Talking Points and Things Learned from Atletico’s defensive masterclass against Bayern Munich

Atletico Madrid suffocated Bayern Munich to pull off yet another defensive masterclass as they defeated Bayern 1-0 in Champions League semifinal first leg at Vicente Calderon. The win gives Atleti a slender lead going in to the second leg at Allianz Arena next week.

Saul Niguez produced one of the best moment of this season’s Champions League with a stunning solo goal which left three Bayern defenders for dead. Once Atletico got their lead, it was almost inevitable in the way they packed their defense and were more than happy to soak Bayern’s pressure.

Pep Guardiola was left clueless as he kept urging his team to put balls in from wide areas, but Atletico were dealing with them at a great degree of ease. They were never worried for even one minute and perhaps should have doubled their lead as well had Fernando Torres scored from his chance which struck the goalpost.

On the wake of a special night at Vicente Calderon, we take a look at key talking points and things learned from Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win over Bayern Munich.

Was Pep wrong in not starting with Muller?

Thomas Muller has scored 31 goals and managed 10 assists this season, so him not starting tonight was bit of a surprise for the Bayern fans. Muller’s absence was even more telling given Bayern’s strategy if playing from crosses and long balls. There was no one to win second balls and it really hurt Bayern’s chances on the night.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

Atletico are the meanest team in Europe

Tonight was Atletico’s 30th clean sheet in Europe’s top flight football, which is unheard of in recent seasons. They get the goal and defend it with their very lives. Despite Diego Godin’s absence, Atleti had the upper hand when dealing with Bayern’s attacks. At present, no team seems to figure out how to get past them.

Saul Niguez is a gem of a player

Earlier in the season when Manchester United were linked with a move for Saul Niguez, not many fans were impressed. However, I am pretty sure they want him now after seeing his wonderful solo goal against the Bavarians. He has been Atletico’s biggest find this season and promises to be a key player for many seasons to follow.

Can Bayern make a 2nd leg comeback?

After seeing how Bayern Munich scored 3 goals in last 15 minutes against Juventus, it would be a fool’s call to rule them out just yet. However, considering how Atletico defended their 1-0 lead tonight, they are most likely to repeat their tactic and sit back to protect their advantage. And if they manage to score an away goal, it could virtually end the tie.

Image Credit: Getty