Tuchel interested in Bayern 'spark', not talk of dreams and miracles

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Thomas Tuchel has called on Bayern Munich to ignite the "spark" required to give them hope of a stunning Champions League comeback against Manchester City.

Bayern were beaten 3-0 at City in their quarter-final first leg, leaving Tuchel's side a mountain to climb in Wednesday's return match.

City were imperious at the Etihad Stadium, dominating Bayern despite the visiting coach's claims his team had performed well.

There is understandable talk of the need for "a miracle" in the German media, with only four teams in Champions League history having overturned a three-goal deficit in a two-legged knockout tie.

But Tuchel knows Bayern will have to go out and grasp the game – and the attention of the Allianz Arena crowd – to have any chance.

"We can't conjure up a miracle. Therefore, of course, the approach is different," he said. "At 1-1, everyone believes. At 3-0, it's all about finding a realistic level.

"Our game on Saturday [a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim] certainly didn't contribute to that.

"We believe in ourselves and in winning both halves. Anything is possible in football, so small moments are part of it. It's about finding faith and having faith.

"At the same time, believing does not mean dreaming. We are responsible for ensuring that the spark is ignited and that we take the crowd with us."

Tuchel acknowledged that "spark" was missing against Hoffenheim, making their task more difficult against a City team in top form on a 10-match winless run.

Describing "an absolute challenge", Tuchel said City have "been in top form for weeks" while Bayern are "missing a bit right now".

There is particular focus on two individuals following the events of the first leg.

Sadio Mane was suspended for the Hoffenheim game and fined following a confrontation with Leroy Sane in the Etihad Stadium dressing room, but he will be back in the squad, Tuchel said.

Meanwhile, Dayot Upamecano's form has been questioned after he endured a difficult first leg, making a costly error for the second goal as Erling Haaland teed up Bernardo Silva.

"I don't think the duel with Erling Haaland was problematic," Tuchel said of the centre-back. "It was that one decision and the risk he took. He knows he needs to improve.

"There is no point in pointing the finger at individuals. We have been brutally punished. But we stand by him, he's still young and has great potential."

Related items

  • Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive

    Dethroned Italian champions Napoli's hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

    Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

    Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M'Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

    Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

    Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

    They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece's Olympiakos on May 29.

    Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

    Data Debrief

    Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) - now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton - as the most across Europe's top five leagues in that period.

    Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

  • Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United

    Southampton saw off West Brom 3-1 at St Mary's on Friday to set up a Championship play-off final showdown with Leeds United.

    Leeds thumped Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road 24 hours earlier to book their place at Wembley, where Southampton now await on May 26.

    The first leg between the Saints and West Brom finished goalless - just like the other semi-final - but the home side's quality told in the end.

    Russell Martin's side dominated the first-half possession, with David Brooks going closest to scoring with a shot that hit the outside of the post.

    Southampton made the breakthrough via a powerful Will Smallbone finish four minutes into the second half after Gray Diangana lost possession.

    Darnell Furlong had a shot helped over by Alex McCarthy, while David Brooks - who assisted the opener - had a strong penalty appeal rejected.

    Southampton remained in control, though, and Adam Armstrong scored a second with a shot through Furlong's legs and past Alex Palmer.

    Armstrong's second goal arrived from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Tom Fellows fouled Ryan Manning in the box, rendering Cedric Kipre's late header a mere consolation.

  • Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension

    Marc Skinner has signed a one-year contract extension as Manchester United Women head coach with the option of a further 12 months.

    The 41-year-old guided United to their first major silverware last weekend with victory over Tottenham in the Women's FA Cup final.

    United are fifth in the Women's Super League with one game to go - a massive drop on last term's runners-up finish - but Skinner will stay on.

    "It's an honour to extend my stay at Manchester United," Skinner, who was appointed in 2021, told United's official website after the news was confirmed on Friday. 

    "I've always felt at home here, with our excellent players, staff, and fans.

    "Being able to secure the team's first major trophy at Wembley was a real career highlight for me and another sign of our continued growth, on and off the field."

    United conclude their campaign on Saturday against Chelsea, who lead Manchester City on goal difference entering the final day.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.