Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United: 5 Things We Learned

Scott RomFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United: 5 Things We Learned

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    Matthias Schrader

    You don't win the Bundesliga with weeks left to play if you're not a half-decent team. Bayern Munich are a cut above, with bags full of quality players and a world-class manager.

    David Moyes claimed this tie was the toughest of his career, which puts into perspective how inexperienced the United manager was in comparison to his counterpart. This game probably didn't even rank in Pep Guardiola's top 20, yet a Champions League quarter-final was massive for Moyes.

    It wasn't a surprise that Bayern Munich went on to win 3-1 on Wednesday. They were the better team. But what did we learn from the game?

Wayne Rooney Shouldn't Have Started

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    Matthias Schrader

    It was clear fairly early on in the game that Wayne Rooney was not fit enough to start. The same could be said of United's last visit to the Allianz in 2010 when he played with an injury. He was fit enough to score a goal that night, though.

    In Wednesday's game, he was presented with a great chance in the first half but dithered for too long. He failed to spot the pass to Shinji Kagawa and in the end just hit the ball into a defender.

    In the second half, he had another perfect opportunity to score but snatched at it with his right foot instead of putting it away with his left.

    The fact that he made it through 90 minutes on the evening was ridiculous. According to FourFourTwo, he completed just eight passes in the opposition half, which is less than Phil Jones or David Alaba. He didn't create a single chance for any other player, and of his three shots, not one hit the target.

    Just imagine if one of the two good chances he did have fell to Javier Hernandez instead.

Patrice Evra Was a Hero and Villain

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    Kerstin Joensson

    Before kick-off, some United fans discussed the possibility of Alexander Buttner starting ahead of Patrice Evra. He looked nervous to begin with in the first leg but grew into the game before going off injured.

    When Evra put United 1-0 up in the second half with an absolutely fantastic strike, thoughts of Buttner were a memory.

    But Evra went on to be at fault for two Bayern goals. His positioning and lack of pace have been issues for United this season and reasons for him to leave in the summer.

    He is popular with the fans, and it would have been lovely if, along with Nemanja Vidic, he could have put United into the Champions League semi-final. But like Vidic, it is probably time for him to move on. 

David Moyes' Substitutions Were Ridiculous

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Moyes seemed to be getting everything right when Evra put United 1-0 up. The manager had set United up to keep Bayern Munich out, and then when a half-chance fell to United, they took it.

    But it was less than two minutes later that Bayern equalised. This was no surprise, even if the timing was frustrating, because you always had to expect the German and European champions to be capable of scoring a goal at home against any opponent.

    Bayern then made it 2-1, but this still didn't change things for United. At 1-1, a second goal would see them progress, and at 2-1 down, a second goal would see them progress as well.

    United were not in a desperate situation. They had 20 minutes to score an equaliser. So replacing Darren Fletcher, who provided some cover against Bayern's attack, with Javier Hernandez was a bizarre move. Bayern went 3-1 up less than two minutes later, and it was game over.

    To then wait until there was less than 10 minutes left to bring on Adnan Januzaj was another strange move. Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney seemed to be obvious players to take off, yet both lasted the 90 minutes, when Fletcher and Danny Welbeck appeared to be obvious players to keep on.

Carrick Is Past His Best

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    Matthias Schrader

    Michael Carrick was rightly short-listed for the PFA Player of the Year last season, as his input was crucial to United's 20th title-winning season.

    Whilst the current champions relied on Robin van Persie's goal, it was Carrick who, more often than not, kept possession for the Reds. In almost every game he played in the league last season, he attempted and completed more passes than anyone else on the pitch.

    His fall from grace this season has been fairly alarming. He slows down the pace of the games, he loses possession time and again, and he has nowhere near the influence he had last season.

    Fans sang, "Hard to believe it's not Scholes, it's Carrick, you know" on a weekly basis, often several times per game. It's hard to remember the last time they sang it now, though.

    According to FourFourTwo, 12 players completed more than Carrick on Wednesday. Twenty-two passes in 90 minutes is fairly horrendous for a central midfielder, particularly when you consider that Tony Kroos completed 71. 

    He's probably still better than Marouane Fellaini, though. Just.

United Are Not the Team They Were

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    Matthias Schrader

    United were beaten 4-2 on aggregate, and that is regarded as a fairly good result. There's no denying that Pep Guardiola's team are fantastic, with great players and a great mentality, and any team would feel good about themselves for beating them.

    But United fans seemingly breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday; they were grateful for the fact they weren't battered in either leg. A thrashing had been the expectation when the draw was made, and United held their own. Over two legs, they weren't the better side, but the gulf in class wasn't as huge as had been imagined.

    Can you imagine any Sir Alex Ferguson side being grateful to only lose 4-2 in a Champions League quarter-final?