In a shock twist, Bayern Munich, one of the favourites for this edition of the UEFA Champions League, were knocked out by Spanish club Villarreal who only made it into the competition on the back of their 2020/21 UEFA Europa League win against Manchester United.
Of all the ties in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the Bayern-Villarreal tie was the tie written off as an easy fixture for the favourites. However, a masterful performance from the Yellow Submarine in defence and attack saw the match end 2-1 on aggregate in favour of the Spanish side.
Following the outcome of the tie, Villarreal midfielder Dani Parejo had some words for the German giants and their manager Julian Nagelsmann for showing a lack of respect.
Speaking to Movistar+ after the game, he said: “Nagelsmann said he wanted to decide the tie in the first leg. I think he disrespected Villarreal and football. Sometimes when you spit up, it falls on your face.”
Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno, who provided the assist for Samuel Chukwueze’s equaliser on Tuesday which became the winning goal in the tie, admitted that Bayern’s comments gave his teammates a crucial boost.
“In the first leg we made the mistake of not finishing the tie, and all these comments serve as motivation for us,” Moreno said.
“They made the mistake today of not killing us off and we took advantage of that. What this team has done is great.”
Meanwhile, Villarreal manager Unai Emery, whose pedigree in European competitions is solid and undisputable after four UEFA Europa League wins, subtly pointed out that his team won because they were the humbler side who put their head down and focused on the game.
“Let’s enjoy the semi-finals. Knowing we are here, not because of how nice we are, or to let others say we are a nice and small town, but because we’ve worked for it”, Emery said, as reported by Spanish outlet Marca.
“When we have conceded, it has been a critical moment, because when Bayern score, they score two or three.
“Humility is to know how to recognise the good and bad moments. In the good ones, be stable, and in the bad ones recognise you have not done something right.”
Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann was quick to admit his failings, however, while claiming that the Spanish cultural mindset of defending gave Villarreal the edge over his super team.
“We had 68% possession,” Nagelsmann began in his post-match comments. “If they defend with 8 players in the area it’s difficult to get into the game. The goal is typical of them when they recover the ball, it’s part of the game, it’s the Spanish mentality, something that the teams from the South do.
“I’m sorry if I’m saying something that doesn’t sit well. But I’m not going to try and blame the other team.”