A stout defensive performance from Bayern lead by a surprising source kept Sevilla from causing any drama as Die Roten punched their ticket to the Champions League semis.
Rafinha played one of his best defensive games for Bayern and that proved to be all the club needed to secure their spot in the last four. With blown leads surrounding the Champions League recently, it was good to see Bayern keep this match as stress free as possible.
What a great defensive performance by the Brazillian. Rafinha made a number of expertly timed challenges, including a goal saver in the first half. For his trouble, the left-back picked up a sore shoulder. Going forward, there wasn’t much. He attempted a few crosses but nothing terribly dangerous. To be fair, the game plan probably was not to run the offense through Rafinha, and he was fantastic at preserving the lead. So, well done.
Martínez is great, isn’t he? He quietly puts in great performances for Bayern, where he owns the middle of the field. On Wednesday, Sevilla did not look particularly dangerous on the counter, thanks in large part to Bayern’s big Spaniard. Martínez played well alongside James as the two created so much space with their passing. He really battled. He was absolutely wrecked with an awful awful challenge late in the game that resulted in a straight red card for Sevilla. He looked to be ok, however.
Like Mats Hummels, Boateng was strong at the back. This match was relatively stress-free looking back on it. The German internationals are a big reason why. Oh, and it is worth pointing out that Boateng is still fantastic at playing those long passes. He made a few nice ones.
Defensively very solid. Hummels and Boateng were strong at the back and did not allow the Sevilla attack to generate real opportunities. Passing was on point as well. Hummels looked confident for the full 90 minutes.
A fantastic lunging challenge in the first ten minutes potentially saved an early goal. Surprisingly, that might have been James’ strongest part of his game. He tracked back frequently and looked very much at home in a defensive role. The downside to this is how his offense suffered. He made great passes, kept possession and bossed the midfield. However, he never troubled the Sevilla goal. He helped his side make it to the semi-finals, so he will not complain.
Not a busy night in terms of shot stopping, but Ulreich did an admirable job as a sweeper keeper. He linked up well with his defense and that contributed greatly to Bayern keeping things under control.
Bayern’s young right-back was pretty quiet for much of the first half. He was solid defensively and made smart passes. Kimmich seemed willing to cede control of the right flank to Robben, who was very lively. The second half seemed to be stronger for the young man, as Kimmich was more active in getting the ball in the box. He never managed to pick up an assist, but his strong play defensively was awesome.
No one on the Bayern squad took more of a beating in the opening minutes than Robert Lewandowski. The striker took a blow to his eye, he was stepped on and it seemed to put him off his game. In the first half, he never had the ball in a position where he could do any damage. The second half was not any kinder to the Polish number nine. He continued to take a beating at the hands of Sevilla’s defense. Lewandowski never created much for himself and looked increasingly frustrated at his teammate’s failure to set him up (mostly just Robben). He came off late and did not pick up a yellow card.
Very active, but not very effective. He was the Energizer bunny up and down the right flank. That is good to see, but it would be better if he were able to get a few shots on target. There were a few moments when he cut inside but never troubled the keeper. He missed a lot of good passing opportunities that resulted in a few angry looks from his teammates. That is nothing new for the Dutchman, but in the past he would at least generate some chances for himself. That said, his energy was appreciated and he did not do anything clumsy like turning the ball over in a dangerous area.
Ribéry was Jekyll and Hyde all night long. Early on, his performance left something to be desired. His first touches were poor and he missed passes frequently. There were occasional bright spots for the Frenchman, however. He played a gorgeous long ball to Robben which generated a pass, and he nearly opened the score in the first half. The second half was much more of the invisible man than anything else. The winger had trouble asserting his authority. On the plus side. He did not give the ball away too often and did not pick up a yellow. So, given the situation, this performance was good enough.
Thomas Müller has had better games. The German international did not contribute too much going forward. He made a nice pass to Lewandowski in the opening minutes, but after that, there was not much to write home about. I can not recall any significant impact he had on proceedings. He came deep frequently, so that helped, but he will need to do more going forward.
Thiago, Niklas Süle, and Sandro Wagner came on late to kill off the game and they did the job.