Quirky exit looms: Will Bayern shoot Man United out of Europe?

Quirky exit looms: Will Bayern shoot Man United out of Europe?

Quirky exit looms: Will Bayern shoot Man United out of Europe?

The Bundesliga is poised to gain a fifth Champions League spot in the 2024/25 season as part of the major UEFA reform. To achieve this, it must finish the current European Cup season as the best or second-best league - so it would be timely if FC Bayern would make an extra effort on the final matchday of the group stage.

On December 12th, the German record champion could personally knock the English team out of the Champions League, and off the European stage altogether. After the disheartening 3:3 draw at Galatasaray on Wednesday night, Manchester United needs both a home win against Bayern and a draw in the parallel game between Copenhagen and Galatasaray to advance to the round of 16. For third place and the Europa League, at least a point is necessary, but that's only sufficient if Galatasaray wins in Copenhagen.

Ten Hag: 'We played the way I want to see my team play'

Man United is facing elimination, and it would be a quirky one. After all, the Red Devils currently have the most goals scored in Group A (12), but unfortunately, they are also devilishly leaky. 14 goals conceded after five games - only the zero-point newcomer Royal Antwerp narrowly tops that (15). In all three away games, United scored three times but only gained one point. In Copenhagen, a 2:0 and 3:2 lead, and in Istanbul a 2:0 and 3:1 lead were not enough for a win."

"It was all the more astonishing how calmly, indeed enthusiastically, Erik ten Hag commented on the latest setback. 'It would be more frustrating if we were playing poorly,' the coach opined. 'But the performance is very good. It's enjoyable to see how we dictate the game, create chances. That is truly fantastic. We played the way I want to see my team play: active, dynamic, brave. And we scored great goals.' Now, according to ten Hag, they just need to manage the games better. But for this Champions League season, it might be too late.

No one has blundered as often in the Champions League since 2018 as Onana

But was it even necessary in Istanbul? At least two of the three goals conceded had little to do with poor management, but were classic goalkeeper errors: André Onana was deceived by two unplaced free kicks, both taken by Hakim Ziyech, who once worked with Onana and ten Hag at Ajax.

'Hakim is brilliant, I know that,' said ten Hag, while simultaneously refusing to publicly criticize Onana: 'It's not about one individual, it's always about the team.' Onana, who was signed before the season as an upgrade to long-time number 1 David de Gea, had already looked poor in Munich and at home against Galatasaray. According to 'Opta', since the 2018/19 season, no goalkeeper in the Champions League has made more errors leading to goals. A devastating statistic that threatens to become literally costly for United.

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