Bayern Munich won their 2023-2024 UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage six match 1-0 against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on 13 September.
The match was heavily anticipated beforehand as it pitted Bayern Munich, who had already secured top spot in the group, against United, who were bottom of the group. While Bayern had no pressure on the outcome of the match, United were desperate for a win. United needed to beat Bayern to progress to the round of 16 and hope that the remaining games between Copenhagen and Galatasaray didn’t go their way.
The first time the two sides met, Bayern ran away with the game. It was a seven-goal affair, but the Bavarians managed to hold off United 4-3 at home. United’s defeat against the Bavarians also sealed their farewell to European football this season, as they finished bottom of the group regardless of their games against Copenhagen and Galatasaray.
The home side started in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Rasmus Höwelun was up front, supported by Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Alejandro Garnacho in the second line. Scott McTominay and Sofiane Amrabat defended in the middle three. Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw formed the back four, with Andre Onana in goal. United fielded a full-strength line-up to keep their UCL last 16 hopes alive with a win over Bayern.
The visitors lined up in a 4-2-3-1. Harry Kane was up front, with Leroy Sane, Jamal Moussaoui, and Kingsley Coman in the second line. Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich partnered up front. Alfonso Davies, Kim Min-Jae, Dayot Upamecano, and Nusair Mazrouei defended the back four, with Manuel Neuer in goal.
Bayern had already booked their place in the last 16 and were expected to field a reserve side, but contrary to expectations, they fielded all of their best players, seemingly determined to deny United a place in the last 16 of the UCL. It was also meant to freshen things up. Bayern were in one of their worst moods of the season heading into the game. A 1-5 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt in the league had left them frustrated.랭크카지노
A big question mark in Bayern’s starting line-up ahead of the game was whether Kim Min-Jae would start. Kim has been one of Bayern’s most prolific players this season, and the pressure is even greater when you factor in his international commitments with the South Korean national team.
At the start of the season, there were few concerns. With three World Class centre-backs in Kim Min-Jae, Matthias Dürich and Dayot Upamecano, Bayern didn’t have too many concerns at the start of the season. However, injuries to both Diricht and Upamecano caused problems. When Diricht returned from injury early in the season, Upamecano left, and when Upamecano recently returned from injury, Diricht once again left the team with a knee injury, leaving only Kim Min-jae to play consistently in the centre-back position. Without him, it was difficult to form a centre-back line-up.
Kim has taken all the pressure on himself, and in recent games he has played full-time in 15 consecutive matches, which has led to some controversy. Injuries to his teammates have been unavoidable, but the constant full-time work has taken its toll, with Kim showing signs of exhaustion during league matches. With the likes of Rafael Varane, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ronald Araujo set to join Bayern in the winter transfer window to bolster the defence, it seems that Kim needs a break.
His lack of fitness has meant that he hasn’t been able to perform at 100 per cent. In the last game against Heidenheim, he made a series of mistakes in the second half as his stamina waned, leading to his team conceding a goal, and in the previous game against Cologne, he collided with opposing striker Davy Zelke on the ground and collapsed to the turf in excruciating pain, causing injury concerns. Fortunately, Kim was able to return to the pitch and play the full match after being checked by the medical staff.
Even before the A-match against China in November, Kim said that he was grateful for the opportunity to play, “I feel like I’m overworked, and I want to be grateful that I’m playing, and I think I need to take care of myself so I don’t get injured,” but his concerns were not diminished.
Eventually, Kim got into trouble before the last match against Copenhagen. Major media outlets predicted that Kim would not play in Copenhagen. According to German outlet Bild, “Kim already missed training on Monday. It is unclear if he will be able to play in the upcoming match in Copenhagen,” said Bild, suggesting that Kim may not be able to train and play.
German media outlet Aventurer Zeitung also voiced concerns about losing Kim, calling him ‘Munich’s unsung hero’. “He had to wait to come off against Cologne. He fell from the air and injured his hip, his face contorted in pain as he lay on the ground. But he was irreplaceable – there was no one to replace him. Kim played his part in Bayern’s final spurt of the year by hanging on until the final whistle,” he said, noting that the lack of a replacement for Kim meant he had to digest a lot.
