Junior Adamu’s 21st-minute strike looked enough to give Salzburg a famous win – their first, in their first appearance in the Champions League knockout stages. But a 90th-minute equaliser from Kingsley Coman earned Bayern a draw, and they are now strong favourites for the tie.
Salzburg were easily the better side in a curious first half, end to end but with neither side looking likely to score … until the hosts did, Chukwubuike Adamu – on as sub for the injured Noah Okafor – applying a fine finish to a fine counter.
So insipid were Bayern and so nauseated was Julian Nagelsmann that an improvement seemed inevitable, and one did come, but it remained feeble.
They ran a bit harder, but lacked the quality and zest to sustain an pressure, and actually came closer to falling further behind, when Adamu’s shot was cleared off the line by Benjamin Pavard.
That may be the key moment in the tie – it felt so at the time, a sense that intensified with Coman’s goal. But Salzburg know they’ve a real chance of progressing, while Bayern looked anything but prospective champions.
Perhaps Bayern are just missing three brilliant players – Manuel Neuer, Leon Goretzka and Alphonse Davies – who are crucial to their style of play. But even so, their first-half display was troubling, weak, slow and lackadaisical, and it was hard not to wonder if they lack a bit of midfield creativity.
Thomas Muller is, of course, already enshrined as a great of his era, but the playmaking savant who was so brilliant when his team won the trophy the year before last might just be on the way down. And without him, his team lack a bit of variety, forced to go wide for creativity with little invention in central areas.
Though Muller did eventually intervene, Bayern nevertheless lack a bit of magic – Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry were too narrow, and the passing wasn’t sharp enough to pick Salzburg apart. This made for a constipated overall picture, which Julian Nagelsmann will hope is resolved by the return of his missing superstars – though the sense persists that a young, attacking talent is required in the summer.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich) The best player on the pitch in the second half, earning the goal that looks to have switched momentum in the tie.
Salzburg: Kohn 7, Nissen 6, Solet 7, Wober 6, Ulmer 6, Capaldo 6, Camara 7, Seiwald 7, Aaronson 7, Okafor 6, Adeyemi 8. Subs: Adamu 7, Kjaergaard 6, Sucic 6.
Bayern Munich: Ulreich 6, Pavard 6, Sule 6, Hernandez 6, Gnabry 5, Kimmich 5, Tolisso 5, Coman 8, Muller 6, Sane 5, Lewandowski 4. Subs: Sabitzer 6, Choupo-Moting 6.
Adamu’s 21st minute goal was the earliest by a substitute in a Champions League game since Thierry Henry against Slavia Prague for Arsenal in October 2005 (also in the 21st minute).
21’ – WHAT A GOAL! Salzburg 1-0 Bayern Munich (Adamu) As I was saying! Salzburg win the ball in the left-back position and one crossfield ball sets Adeyemi away! He bundles through a challenge and pokes across, the ball flicking off Kimmich to Adamu, and the sub opens his body to stroke a gorgeous finish into the top right! NOW THEN!
52’ – OHHHH KINGSLEY! OHHH MAAAAATE!
He takes a tremendous first touch, controlling a crossfield pass and putting it over Ulmer’s head and into stride, as he swishes into the box. But with Lewandowski hollering for a simple tee-up, he instead opens his body and shoots into the nearest body; his mate is not impressed because he’d have scored easily.
73’- COMAN TIES KRISTENSEN IN ABSOLUTE KNOTS!
He sees him away, breaks along the by-line, cuts in, and shoots low … but Kohn spills it around his near post for a corner that comes to nowt.
76’ – BAYERN FIND SPACE ON THE COUNTER!
There he is! Sane skates towards the box and finds Coman outside, continuing his run to sweep the eventual cross goalwards … but again, Kohn is there, parrying then leaping on the loose ball! Salzburg will be starting to believe!
81’ – DOES PAVARD KEEPS BAYERN IN THE TIE?
Adeyemi picks up possession at inside-right and injects some insta-pace, veering into the box, but away from goal … he swivels into a shot, Ulreich shoves into the mixer, and Adamu must score! But Pavard slides in to block his finish!
90’ – GOAL! Salzburg 1-1 Bayern Munich (Coman) BUT OF COURSE! Pavard tosses a hopeful one into the box, that man Muller wins the flick-on, and with Kristensen occupied by Lewandowski, Coman, unmarked, steers home inside the near post.