Unai Emery’s European dream at Villarreal
Having won three consecutive Europa League titles while at Sevilla, Unai Emery was the ideal candidate to place Villarreal once again amongst the main names of European football. He achieved that on his first season, winning the first trophy in the club’s history and becoming the manager with the most Europa League titles. The following season, the European dream continued as Villarreal reached the Champions League semi-finals.
Villarreal dumped Bayern Munich out of the Champions League on Tuesday, Samuel Chukwueze’s 88th-minute strike at the Allianz Arena giving the Spaniards a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their quarter-final tie that took them through 2-1 on aggregate.
Villarreal soaked up everything Bayern threw at their defence, aside from Lewandowski’s strike early in the second half.
It was a heart-breaking night for Bayern, who dominated for most of the match before Chukwueze scored just four minutes after coming on. Bayern started with urgency, but the Villarreal defence was alert to every threat. Home coach Julian Nagelsmann changed formation, opting for a three-man defence instead of a back four.
Villarreal were pinned in their own half for most of the first half as Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez dictated play from the back.
Yet for all their domination of possession, a header by Jamal Musiala straight at Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli was Bayern’s only clear chance of a goalless first half.
Lewandowski, who was largely well marshalled, earned the first booking of the game. The Villarreal back four worked tirelessly throughout, but left-back Pervis Estupinan had a particularly busy first half as Leroy Sane constantly probed down the flank.
Bayern finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. A loose pass out of defence only got as far as Kingsley Coman, who moved the ball to Mueller.
The Germany star slipped the ball into the path of Lewandowski, who managed to get his shot past two defenders and the diving Rulli.
The Poland striker let out a primal scream to celebrate his 13th goal in 10 Champions League games this season.
Bayern kept up the pressure as Mueller went close with a diving header and was left with his head in his hands, as was Coman when he fired over soon after.
Nagelsmann sent on some fresh legs in a bid to get a decisive second goal inside the 90 minutes by bringing on Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies.
However, Villarreal stunned the home crowd when Gerard Moreno broke down the left. He put in a low cross which Chukwueze sent spinning over Neuer to send the Spaniards through.
Lewandowski (52′), Chukwueze (88′)