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
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker