How Tuchel and FC Bayern want to stop Haaland
FC Bayern will play Manchester City in the first leg of the quarter-finals. Before the duel with top striker Erling Haaland, Thomas Tuchel strengthens his team’s self-confidence. Bayern’s coach also expects “hard cases” in his line-up.
An the evening of Easter Monday FC Bayern landed in Manchester with a special flight. Shortly after arriving, Thomas Tuchel went to the Manchester City stadium, where the coach of the record German champions spoke about the first leg of the quarter-finals in the Champions League against the top English club on Tuesday (9 p.m., AmazonPrime).
“The anticipation and the task are huge,” said Tuchel in the arena’s press room. “I was just in the stadium: that’s the benchmark at the moment, against which we measure ourselves. We want to survive. The team has every right to be self-confident.” On Monday morning he woke up very early and couldn’t sleep, so he drove to Bayern’s training ground early. Thoughts revolve entirely around the eagerly awaited game.
How do you stop super striker Erling Haaland who just scored his 30th Premier League goal? “He’s incredibly impressive: the numbers, the athleticism, the hunger for goals,” said Tuchel. “He is served well, he gets a lot of opportunities. This can only be solved together. It will take diligence and willingness. It cannot only be solved tactically and technically, but also in direct duels. There is no other way. We have to be smart.” In general, the midfielders will play a central role.
There may be changes in the Bayern line-up. “If we want to hold our own against City, there have to be hardships,” said Tuchel. It can’t be clear all week who’s playing. “The competition pushes you to play at the highest level.”
He has to do without Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, the striker did not travel to England because of knee problems. Tuchel meets star coach Pep Guardiola, whom he values very much and who inspired him. But: “I’m not a fan boy,” said Tuchel. “We’ll try to put our stamp on the game.”
Top performers de Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt is also very confident about the clash with City and Haaland. “He’s one of the best in the world, a top striker, an incredible player,” said the defender in Manchester on Monday night.
He has never played against Haaland. But he doesn’t need a lot of video analysis for this striker, everyone knows him and Haaland’s strengths, of course. “City are an incredible team with an incredible coach, one of the best teams in the world, they play football very well. We have to be very focused with the whole team,” said de Ligt. “You can score a goal at any moment. We have to be top and organize the defense very well with the midfielders to stop a player like Haaland.” The atmosphere in the team is good. “We’re very motivated and can’t wait for the game against City.”
When asked whether the back three or four in defense was better, de Ligt kept a low profile. He had been asked that question a hundred times recently, both at FC Bayern and the Dutch national team, he said with a smile. “I try to be consistent in every game. The defense must always be constant.” The most important thing is to always be focused.
On Monday, his coach Tuchel held a meeting with the team, followed by two short speeches on the day of the game. Tuchel said: “My motto before important games: Less is more.” It is a gift of life to be part of these games as a coach or player.