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FC Bayern threatens to exit the Champions League after defeat at Lazio Rome

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FC Bayern threatens to exit the Champions League after defeat at Lazio Rome

Anyone who walks through the new Rome is also walking through the old Rome. And because that is always impressive, before we get into the history of this football game and therefore also the complicated history of the football coach Thomas Tuchel and his football club, FC Bayern Munich, we should at least say a sentence about the history of the city go.

When the rulers of the Roman Empire noticed that they were losing the people’s favor, they were happy to give the people a gift with which they believed they could win their favor again: bread and circuses. But with that from old Rome back into the new Rome.

Anyone who walked up Monte Mario, the highest hill in the city, on Tuesday evening saw a football coach in the hotel there who, since last weekend at the latest, has had to be careful not to lose the favor of his fans and perhaps even that of his players and superiors loses.

Upamecano’s unnecessary foul

And when Thomas Tuchel, who had started the press conference before the first round of 16 match of the Champions League against Lazio by saying he didn’t want to reveal anything about his line-up, ended by revealing that one player had a “good chance” of playing you could already guess how he wanted to regain everyone’s favor in this way.

With a player who some people in Munich revere like some people in Rome revered the great gladiators. With Thomas Müller. On Wednesday evening, Müller was allowed to play from the first minute at the Stadio Olimpico – unlike last weekend in Leverkusen. But in the 67th minute, what was supposed to be a Thomas Müller game turned into a Dayot Upamecano game.

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It was still 0-0 when Upamecano, FC Bayern’s French central defender, rushed through the penalty area in the 67th minute, where he tried to stop the ball that Lazio striker Gustav Isaksen was about to shoot at goal. He held out his cleated shoe – only instead of hitting the ball, he hit Isaksen’s ankle.

Immobile hits from the point

Because this was not only an unnecessary foul, but also a hard one, the referee not only decided on a penalty for Lazio, but also a red card for Upamecano. Ciro Immobile scored the penalty into the goal.

And because eleven Romans then did what you can always expect from eleven Romans against ten Munich players – defending flawlessly – this important game ended 0-1 from FC Bayern’s perspective. Which makes the situation in the Champions League before the second leg on March 5th (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on Prime Video) very complicated. And coach Tuchel’s situation is even more complicated.

Don’t look: Thomas Tuchel : Image: Reuters

When Tuchel sat in the hotel on Monte Mario on Tuesday evening, he had to talk not only about the Champions League, but also about the Bundesliga. About the debacle in Leverkusen (0:3) and about his line-up. On Tuesday he said: “It will always be more important how we play and not what we play.”

But on Wednesday evening all observers were still looking at the “how”. And unlike in Leverkusen, they didn’t see a five-man chain, but a four-man chain again: with Mazraoui, Upamecano, Kim and Guerreiro. They then saw Joshua Kimmich in defensive midfield and not Aleksandar Pavlović. And they saw Müller.

Musiala aims over it

In the seventh minute the spectators experienced a real Müller moment. The first time he stuck out his right leg on the sideline, Müller-style, as he wanted to keep the ball in play, which he himself had sloppily taken with him. Which worked. The second time he stretched it out in the penalty area when he passed the ball that Kimmich had crossed on in Müller style. Which worked again. But Harry Kane shot it over the goal. But there was one thing you weren’t allowed to watch even with Müller: a Bayern goal.

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Bayern only came close to scoring once in the first half. It was their best combination of the game, probably even the best combination this year: via Sané, Müller and Goretzka, who passed through the middle, the ball came to Jamal Musiala, who then shot it just over the goal.

Then came the second half. Then came Lazio. And then came Upamecano.

A comment from Daniel Theweleit Published/Updated: Recommendations: 9 Tobias Rabe Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 6 Michael Horeni Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 12

In response to the red card, Tuchel brought on central defender Matthijs de Ligt, who replaced Upamecano in the back four. In the 82nd minute he sent strikers Mathys Tel and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting onto the field. But it was the Romans who could have scored another goal. And the fact that they didn’t do that was probably the best thing Bayern could say about this game.

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