The German media kicker also said: ‘The question of who should be rested may arise. Kim Min-jae, who played frequently, needs a rest, and Upamecano is the only other professional centre-back. In the end, it’s likely that Goretzka or Mazurawi will play in the centre-back position instead of Kim,” he said, explaining that Tuchel will choose to use another player to fill the position instead of Kim.
Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel decided to leave Kim Min-jae out of the squad for the last game in Copenhagen, which was a more relaxed affair. Bayern’s official social media accounts revealed that the reason for his exclusion was a hip bruise. Without Kim, Bayern had only seven players on the bench.
They also took an extra rest period afterwards. The match between Bayern and Union Berlin was postponed due to the heavy snowfall that suddenly hit Germany. Bayern had to go almost two weeks without a game due to the cancellation, and Kim Min-jae also had two weeks to recover. After a two-week break, Kim returned to the starting line-up for the last game against Frankfurt as normal.
However, he was unable to prevent the team from losing in Frankfurt. Kim was one of the main targets of criticism in Frankfurt, as he made a number of unfortunate mistakes that led to a caution and a goal.
He was also criticised by the German media. “He came back from a two-week break and wasn’t in top form,” said German media outlet Aventzaitung of Kim’s performance against Frankfurt. He had been warned and was cautious and careless in his contest with Knauf, losing the contest even though he was a few metres in front of him,” and pointed out the goal he was involved in. German media outlets Bild and Kicker also pointed out their disappointment with Kim’s performance, giving him a rating of 6. German outlet Teche said, “Kim was even in danger of being sent off for accumulating cautions. He struggled alongside his teammates,” said Teche, who also had strong criticisms of Kim’s performance.
Bayern legend Thomas Helmer also criticised Kim. “The Bayern defence had individual qualities, but it didn’t work as an organisation. It wasn’t just the two centre-backs, Kim Min-jae and Upamecano, who had problems,” he said, adding: “Kim Min-jae was incredibly quick, but he made a lot of mistakes. He’s an experienced player, but he was scared. Frankfurt closed him down a few times and he lost the ball,” he said, pointing out that Kim was unable to cope with Frankfurt’s pressure.
After joining Bayern, team legend Lothar Matthaeus said: “Kim Min-jae is not yet close to what we expected from him. He is a source of anxiety for Bayern. He needs to get used to the Bundesliga. I’m not against him, but he hasn’t lived up to the expectations I have for him considering his achievements in Italy,’ before being criticised by Helmer. That’s why it was important for Kim to put in a solid defensive performance against United.
There was also interest in whether Kane would feature. Kane had been linked with United before his move to Bayern in the summer transfer window. There had already been reports linking him with Manchester City and suggesting that he wanted a move within the Premier League, and it was reported that both manager Eric Tenhag and Kane were in agreement. However, the Red Devils have not been active in their pursuit of Kane, with some reports suggesting that they have given up on him due to negotiations with chairman Daniel Levy.
However, the Red Devils have not been forthcoming in their negotiations. According to recent reports, United were unable to pursue Kane due to financial concerns. There was also interest in whether Kane would be able to help the Red Devils reach the round of 16 in their seasonal crisis.
Ahead of the game, Thomas Tuchel said: “Kane is 100 per cent looking forward to playing against United. He’s a winner, he’s a champion. It’s good to be back in England and at Old Trafford. I’m sure he’ll love it, I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to it,” Tuchel said, confirming his side’s intention to win.
The game started with Bayern on the front foot. The Bavarians attacked right from the start. Kane immediately tried to shake up the defence with a pass near the United box, and Sane almost got on the end of it, but his shot was cleared off the line.
United hit back through Dalot and Anthony. In the third minute, Dalot broke through the Bayern defence and sent in a powerful cross from the right side of the penalty area, but Kimmich tackled it away. In the fourth minute, Anthony took advantage of a two-on-one pass and tried his luck with a left-footed shot from near the Bayern box, but it went wide of the target. Anthony beat Goretzka on a direct run in the seventh minute, but he was pushed back in the ensuing scramble and was unable to keep the ball.
Bayern had a couple of attempts on goal from Kane and Sane that didn’t end well. In the ninth minute, Kane latched onto a pass from Coman.