Bayern have mountain to climb against Man City, Inter can forget domestic troubles – the Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk April 19, 2023

Is there any stopping Erling Haaland?

The Norwegian has hit 47 goals already for Manchester City this season, including one against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final first leg last week.

City ran out 3-0 winners to take a healthy lead to the Allianz Arena, where Bayern must show the right kind of fight this time as they look to claw that deficit back, while also somehow halting Haaland.

Inter's domestic form has dropped off a cliff, having not won in five and lost four of those, including a shock 1-0 home defeat to Monza on Saturday.

However, they hold a 2-0 advantage over Benfica, who also travel to San Siro with perhaps more hope than belief they can turn it around and reach the semi-finals.

With the assistance of Opta numbers, Stats Perform takes a look at Wednesday's two Champions League contests.

 

Bayern Munich v Manchester City: Can Bayern pack the punch to come back against City?

The Bavarians came to blows over their loss at the Etihad Stadium last week, but will be hoping to use that fire more positively in the second leg on home soil.

Bayern have lost their last two meetings with City in the Champions League – the first time they have lost consecutive games against them, and as many defeats as they had suffered in their first five clashes in the competition (W3 L2).

Thomas Tuchel's men are also looking to become just the fifth team to progress from a two-legged Champions League knockout tie after losing by three or more goals in the first leg, after Deportivo de La Coruna in 2003-04 (5-4 v Milan), Barcelona in 2016-17 (6-5 v PSG), Roma in 2017-18 (4-4 v Barcelona, won on away goals) and Liverpool in 2018-19 (4-3 v Barcelona).

Since losing three consecutive games against Tuchel's Chelsea in 2020-21 – the last of which being the 2021 Champions League final – City boss Pep Guardiola has won each of his last three games against the German, without seeing his side concede a single goal. 

Guardiola is just one win away from 100 Champions League match victories, which will make him the third manager/head coach to reach a century of wins in the competition, along with Carlo Ancelotti and Alex Ferguson. He would also be the quickest to reach that figure, with it being his 158th game, with Ancelotti taking 180 games and Ferguson 184.

Haaland has scored 11 Champions League goals for City this season, his best return in a single campaign, and just one behind the season record for a Premier League player in the competition (Ruud van Nistelrooy, 12 in 2002-03 for Manchester United).

He may have ended the first leg with a cut lip for his troubles, but since the start of last season, former City man Leroy Sane has more combined goals (10) and assists (7) in the Champions League goals than any other Bayern player (17). Despite his side failing to score at the Etihad Stadium, Sane was directly involved in eight of Bayern's 12 shots in the first leg (five shots and three chances created).

 

Inter v Benfica: Eagles must make history to get past Nerazzurri

Inter cannot buy a win in Serie A, and may even have to win the competition to qualify for it next season, but their performance in the first leg showed they can still perform. 

The Nerazzurri remain unbeaten in all four of their previous meetings with Benfica (W3 D1), keeping a clean sheet in three of those matches, though the Lisbon side have already won away to Italian opposition in the Champions League this season, beating Juventus 2-1 in the group stage.

Benfica lost the first leg of a two-legged European Cup/Champions League tie by two or more goals for the ninth time, and only once previously have they progressed from such a position, and not since 1961-62 when they beat Nurnberg, losing the first leg 3-1 before winning the second 6-0.

In addition to that, it was also the ninth time Inter have won the first leg of a two-legged European Cup/Champions League tie by two or more goals, and they have never been eliminated from such a position.

Roger Schmidt's side are unbeaten in seven away matches in the Champions League (W4 D3), their longest ever unbeaten run away from home in the competition. They have won their last two away matches, and could win three in a row for the first time since March 1990.

Striker Goncalo Ramos will need to have a big game, having been directly involved in four goals in his last four Champions League appearances for Benfica (three goals, one assist). On top of his attacking contribution, the Portugal international is also important for his team's pressing out of possession, having applied more pressures (674) and pressures in the final third (299) than any other striker in the competition this season.

Romelu Lukaku has scored nine goals in 14 appearances for Inter in the Champions League, with only four players now scoring more goals for the club in the competition – Adriano (14), Julio Cruz (13), Hernan Crespo (11) and Samuel Eto'o (10).

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