at this stage of the competition four years ago. United were heavy favourites, opened their account in Munich via Wayne Rooney in the opening 90 seconds and raced into a three-nil first half lead in the return. It took a red card for Rafael, and a Robben wondergoal to see Munich through on away goals.

United can still cook up an atmosphere. Old Trafford throbbed with anticipation. The heart pays nil heed of the form book and the United players responded with enthusiasm if not poise. The travelling supporters high in the East Stand seemed to welcome the competition so little of it do they see at home. It didn’t last. Above them a banner proclaimed ‘Manchester Is My Heaven’. They might have brought it with them.

Munich reduced United to guerrilla raids, one of which should have resulted in a goal for Danny Welbeck. Set free by Wayne Rooney, Welbeck bounced the last defender out of the way and was though on Manuel Neuer. Time was the enemy. With too much of it to think through his options Welbeck ended up scooping a nothing effort that was easily swatted aside. The replacement of Ryan Giggs with Shinji Kagawa gave United an attacking dimension that introduced a degree of vulnerability in the visitors. As good as Bayern are, no team functions as well under pressure. That is maybe an idea Moyes can tuck away for the second leg, and a second season, if he gets one.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea