Thomas Müller conjures up "this FC Bayern spirit". What else?! In their seemingly hopeless situation, the stumbling Munich team around the initially so euphoric coach Thomas Tuchel has no choice but to hope for a football miracle of historic proportions when Pep Guardiola returns to the Allianz Arena.
And above all to believe and work for it with one hundred percent energy and mentality. Because in the 282nd premier class game, the German record champions have to make a spectacular comeback on Wednesday (9 p.m. / DAZN) after the 0: 3 in the quarter-final first leg at Manchester City in order to save themselves in the semi-finals. "Maybe something magical is possible," said Europe veteran Müller, who personally looks back on 99 victories in the premier class. Perhaps the 100th will be his biggest and most emotional.
There are a few role models for miracles in the knockout phase, such as Jürgen Klopp with Liverpool and Sadio Mané, who was still storming for the Reds at the time, in the 4-0 win against FC Barcelona in the 2019 semifinals. Captain Müller is hoping a seething stadium and promises the fans a Bayern team that will go full throttle and try everything: "It's going full steam ahead! We're still here!"
Striker Choupo-Moting fit again
During the final training session in cool Munich, the lenses of the TV cameras and photographers focused primarily on Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and the pardoned problem star Mané. Choupo-Moting, who was last out due to knee problems, reported fit. The 34-year-old is the great hope for goals.
What does Tuchel do? What surprises the coach? Does he rely on a special now-especially-attitude for Mané, who was pardoned after his cabin clinch with Leroy Sané, and put the Man City connoisseur in the starting eleven? And does he also react in midfield, where Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are weak? In the second half of the 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim, Tuchel moved João Cancelo to Kimmich's side.
Above all, Bayern need goals, goals, goals. The offensive department has to deliver after only defenders had scored recently. Above all, these must focus on stopping Man City's storm violence called Erling Haaland. "We have a duty to throw in everything we can in this second leg," said Bayern boss Oliver Kahn. The outcome of the second leg is also forward-looking for the bosses.
Fact is: Much more than the special "Bayern spirit" does not speak for a Bayern coup. The coaching change hasn't unleashed a title boost. A number of players are not in shape, individual mistakes are the order of the day. There is a lull in front. Ex-Bayern coach Guardiola, on the other hand, returns to his former place of work with a team that works great and has a man on the pitch in ex-Dortmunder Haaland who scores to his heart's content. In 2023, Man City finally looks ready for the so often missed premier class triumph. Nevertheless, Guardiola warned: "Bayern will play at the limit. I know them."
Müller thinks miracles are possible - but...
Müller outlined what the screenplay for the "Miracle of Munich" could look like. "Something has to go in our direction," knows the 33-year-old leader, who was brought in as a joker late in the first leg by Tuchel. "If we imagine that we score a goal in the first half. Then you go into the second half with the prospect of maybe scoring a second goal. And from then on, at the latest, every ball, every whistle, every situation can be decisive. It's possible," said Müller, who also included a "but" in his description: "But of course, there is also an opponent on the pitch."
"The window has gotten smaller, there's not much room left for mistakes," said Müller. Dropouts like defender Dayot Upamecano before the 0: 2 in Manchester are no longer possible. It takes a perfect Bayern game, starting with goalkeeper Yann Sommer, through leaders Kimmich and Müller, to striker Choupo-Moting.
"We all know that we need a completely different performance. We all know that we can do it, but we have to put it on the pitch," said Kimmich after the lack of energy against Hoffenheim, which shocked coaches and players alike. "Confidence has dropped," admitted a disillusioned Tuchel afterwards with a view to Man City.
Instead of creating a mood of optimism, a mood of doom was fueled. "We won't let the overall situation get us down," said Müller defiantly. A Champions League knockout but would inevitably fuel the long-erupted debates about the bosses around Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic, the obvious construction sites in the expensive luxury squad and also the future sporting orientation under Nagelsmann's successor, Tuchel.
The expected lineups:
Bayern Munich: Sommer - Pavard, Upamecano, de Ligt, Davies - Kimmich, Cancelo - Sané, Müller, Mané - Choupo-Moting
Manchester City: Ederson - Akanji, Stones, Ruben Dias, Aké - Rodrigo - De Bruyne, Gündogan - Bernardo Silva, Haaland, Grealish
Referee: Turpin (France)