Bayern has undertaken to replace them with the efficiency of the clear heads that has been its hallmark in recent years. Alphonso Davies arrived from the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer last year. The signature of Benjamin Pavard was announced in January, but the winner of the World Cup will not join the group before the summer. Only Chelsea's stubbornness prevented Bayern from calling on Callum Hudson-Odoi, an 18-year-old English winger who never started a Premier League game, for $ 40 million last month. Bayern Munich looks like a club that feels they have lost enough time in emotions. Change was needed and it is coming.
None of this was changed by a goalless draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League round of 32. None of this should be rejected because Bayern has resisted a Liverpool squad without its three central defenders of choice. The reports of the disappearance of Bayern Munich have not been greatly exaggerated. However, they may have been misinterpreted.
This Bayern team had never been to Anfield: individual players had visited, but never en masse. There had been no competition between these clubs since 1981. Lewandowski, for his part, had recognized in the days leading up to the match that he was anxious to taste it, to mark another stadium. emblematic of the list. The German media spared no energy to engage in the (sometimes exaggerated) tradition of Liverpool House, reinforced by the race of the host in the final of this competition last year.
And yet, not a single moment, a Bayern player seemed bewildered, bewildered or impressed by the venue, by the opportunity. Even in the very first minutes, as Liverpool tried to take chances, scratching and searching for a single wandering doubt, Bayern played with ease, calm, control.
Liverpool concocted a handful of openings, a half-chance and a snatched chance and a glimpse of the goal, and the crowd soared, feeling the possibility, without Bayern blinking. Neuer continued playing disdainful passes at the edge of his box, not spoiled by the risk. Thiago Alcantara slipped around the midfield. James Rodriguez floated in empty space.
It is true that this Bayern team has exceeded its peak. It is also true that once this point is reached, the descent tends to be steep. This is not consistent, however, and it is not immediate.
It is still a team that contains a multitude of winners of the World Cup and the Champions League and Bundesliga. It's still a team that has ranked among the top four in Europe in all but two seasons this decade. His problems, faults and flaws are relative. When Bayern Munich falls, it does so from a great height. He can always take people with him on the way.
At the end of the night, the Liverpool players clenched their fists and kissed their coach Jürgen Klopp – rightly celebrating a hard-won and well-earned night. They stood there laconicly, taking their applause and offering them, as they did hundreds of times before. These are the scenes that these players belong to and belong to for years. They will leave early, but they will, you feel, at their own pace.