Bayern Munich got beaten down pretty handily by FC Porto in the first leg of its UEFA Champions League quarterfinal. It was an eye-opening 90 minutes because not only did the two-time emending German champions fall, 3-1, but it could have easily had to play 89 of those minutes down a man and without Manuel Neuer after the goalkeeper luckily escaped a first minute red card.
Porto’s press unnerved Bayern and un-did the German giants. It was shocking to see a team that presses as well as Pep Guardiola’s, and who presumably train against such a press every day, be completely unable to handle another’s.
So going into the second leg, Bayern Munich are in trouble, right? It’s been exposed, and we should re-think our assumptions about the team? Well, not so much.
Sure, there is a possibility that Bayern crashes out now, a thought few had entertained prior to Wednesday, but it’s still highly unlikely. Bayern still needs just a two-goal win, and thanks to the away gold tiebreaker, a simple 2-0 result has it moving onto the semifinals. Did 90 minutes in Porto really convince you that 2-0 isn’t likely?
This is still the same Bayern Munich that is running away with the Bundesliga again, wiped the floor with it Champions League group and features an absurd collection of talent led by Guardiola. That doesn’t disappear because of one bad match.
Bayern Munich also just put a second leg home beat down on a team in the last round. It was only last month that it turned a scoreless tie after the first leg into a 7-0 shellacking of Shakhtar Donetsk. It was an obliteration, and this was of the same Shakhtar team that Porto drew twice in the group stage.
It’s one thing to get a result against Bayern at home. It’s a whole other to take care of business in Munich. Just not getting crushed in Munich is an accomplishment.
But Porto needs to keep from getting crushed. It probably needs to lose by one goal. It needs to keep Bayern from pouring it on. And it will have to do it without their two starting fullbacks.
Both Danilo and Alex Sandro picked up yellow cards in the first leg that will see them suspended for the second. Because hanging with Bayern in Munich wasn’t hard enough, Porto will also have to do it without two excellent players.
Every member of #TeamUpset will be on Porto’s side. To see the club that serves as a feeder club to many of the biggest teams in the world topple Bayern Munich would be incredible. As much fun as it is to see 70,000 Bayern fans in red and white cheering and causing a cacophony of noise, it would be even more amazing to see them in stunned silence as Porto books a spot in the semifinals.
Unfortunately, well-wishing and goodwill may be all that Porto has going for it. It’s that and a two-goal advantage, because Bayern Munich is still a giant who grows to two-times its size at home. It may not win 7-0 again, but it’s tough to see them not winning, and not in the semifinals.